Paneer tikka is made from paneer cubes marinated in Indian spices and yogurt, grilled on the stove-top or baked in the oven. A delicious Indian restaurant-style appetizer that you can make at home!
What is 'paneer tikka'?
If you’re dining at an Indian restaurant and you’re stumped looking at the choices in the menu, you simply can’t go wrong with a tandoori paneer tikka. Paneer tikka or tandoori paneer tikka is made with cubes of marinated paneer and assorted vegetables, skewered and baked in a ‘tandoor’ (clay oven), giving it a lovely char and a smoky flavor.
Paneer tikka can just as easily be made at home. All you need is store-bought paneer, assorted bell peppers, and red onions, yogurt and chickpea flour (gram flour or ‘besan’), and some staple Indian spices for the marinade.
Paneer tikka can be made either in the oven or on the stovetop. If you like those lovely char marks you see on tandoori paneer tikka, you can use a barbeque or stove-top grill to grill the tikka.
List of Ingredients
The mildly tangy and spicy flavors that are characteristic of paneer tikka are easy to replicate at home if you have some basic Indian spices and seasonings. You will need the following ingredients to make paneer tikka at home:
- Paneer cubes (use store-bought or homemade paneer)
- Bell peppers in assorted colors, sliced into square-shaped pieces
- Onions, cubed
- Gram flour, aka, besan
- Greek yogurt or hung yogurt
- Spices (See below)
- Ginger and garlic, grated or blended to a paste
- Lime juice
- Salt to season
Spices used for the marinade:
Chaat masala: A little sprinkling of chaat masala on your meal will make your taste buds do a happy jig! Chaat masala is tangy, and is made with rock salt, carom seeds, dry mango powder, among other seasonings. I love adding chaat masala to just about anything from fruit salads to beetroot tikkis.
Turmeric powder: Turmeric is used for giving this dish its vibrant color
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: Another pantry staple along with turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder is perfect for adding that characteristic red colour to dishes, without adding too much heat.
Garam Masala: Garam masala gives this dish a little heat
Cut up the paneer into cubes, and the bell peppers and red onion into similar-sized pieces.
Before you start with the marinade, prepare the hung yogurt. For this, you need to transfer the yogurt to a muslin or cheese cloth and hang it to drain off the whey. Optionally, you can substitute hung yogurt for Greek yogurt in a pinch.
Prepare the marinade by whisking together the hung curd or Greek yogurt with turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, chaat masala, salt, garam masala, ginger and garlic paste, cumin powder, vegetable oil and gram flour. The marinade will have the consistency of a thin paste.
Toss up the paneer and chopped veggies with the marinade – I like to do this by adding everything to a zip-lock bag and tossing the bag (gently!) so that the marinade coats the paneer and veggies evenly.
Let the marinade sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, for the flavours to really catch on well.
Skewer the paneer cubes onto wooden or metal skewers. Alternate the paneer cubes with the veggies.
For cooking the paneer tikka on the stovetop, brush a little oil onto a grill pan (or a non-stick frying pan) and grill the skewers on the pan for around 5 minutes per side.
Paneer tikka is the perfect party appetizer. It tastes delicious on its own, but can also be served with mint-coriander chutney or tamarind chutney or with a simple salad on the side. You can make your own chutneys at home with a few simple ingredients:
Mint-coriander chutney: To make a simple green chutney, blend together 1 cup of chopped coriander leaves, 1 cup fresh mint, 1 green chili, ½ an inch of ginger, 2 garlic cloves and the juice of ½ a lime. Season with salt and chaat masala.
Tamarind Chutney: Although store-bought tamarind chutney is a good option for a dip, you can make your own at home, and it goes without saying that nothing compares to homemade! To make a sweet and sour tamarind chutney dip at home, roast a teaspoon cumin seeds on a hot pan until fragrant. Grind the roasted cumin in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. To a saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons of tamarind paste, 1 cup water, freshly ground roasted cumin powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder, ½ teaspoon dry ginger powder and salt to season. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring gently. Let the chutney cool before serving.
More Indian Appetizers
Easy Paneer Tikka – Indian Party Appetizer
- Pan for grilling
- 12 ounces paneer (or 350 grams paneer), cut into cubes
- 2 red onions peeled and cut into roughly square-shaped pieces
- 2 bell peppers deseeded and cut into even-sized cubes
- For the marinade:
- 1/3 cup hung yogurt or Greek yogurt
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- Turmeric Powder
- Garam Masala
- Dried Mango Powder also known as Amchur
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste can be substituted with finely-minced ginger and garlic
- 1.5 teaspoons chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1.5 tablespoons gram flour chickpea flour or ‘besan’
- 1 teaspoon oil for the marinade
- Extra oil to brush on the grill pan
- Cut up the paneer into cubes, and the bell peppers and red onion into uniform-sized pieces.
- Before you start with the marinade, prepare the hung yogurt. To make hung curd, transfer the yogurt to a muslin or cheese cloth. Tie up the corners of the cloth and let the whey drain for at least 20 minutes (Greek yogurt can be substituted for hung curd).
- Prepare the marinade by whisking together the hung curd or Greek yogurt with turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, chaat masala, salt, garam masala, ginger and garlic paste, cumin powder, oil and gram flour. The marinade will have the consistency of a thin paste.
- Toss up the paneer and chopped veggies with the marinade. The easiest way to do this is to transfer all the ingredients, including the marinade to a zip-lock bag and toss the bag gently so that the marinade coats the paneer and veggies evenly.
- Let the marinade sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, for the flavours to really catch on well.
- Brush a grill pan (or any large non-stick pawith some oil until hot.
- Skewer the paneer cubes onto wooden or metal skewers. Alternate the paneer cubes with the veggies.
- Grill the skewers on the pan for around 5 minutes per side. Brush on more oil if needed.
- Once done, sprinkle a little chaat masala to finish. Serve hot, with a side of chutney, salad or just as is.
- Try to cut the paneer, peppers and onions into cubes of roughly the same size, so that they cook evenly.
- Hung curd can be substituted for Greek yogurt in a pinch.
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