Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe: Perhaps one of the most popular and favorite North Indian or Punjabi paneer gravy recipes. It is a one-of-a-kind curry recipe known for its tikka sauce and roasted flavor derived from roasting paneer skewers. It is a versatile curry recipe that is best served with roti or naan but can also be served with flavored rice such as pulao or jeer rice.
The spiced tomato onion curry sauce and delightfully marinated grilled cottage cheese in this restaurant-style Paneer Tikka Masala recipe are bursting with bright flavors. While this dish is a labor of love, the time and effort put in are well worth it!
This delectable traditional Punjabi dish will appeal to the entire family. Serve with a heaping pile of naan, roti, or paratha for dinner tonight. I’m almost certain the entire family will finish their meals!
Tikka is a grilled dish. The paneer is grilled before being added to the gravy in this case. Finally, there’s masala. While masala can refer to any number of spices that are mixed together, in this case, the masala refers to the spice-laden gravy.
So there you have it. Paneer Tikka Masala literally means “grilled cottage cheese in a spiced gravy!”
Meat skewers are commonly used in tikka masala or tikka-based recipes. However, this recipe has been adapted and made vegetarian-friendly by using popular vegetables. Paneer tikka masala is the most well-known and popular vegetarian option due to its meat-like texture and ability to absorb flavors.
As I previously stated, this recipe was created as a meat substitute for vegetarians or those who do not eat meat on certain days. However, this quickly gained popularity due to its flavor, color, and, more importantly, the ability of the paneer to absorb all of the tikka flavors in it. In fact, it is well-known not only in India but also throughout the world. Furthermore, it has given birth to a plethora of variations in its gravy base as well as the additional ingredients added on top of the paneer. Some people add a smoky flavor to it by placing burnt charcoal inside the marination bowl. I avoided this step in particular because it could turn out to be a disaster if you leave it for a longer period of time, and thus only used the roasting with skewers.
In addition, some additional tips, suggestions, and variations to the paneer tikka masala recipe are provided. First and foremost, this recipe is not limited to paneer; you can substitute other vegetables such as mushrooms, potatoes, and even soya chunks. Furthermore, you may combine all of these ingredients to create a combination of these ingredients. Second, for any paneer recipe, including this paneer tikka, I always recommend using moist and fresh paneer. I used homemade fresh paneer, but you can also use store-bought fresh paneer. Furthermore, I made these tikkas on the tawa, which should be useful for those who do not have an oven or traditional tandoor. However, if you have a baking oven, you can bake these for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius with a skewer. Finally, while marinating, you can leave it at room temperature or refrigerate it. For a better result, I would strongly advise refrigerating it.
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Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe
- 3/4 cup curd (thick)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 3/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp ajwain / carom seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp kasuri methi
- 2 tbsp besan / gram flour (roasted)
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 capsicum (cubed)
- 1/2 onion (petals)
- 14 cubes paneer
For the curry:
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 inch cinnamon
- 2 pods cardamom
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp cumin
- the onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kasuri methi (crushed)
- 2 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
To marinate paneer, follow these steps:
- To begin, combine 3/4 cup curd, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp pepper powder, and 1/2 tsp garam masala in a large mixing bowl.
- Also add 1/4 tsp ajwain, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp kasuri methi, 2 tbsp besan, and 2 tsp oil
- Add 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste to taste. Mix thoroughly to ensure that everything is well combined.
- Now add 1/2 capsicum, 1/2 onion, and 1/4 cubes paneer
- Mix thoroughly to ensure that everything is well combined.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to marinate.
- After 1 hour, insert the skewer into the centre of the skewer and grill until golden brown.
How to make paneer tikka curry:
- First, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large kadai. 1 bay leaf, 1/2 inch cinnamon stick, 2 pods cardamom, 3 cloves, and 1 teaspoon cumin Cook until the spices become aromatic.
- Add 2 onions and 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown.
- Add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, and 1 tsp salt while the heat is low.
- Cook until the spices become aromatic.
- Cook thoroughly after adding 2 cups tomato puree.
- Cook until the oil begins to separate from the sides of the pan.
- Cook on low heat with the remaining marination mixture.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the oil separates from the sides.
- Add 1 cup water and mix well, adjusting the consistency as needed.
- Gently fold in the paneer tikka.
- Cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until the flavours are well absorbed.
- Now add 1/4 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp kasuri methi, and 2 tbsp coriander Mix thoroughly.
- Finally, serve paneer tikka masala with naan or tandoori roti.
- First and foremost, make sure to marinate the paneer thoroughly; otherwise, the paneer will be flavourless.
- I also did not use any food colouring; the colour comes from the addition of kashmiri red chilli powder.
- Furthermore, if the tomato base is not thoroughly cooked, the gravy will taste raw.
- Curd (Yogurt): Use fresh hung curd or a thick yoghurt, such as Greek yoghurt, to marinate the paneer cubes. Use only hung curd that has not gone sour. Use fresh curd or yoghurt in the gravy as well.
- To make hung curd, place a strainer on top of a bowl and line it with clean muslin or cheesecloth.
- Place the muslin or cheesecloth over the fresh curd or yoghurt.
- Make a knot by bringing all of the muslin’s edges together.
- Gently press the muslin to keep it on the strainer.
- Place a heavy object, such as a lid, bowl, or tray, on top of the muslin.
- Refrigerate the bowl, strainer, muslin with the curd, and weight for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. The whey will collect in the bowl, leaving only the creamy smooth hung curd in the muslin.
- 1 cup fresh curd can be used to make hung curd for this recipe.
- Paneer: It is always best to make paneer at home when making any paneer-based curry dish. If you’re using packaged paneer, make sure to read the instructions on the package before marinating it.
- Grilling or pan-frying: Do not grill or pan-fry the paneer cubes for an extended period of time, as this will cause the cubes to become dense and rubbery.
- The consistency of the gravy is medium to medium-thick. So adjust the amount of water to achieve the desired consistency.
- Finally, paneer tikka masala can be enhanced by cooking paneer tikka in a tandoor.
Is it possible to make Paneer Tikka Masala without garlic and onions?
Yes! You can easily replace the alliums with a few pinches of hing (also known as asafoetida). Instead of garlic paste, add a pinch of hing to the marinade. When you add the ginger paste to the gravy, add one to two pinches of hing. You can also use paneer tikka in a makhani/Makhan Wala gravy that does not contain yoghurt or onions.
What exactly is Kasuri methi? Can I use something else in its place?
Kasuri Methi is made from sun-dried fenugreek leaves. It tastes like a cross between fennel and celery, with a bitter aftertaste. If you don’t have access to Kasuri methi, simply leave it out of the sauce.
Is it possible to make vegan paneer tikka masala?
Absolutely! Simply substitute tofu for the paneer. In place of the hung curd, use strained coconut or cashew yogurt. Replace the heavy cream with coconut cream.
Is it possible to make this in a tandoor?
Certainly! If you have access to a tandoor oven, this recipe would be even more authentic.
Is it possible to cook the paneer on the grill?
Yes! The paneer and vegetables should definitely be skewered on metal skewers.
What exactly is hung curd? Is there anything else I can do?
Hung curd is made by straining regular yogurt through a cheesecloth to remove all of the whey. 1 cup fresh curd (yogurt) can be used to make hung curd for this recipe. If you want to skip this step, Greek yogurt, skyr, and labneh are all suitable substitutes.
Is it okay to use store-bought paneer?
While I highly recommend making your own paneer at home (it just tastes so much better! ), store-bought paneer can be used in a pinch. Before marinating, make sure to read and follow any package instructions.
What distinguishes this dish as Punjabi?
Punjab is a region in Northern India, and Punjabi cuisine is the cuisine that comes from there. Punjab is a heavily agricultural region, so their cuisine is based on locally grown staples. Dairy is widely available in the region, so many popular Punjabi dishes contain milk or cream. Other popular Punjabi dishes include Chana Masala, Rajma Masala, Kadhi Pakora, and Lassi.
What’s the deal with my rubbery paneer?
Overcooking is a common cause of rubbery paneer. First, make sure you aren’t overcooking it during the “grilling” step. Second, after the sauce has been removed from the heat, add the paneer. Allow it to warm in the sauce but not continue to cooking.
If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate the recipe and comment how it was 🙂 You can also Sign up for my email newsletter for more delicious vegetarian recipes.