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Paneer Tikka (Grilled Tofu Tikka & Vegetables)

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Paneer Tikka is a very popular Indian Style party appetizer made with cubes of paneer marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. For Vegans, paneer can be replaced with tofu to make grilled vegan tofu tikka or skewers. 

Vegan Tofu Tikka served in a plate along with onion and mint chutney.
Vegan Tofu Tikka

These tofu or paneer skewers are protein-rich healthy meals, so if you are looking for a light and healthy starter or main meal, this is one of your go-to recipes. 

What is Paneer Tikka

Paneer

Paneer is an Indian cheese, made from curdling milk. Milk is the main ingredient in paneer. To make paneer and an acidic agent is required to separate the milk solids from the whey. 

Click here to know What is Paneer and how to make it at home?

Home made Paneer |Indian Cottage Cheese

Tikka

Tikka is a dish consisting of boneless pieces of meat or vegetable marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled over a tandoor. The word tikka and masala is generally combined together and it literally means pieces of meat or vegetable marinated in masala and cooked. It can be dry or in gravy form.

So Paneer Tikka is a vegetarian appetizer made by marinating pieces of paneer and veggies together. One can even make Paneer Tikka Masala, another very popular curry made using paneer tikka and cooked in masala.

I like to make this Paneer Tikka Biryani or Tandoori Paneer Biryani, where pieces of paneer tikka are layered along with rice and cooked to make a delicious and lip-smacking biryani.

Paneer tikka can even be assembled on bread, wrap or a naan to make a filling lunch.

Paneer Tikka is a very popular Indian Style party appetizer made with cubes of tofu marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. For Vegans, paneer can be replaced with tofu to make grilled vegan tofu tikka or skewers. 
Paneer Veggie Tikka

How is Paneer Tikka cooked?

Traditionally paneer tikka is grilled in a tandoor but one can make it in the oven, over the grill, on the stovetop, or on an air-fryer. Today I am sharing all the methods, choose the one which you like. 

The smoky effect from the tandoor or from the barbeque adds to the taste. I have shared below how one can add the smoky effect to the tikka without the grill or the tandoor.

I also like to add some veggies like capsicum/peppers, tomatoes, and onions to this to make paneer and veggie tikka. These grilled paneer or tofu skewers are perfect for vegetarian or vegan barbeque.

Paneer Tikka served on a black cheese board with onion and lemon wedges on the side

Ingredients used in Paneer Tikka

The first main ingredient is Paneer. Paneer is a protein-rich Indian cheese made using curdling milk. Refer to this post on how to make this calcium and protein-rich paneer at home. Use firm and big-size Paneer to get the best tikka.

The next ingredient I have used is yogurt/curd. I like to use my homemade yogurt/curd for this recipe as it adds a nice taste to the tikkas. Store-bought yogurt lacks that taste, but you can definitely make use of it.

Flavorings

For flavors and taste, I have added red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt, and lemon juice. Mustard oil is added as the essential fat. Mustard oil adds a nice taste to any marinade and especially grilled or barbecue recipes. If you do not like the taste of it, replace it with the vegetable oil of your choice.  

Vegetables

I like to add some veggies to my paneer and tofu skewers. It helps balance the contents of the plate as well as adds a nice variation. I generally add capsicum/pepper, tomatoes, and onions. 

Gram flour

Typically gram flour or besan is also added to the mixture so that the masala sticks and it also adds a nice texture to the tikkas. However, it adds some crumbs to the grill and we do not like it. So I skip adding the gram flour to the mixture. If you like it you can add around ¼ cup to the mixture.  

Close up look of Paneer Tikka

Ingredients for Tofu Tikka or Tofu Skewers 

The ingredients for Tofu tikka or tofu skewers are the same except for 2 changes.

Paneer is replaced with firm tofu. Firm tofu as it holds its shape while grilling. The next is to use any plant-based yogurt. Coconut yogurt or soya yogurt will work best. I have used soya yogurt to make this tofu tikka.

Tofu Tikka is a very popular Indian Style party appetizer made with cubes of tofu marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. For Vegans, paneer can be replaced with tofu to make grilled vegan tofu tikka or skewers. 
Vegan Tofu Tikka

Recipe process of Paneer/Tofu Tikka

Prepping the Paneer/Tofu

Remove all the excess water from the paneer/tofu by pressing it with a heavy object for at least 30 minutes. Cut into 1-inch square or rectangular cubes.

Prepping the veggies

If using veggies, cut the veggies too into 1-inch pieces.

Making Hung curd/yogurt or how to make Hung Curd or remove excess water from Yogurt

Remove all the excess water from the curd/yogurt. To make Hung curd take all the curd in muslin cloth, loosely wrap it, keep it on a sieve, and keep a vessel below it, so that it does not touch the bottom. Let it sit in the fridge for 10-12 hours to remove all the water. 

Soaking the wooden skewers

I use wooden skewers for this. One can use steel skewers too. If using wooden skewers soak them in water for at least 30-60 minutes before grilling. 

Marinating the paneer/Tofu and veggies. 

Prepare a mix of yogurt (hung curd), Turmeric, red chilly powder, garam masala, mustard oil, salt, oil, and lemon. Mix and add the paneer/tofu and veggies to it. Let this sit for a couple of hours or best overnight.

I like to make it a day before as the marinate is infused evenly and I am sorted with the prep work on a busy day. 

Vegan Tofu Tikka served in a plate along with onion and mint chutney.
Vegan Tofu Tikka

Grilling the tikka

Air-Fryer Instructions

Preheat the air fryer to 200 Deg C/F. Grease or line it with parchment paper. I like to line it with parchment paper as it helps not to stick to the basket.

Skew the paneer and vegetables to the soaked bamboo skewers. Line the skewed paneer and veggies in the basket.  

Cook for 7-8 minutes, flip, and cook it on the other side for another 7-8 minutes until done. We like it a bit more charred and hence the timing is a bit more for me.

Making Paneer or Tofu Tikka in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 180 Deg C. Grease or line it with parchment paper. I like to line it with parchment paper as it helps not to stick to the tray.

Grill for 8 minutes until you get those beautiful brown marks. Turn after 7-8 minutes and grill for another 4-5 minutes until done. 

Vegan Tofu Tikka served in a plate along with onion and mint chutney.
Vegan Tofu Tikka

Making Paneer or Tofu Tikka on an open grill 

Preheat the grill. Line the outdoor grill with aluminum foil so that it does not stick. I simply use it as is.  

Grill for 8 minutes until you get those beautiful brown marks. Turn after 7-8 minutes and grill for another 4-5 minutes until done. 

Making Paneer or Tofu Tikka on the stove

Use a stovetop grill pan. One can make it in a normal pan too, but a grill pan adds nice marks to the skewers.

Heat the tawa and lightly grease or brush it with oil. Arrange the skewed paneer/tofu on it and cook it on both sides until they are golden brown. 

Paneer Tikka is a very popular Indian Style party appetizer made with cubes of tofu marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. For Vegans, paneer can be replaced with tofu to make grilled vegan tofu tikka or skewers. 
Paneer Veggie Tikka

Adding the smoky flavor to the Paneer/Tofu Tikka.

  • Arrange the tikkas in a large tray or a bowl. The tray or a bowl should have a lid or should be able to cover.
  • Heat a piece of charcoal on an open flame.
  • Once it is heated all over, add it to a small bowl.
  • Pour some oil on it and Immediately close the bowl so that the smoke does not escape.
  1. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. This will help infuse the charcoal flavor into the tikka.
  3. After 5-10 minutes you would have some nice tikka with a charcoal aroma.  

Tips and tricks to make the best Paneer/Tofu Tikka

  • Use big and firm paneer/tofu cubes. As the paneer/tofu is soft, if you use smaller pieces it might break.
  • Mustard oil adds a nice taste to the marinate. However one can use any vegetable oil of preference.
  • Use hung curd or thick yogurt without any water. This is essential or else your marinade will not stick to the paneer/tofu or veggies and be watery

Variations to paneer tikka

The same marinade can be used to marinate Tofu, potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, or even meat like chicken. 

Serving Suggestions 

This goes best with mint and yogurt chutney. Add a few slices of raw onion and fresh greens like lettuce. 

Tofu Tikka is a very popular Indian Style party appetizer made with cubes of tofu marinated in a yogurt and spice mixture. For Vegans, paneer can be replaced with tofu to make grilled vegan tofu tikka or skewers. 
Vegan Tofu Tikka

Can Paneer Tikka or Tofu Tikka be made ahead?

Yes, it can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2 days. When needed just heat and eat it. However, I will not recommend cooking and refrigerating as it tastes best when hot and fresh. The best you can do is make the marinade and refrigerate it. The marinated mixture stays good for 4-5 days in the refrigerator and you can grill as much as required and enjoy it fresh. If you are going to keep it for long do not salt, add salt later as it will release more water. 

Few more Vegetarian Barbecue ideas

Peri-Peri Grilled Sweet Potato
Peri-Peri Grilled Sweet Potato are simple, easy, and delicious vegan appetizers or sides perfect for the grill for your vegetarian barbeque.
Check out this recipe
Peri-Peri Grilled Sweet Potato served on a black cheese board along with some yogurt dip
Easy Peri-Peri Grilled Pineapple (Sugar-Free)
Easy Peri-Peri Grilled Pineapple is a very simple and quick barbecue recipe that uses just pineapple and the peri-peri spice mix. A perfect sweet & spicy appetizer for vegan or vegetarian barbecue.
Check out this recipe
Peri Peri Grilled Pineapple on a grilled pan and seen in the background are more pineapple slices
Air Fryer Whole Sweet Potatoes
Air Fryer Whole Sweet Potatoes are a delicious side recipe, crisp on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.
Check out this recipe
2 Air Fryer Baked Sweet Potato served with a dollop of butter and rosemary, black pepper powder and salt sprinkled on it.
Baked Potato Skins with Paneer & Veggies
Baked Potato Skins with Paneer & Veggies is a yummy and delicious starter or appetiser that can be made well ahead of time.
Check out this recipe
Baked Potato Skins with Paneer & Veggies is a yummy and delicious starter or appetiser that can be made well ahead of time.
Air Fryer Roasted Vegetables (Oven Method Included)
Quick and easy, crunchy Air Fryer or Oven Roasted Vegetables are a perfect side dish on your dinner table or for your parties.
Check out this recipe
Roasted vegetables in a white rectangular tray with some yogurt chive dip. Seen in the background are some rosemary and a clean kitchen towel.
Vegan Tofu Tikka served in a plate along with onion and mint chutney.

Paneer Tikka (Tofu Tikka & Vegetables)

Paneer Tikka is a very popular Indian Style appetizer or a vegetarian barbeque recipe made using cubes of paneer and Veggies marinated in yogurt and spice mixture.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian
Keyword: Grilled / Barbeque, Healthy, Paneer, PartyFood, Summer Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Hung Curd/Thick Yogurt
  • 250 gms Paneer / Firm Tofu -Indian Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Tomatoes de-seeded and cut into 2 or 4 pieces
  • Peppers/Capsicum cut into large rectangles or squares
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala -as per taste
  • 1 teaspoon Red chilly powder -as per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon Mustard oil -or Vegetable Oil

Instructions

Making of strained Yogurt

  • In a bowl add yogurt.
    Yogurt added in a bowl
  • Strain the yogurt using a sieve and muslin cloth.
  • Let it sit for 1 hour or so. The excess water would be removed.
    Strained Yogurt

Marinating Paneer/Tofu

  • Cut the paneer into cubes.
    250 gms Paneer / Firm Tofu
    Cut Tofu cubes
  • Cut Paneer Cubes
  • Similarly cut the tomatoes and peppers.
    2 Tomatoes de-seeded and cut into 2 or 4 pieces, Peppers/Capsicum cut into large rectangles or squares
    Chopped Veggies
  • In a bowl add hung yogurt/Curd, add the spices i.e. Turmeric, red chilly powder, Garam Masala, salt, coriander and oil.
    1 cup Hung Curd/Thick Yogurt, 1 teaspoon Garam Masala, 1 teaspoon Red chilly powder, 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder, 1/4 Cup Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped, 2 tablespoon Mustard oil, Salt
    Spices added to yogurt
  • Preparing the yogurt spice mixture
  • Add lemon juice
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Slightly crush the fenugreek leaves in between your hands and add.
    1 teaspoon Fenugreek leaves
  • Mix all the masala.
    Spices and herb yogurt mixture
  • Add the paneer and the vegetables to the masala mix.
    Adding yogurt herb mixture in veggies and soya
  • Gently coat the marinate evenly on all the pieces.
    Marinated Paneer
  • Marinated Tofu
  • Cover it and let it marinate for 4-5 hours or best overnight.

Grilling the tikka – In Air Fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 200 Deg C/F.
  • Grease or line it with parchment paper.
  • Skew the paneer and vegetables to the soaked bamboo skewers.
  • Line the skewed paneer and veggies in the basket.
    Paneer Tofu Tikka ready to be grilled
  • Air Fry for 7-8 minutes
  • Flip, and cook it on the other side for another 7-8 minutes until done.
    Grilled Paneer Tofu Tikka
  • Grill at 200 Deg C for last 4 minutes to get the charred effect.

Grilling the tikka – In Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 180 Deg C / 350 Deg F.
  • Grease or line it with parchment paper.
  • Skew paneer and vegetables alternately in soaked bamboo skewers.
  • Line the skewed paneer and veggies in the basket.
  • Grill for 8-15 minutes until you get those beautiful brown marks.
  • Rotate in between to evenly grill or cook from all the sides.

Grilling the tikka – In an Open Grill

  • Preheat the grill.
  • Line the outdoor grill with aluminum foil so that it does not stick.
  • Grill for 8 minutes until you get those beautiful brown marks.
  • Turn after 7-8 minutes and grill for another 4-5 minutes or until done.
  • Grill at 200 Deg C for last 4 minutes to get the charred effect.

Grilling the tikka – On Open Stove

  • Heat the tawa/griddle and lightly grease or brush it with oil.
  • Arrange the skewed paneer/tofu on it.
  • Cook on both the sides until they are golden brown.
  • Serve it as is or with some Green Coriander Mint Chutney.

Video

Notes

  • For Variations in Veggies and marination read above.
  • Vegans can use Tofu and coconut yogurt. However, using coconut yogurt will slightly differ the taste.
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu_ad
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

Updates

The recipe first appeared on Cook with Renu on 21st June 2018. Today, 25th June 2021, I am updating the contents and adding a recipe card. The pics have to wait.

Today 30th June 2023, I am updating the post again by using Tofu and adding pics and more content.

Foodies_RedoingOldPost

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5 from 4 votes
Recipe Rating




Jayashree T Rao

Saturday 15th of July 2023

Paneer Tikka is our go to snack many a time.Yours looks so delish, ideal for the weekend menu. Would love to make it soon.

Kalyani

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

a timeless classic, Renu ! and the paneer tikka looks so well done with the golden, glossy hue!

Sowmya

Friday 9th of July 2021

I have been salivating ever since I saw these pics on FB. The paneer tikka looks delicious and so tempting. Bookmarking this to try asap!

Poonam Bachhav

Friday 9th of July 2021

Love Paneer Tikka to the core. It makes such a healthy and flavorful snack. Bell peppers making it all the more colorful amd desirable. I also prefer marinating it overnight.

Mayuri Patel

Monday 28th of June 2021

Lovely succulent paneer tikka. Looks so tempting. Love paneer tikka and can have it practically every day. Like the tip about the smoky taste when making in the oven or stove top.