Paneer Tikka or Paneer Shashlik, are often considered the vegetarian version of Tandoori Chicken Tikka - which is a classic recipe found in most Indian restaurants. This quick and easy recipe is perfect for BBQ season and can be made at the drop of a hat if you happen to have all the ingredients on hand.
The marinade used for this Paneer Tikka recipe is made simply with plain yogurt and a mix of spices. Since paneer can take on flavours very easily, you don't need much time to marinate and so this recipe is perfect when you need dinner on the table extremely quick. The flavors added in Paneer Tikka are fairly easy to imitate and they cook extremely well in a regular convection oven or over a grill.
Paneer Tikka is traditionally skewered with chunks of onions and peppers in between, which have been marinated together with large pieces of fresh paneer. Once grilled, this is then served along with some Green Chutney, or as a side with some kind of Pulao or Naan. For best results, let the paneer and the vegetables marinate for 2-3 hours. This will give them enough time to soak in all the flavours from the spices.
What is Paneer?
Paneer is a soft cheese that can keep its shape and texture and doesn’t melt over high heat like mozzarella. Hence it is often used as a perfect alternative for vegetarians in the Indian cuisine. In this recipe, the paneer is lightly spiced and skewered with a mix of vegetables. The paneer hardly takes any time to cook through and is perfect on the grill.
Things to Keep in Mind when making Paneer Tikka:
When picking yogurt for this recipe, any kind works - as long as it is plain and not flavoured. I usually opt for a lower fat version since that is what we tend to eat regularly at home. But full fat as well as Greek yogurt are fine to use in this recipe too.
Try to have the paneer and vegetables around the same size so that they can brown evenly when placed on the grill. The paneer and vegetables hardly take anytime to cook, so turn them over once grill marks are formed on a side.
If you plan on making this Paneer Tikka Shashlik recipe to serve a large crowd at a party, you can save time by marinating the paneer and vegetables a day ahead, and keeping it in the fridge covered until you are ready to place them in the oven. This should be served warm and fresh from the oven and so can be left until the very last minute to cook.
How to Cook Paneer Tikka?
Although Paneer Tikka is best grilled on an open flame, I prefer using my grill pan. It creates much less of a mess and I love the grill marks that come from sitting on the hot pan for a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can also grill the Paneer Tikka in an oven. During the winter when outdoor grills seem to be of no use, I often cook these up in a high heat in the oven, turning occasionally until they brown up on all sides.
How to Serve Paneer Tikka:
Paneer Tikka is best enjoyed on its own as an appetizer, with a side of some chutney or dip. You can also serve this as a main course with a side of some chopped salad and a flavorful rice-based dish like this Matar Pulao or Tomato Pulao. Another good option would be to pair it with some Green Chutney and Naan. However, I often like to chop them into tiny pieces and wrap them into a warm tortilla with some chopped lettuce and tomatoes for a quick and fulfilling lunch.
Paneer Tikka Shashlik (Grilled Paneer Tikka Skewers)
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoon light cooking oil
- 2 tablespoon tandoori masala
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon amchoor powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- salt to taste
- 500 gms paneer cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium-sized onion cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, oil, spices and salt to form a smooth marinade.
- Add the paneer and veggie pieces into the bowl and give it a gentle mix. Let this marinade for a 10-15 minutes, or longer for 1-2 hours if possible.
- When you're ready to cook, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Gently skewer the paneer pieces alternating with the peppers and onions, and grill until lightly brown and cooked on all sides.
- Serve immediately with some Green Chutney on the side.
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