Paneer tikka masala

Paneer tikka masala is a very popular creamy tomato based Indian dish. Paneer is marinated in yoghurt and spices, cooked in the grill or oven and added to a rich tomato based sauce. I have used the grill option to make it quick.

Paneer tikka masala is a time consuming dish to make, but you can do some preparation earlier to make your work easy when you get to cook this dish. I did the marination overnight and cooking the next day. I started to cook the sauce first and then cooked the paneer tikka in parallel, so that it can go straight in the sauce.

Everyone has their own recipe for paneer tikka and tomato based sauce. This time I have used onion in my tomato based sauce, which makes it creamy and velvety. The paneer tikka masala goes well with naan, roti or jeera rice.

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins

Cuisine: North Indian

Spiciness: Mild

Serves: 5 to 6

Ingredients

  • Paneer – 250 gms
  • For marination

  • Yoghurt (hung curd) – 1 cup
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala -1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Vegetables for paneer tikka
  • Bell pepper (any colour) – 2
  • Onion - 1
  • Paste

  • Onion – 1 (medium or 85 gms)
  • Tomatoes – 4 or 420 gms
  • Green chilli – 1
  • Ginger – 1 1/2 to 2 tsp
  • Sauce / curry

  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Butter – 4 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Green cardamoms – 4
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Tomato puree (thick, double concentrated) – 2 tbsp
  • Tomato ketchup -2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Kasoori methi – 2 1/2 tsp
  • Green cardamom powder – 2 pinches
  • Garam masala – 1/2 to 1 tsp
  • Ginger juliennes – few

Method

    Making hung curd

  • Take a bowl and place a muslin cloth in tea strainer. Keep the tea strainer on the bowl. Pour the fresh curd. Bring the four corners of the muslin cloth together and tie one corner tightly around the rest. Gently press. You will see the whey dripping. Now optionally place a small bowl or lid on the tied muslin. Keep the whole thing in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours or even overnight.
  • When you open the cloth after resting in the fridge, your will see that the hung curd is ready. The bowl will contain the liquid from the yoghurt.
  • Marinating paneer

  • Chop onion and bell peppers into chunks or as the same size as the paneer pieces. Slice paneer into thin square/rectangle shape.
  • Take a bowl and add all the ingredients for the marination. Mix well.
  • Add paneer pieces and mix well. Then add vegetables and combine together well.
  • Wrap it with a cling film and refrigerate for 3 hrs to overnight.
  • Remove it from the fridge 30 mins before cooking.
  • Soak wooden skewers in a cold water for 1 hr to avoid the sticks from burning.
  • Pierce each vegetable and paneer alternatively into the skewers or as per your order of choice.
  • Cooking in oven

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius for about 10 to 15 mins.
  • Apply or brush the baking tray with a little oil / melted butter, so that the paneer does not stick to the tray. You can even line the baking tray with aluminium foil.
  • Place the skewers in the baking tray and bake for about 8 to 10 mins. Brush with melted butter on top and turn. Apply butter again and cook for another 7 to 8 mins or until you have charred edges. Remember not to overcook paneer as it becomes dry and will not be soft.
  • Cooking in grill

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius for about 10 to 12 mins.
  • Turn to grill option in the oven.
  • Place the baking tray in the oven and grill for 10 to 12 mins.
  • Baste with melted butter half way through and cook until the vegetables get cooked and a little charred inb colour.
  • Keep it ready until the sauce gets ready.
  • For the Sauce

  • Chop onion and tomatoes roughly. Add to the mixer with green chilli and ginger. Grind to a smooth paste.
  • Take a vessel, add oil and 2 tbsp butter. When hot, add cumin seeds, bay leaves and green cardamoms. Let them splutter for a few seconds.
  • Add the ground onion and tomato paste and 100 ml water (you can use the water to clear the paste attached to the mixer). Cook for about 5 mins.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, tomato puree and chilli powder. Mix well. Cook for about 15 to 20 mins on a medium to low flame and with the lid closed until the rawness of the onion disappears. Keep stirring occasionally.
  • Add remaining marinade (1 1/2 tbsp approximately), roasted cumin powder, tomato ketchup, sugar, 1 tsp kasoori methi and 50 ml water or the left over marinade liquid (I have used the water for clearing the remaining marinade attached to the bowl).
  • Cook for about 15 to 20 mins with the lid closed on a medium to low flame.
  • Switch off.
  • Add the cooked tomato mixture to the sieve and sieve it in a strainer.
  • Add 1/3 cup water on the left over mixture in the sieve and strain it. Press with a spoon so that all the liquid comes out. The base for the curry is ready.
  • Take a vessel, place over heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Allow to melt and then add the curry base.
  • Add 50 ml water and cook for about 10 mins.
  • Add the cooked paneer tikka pieces, cream, 1 1/2 tsp kasoori methi, 1/2 tsp garam masala, a big pinch of green cardamom powder and ginger juliennes. Mix well.
  • Cook on a medium flame for about 10 mins. Then lower the flame and cook for another 20 mins with the lid closed. Stir occasionally.
  • Switch off. The sauce when left enough oil on top is ready to serve.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a pinch of garam masala, ginger julienne with a drizzle of cream on top.
  • Serve paneer tikka masala with Naan or phulka, jeera rice and any raitha.

Notes

  • Do not overcook the paneer in oven or grill. It has to just get a charred colour while still soft. Also remember it will be further cooked in the sauce a bit.
  • I sometimes saute the ginger and garlic paste before adding the onion and tomato paste to cook.
  • You can use single cream instead of double or heavy cream.

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