Having searched high and low for a good Tandoori Paneer Tikka recipe, (and having come across mediocre or just above average ones far too many times), the banjaara finally chanced upon a classic version by Tarla Dalal and set to work. The banjaara of course made a few changes to it, to increase the “spicy quotient” and to make it more of a lip-smacking delight than it already was, keeping in mind the typical spice connoisseur’s palette.
Here’s the pagal banjaara’s version of Tandoori Paneer Tikka for passersby to try.
Tandoori Paneer Tikka (Serves 2 hungry / 3 not so hungry)
- 2 packets Paneer Cheese (1 packet Amul if you’re in India, 2 packets Savera in the UK, it’s fairly easy to find elsewhere, too)
- 1 cup hung curd (not hung is just fine but hung is better)
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 3 tbsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (these are fragrant and lack the pungency of fresh fenugreek)
- 1/2 tsp garam masala (this is a melange of different Indian spices, and most Indian homes have their own version of garam masala. It can be replaced with Everest Pav Bhaji Masala)
- 1/2 tbsp chaat masala (I prefer to use Catch Chaat Masala, but any other would do the trick, too)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder (for that rich Indian colour)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 small onions
- 1 green bell pepper
- Preheat oven to 250 °c.
- Cut the paneer slab into half horizontally to reduce its thickness. Then chop each half into 1 inch squares.
- Peel and cut each onion into four pieces and separate the layers.
- Chop the green bell pepper into 1 inch squares.
- Take the hung curd in a big bowl, add to it in the following order, the oil, chilli powder, dried fenugreek leaves, garam masala, chaat masala, ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric powder and salt. This is the marinade.
- Mix the marinade well and add the onions, bell peppers and paneer cubes.
- Mix again gently, to coat all the paneer cubes and vegetables with marinade. Cover and leave aside for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, on a baking tray, spray a thin layer of olive oil.
- Empty the contents of the marinade bowl (paneer, onions, bell peppers + all the marinade), and spread evenly.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove carefully and enjoy your snack. Some of the paneer will have become quite smoked (and the fragrance from inside the oven will have made you hungry enough to act quite selfish)
Note: You could also make your paneer at home from skimmed milk, which would be much healthier than store bought paneer. Just make sure its consistency is solid before cutting it, else it might crumble.