Paneer Tikka is a very popular Indian Style appetizer made with cubes of paneer and Veggies marinated in yogurt and spice mixture. This is a perfect recipe for barbeque and especially for vegetarians.
Traditionally this is grilled in a tandoor but one can make it in the oven, on stovetop or an air-fryer too. The smoky effect from the tandoor or from the barbeque adds to the taste.
So what is Paneer Tikka
Paneer is the Indian Cottage cheese, made from curdling milk. Milk is the main ingredient in paneer and an acidic agent is used to separate the milk solids from the whey. More about what is paneer and how you can easily make it home can be read in this post of Home made Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese).
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.
Recipe process of Paneer Tikka
The recipe is simple and the paneer along with the veggies are marinated with yogurt (hung curd), Turmeric, red chilly powder, Garam masala, Mustard oil, salt, oil and lemon. It is left to marinate a couple of hours and best overnight. I like to make it a day before as the marinate really is infused nicely and I am sorted with the prep work on a busy day.
Tips and tricks to make the best Paneer Tikka
- Use big and firm paneer cubes. As paneer is soft, if you use smaller pieces it will break.
- Mustard oil adds a nice taste to the marinate. However one can use any vegetable oil of preference.
- Use hung curd or thick yoghurt without any water. This is essential or else your marinade will not stick to the paneer or veggies and be watery
How to make Hung Curd or remove excess water from 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.
Vegan substitutions for Paneer Tikka
Vegans can replace the paneer with Tofu in this, and yogurt with a coconut-based yogurt. The taste would slightly differ with the addition of coconut-based yogurt but the spices will balance the flavour.
Infusing smoky flavor when using Oven or stove top or air-fryer
As said earlier the smoky flavour really makes a lot of difference. So, if you are doing it in an oven, or stovetop or an air-fryer you cannot get that. One can achieve the smoky effect by burning a piece of charcoal. Check this post on how to get the smoky effect when not doing in a tandoor or barbeque.
I keep this Paneer tikka simple. I make a simple marinade with a few masalas and yoghurt. However, at times I like to add the green marinate too made using coriander, mint and green chillies as in this. Check out these Oven Roasted Potatoes where I have added the green marinate.
At times gram flour is also added to the marinate. It gives a texture to the dish as well as makes it more crispier.
All of them taste delicious and can be enjoyed for your parties or your summer barbeque. One can even enjoy this as a side or a dry vegetable with some roti or naan (Indian Style flat Bread).
Variations to paneer tikka
The same marinade can be used to marinate Tofu, potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby corn or even meat like chicken.
Few more recipes with Paneer
- Broccoli and Paneer Paratha
- Butter Paneer Masala
- Kale, Broccoli and Paneer Sandwich
- Matar Paneer (No Onion No Garlic)
- Mung Sprouts & Methi Chila (PanCake), with Cabbage & Paneer Stuffing
- Paneer (Cottage Cheese) Paratha
- Paneer BabyCorn (No Onion no Garlic – Medium Gravy)
- Vegetable Paneer Kofta
- Vegetable Paneer Kofta Curry
- Methi Matar Paneer without Cream
- Baked Potato Skins with Paneer & Veggies
- Palak Paneer Stuffed Idli | Steamed Spinach & Cottage Cheese Cakes
- Sana Thongba|Manipuri Paneer curry
- Nutty Spinach , Potato & Paneer Balls
- Soft Spongy Bengali Rasgulla (Pressure Cooker & Open pot method)
Paneer Tikka (Indian Style Grilled Cottage Cheese & Vegetables)
- 1 cup Hung Curd/Thick Yogurt
- 250 gms Paneer -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
- Salt as per taste
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoon Mustard oil -or Vegetable Oil
- Cut the paneer into cubes and similarly cut the tomatoes and peppers.
- In a bowl add hung yogurt/Curd, add the spices i.e. Turmeric, red chilly powder, Garam Masala, salt and oil.
- Mix all the masala.
- Add the paneer and the vegetables to the masala mix.
- Gently coat the marinate evenly on all the pieces.
- Cover it and let it marinate for 4-5 hours or best overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180 Deg Celcius or light up an outdoor grill/Barbeque.
- Skew paneer and vegetables alternately in soaked bamboo skewers.
- Grill for 8-15 minutes until you get those beautiful brown marks.
- Rotate in between to evenly grill or cook from all the sides.
- Pic below after 4-5 minutes.
- Serve it as is or with some Green Coriander Mint Chutney.
- For Variations in Veggies and marination read above.
- Vegans can use Tofu and coconut yogurt. However, using coconut yogurt will slightly differ the taste.
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.