Chef Merajuddin Ansari's Paneer Tikka has a tandoor dish for your weekend menu.
The paneer is marinated twice -- first, in a ginger-garlic paste, and later, in a spiced yogurt marinade.
It can be grilled on the barbeque or roasted in the grill/oven or shallow fried. Enjoy it on skewers as a starter served with fresh mint chutney and onion rings, as a side with your favourite biryani or sandwich it in between a naan or tandoori roti.
Chef Meraj has over 19 years of experience and has handled continental, Italian, Mexican, bistro-style, fast food and Indian regional specialities.
- 240 gm paneer, cut into medium-sized cubes
- 1 large green capsicum or bell pepper, cut into medium-sized squares
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste, about 1 tsp
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Foil or parchment paper
For the marinade
- 3-4 tbsp hung curd or yoghurt
- 1½ tsp red chilly powder
- 1 tsp yellow chilly power
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2-3 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp rai or mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry pattas or leaves
- 2 dry red chillies
- Dash salt
- Chaat masala
- Garam masala
- Onion rings
- Mint chutney
- Lemon wedges
- Naans or tandoori rotis
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, ginger-garlic paste.
Add the salt.
Add the paneer, capsicum and make sure the pieces are well coated.
Marinate for 10-15 minutes and keep aside.
- In another large bowl, combine the hung curd, red chilly powder, garam masala and the yellow chilly powder.
Mix until there are no lumps and it becomes a smooth paste.
- Heat the mustard oil in a tempering pan.
Add the mustard seeds.
When it splutters, add the dry red chillies and the curry leaves.
Stir for a few seconds and take off heat.
Add this tempering to the hung curd mixture.
Add the already once-marinated paneer.
Allow the paneer to marinate in the hung curd mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the barbecue or grill/oven to 240°C.
If using an oven/grill place a wire rack over a baking tray lined with foil or parchment paper.
- Skewer the marinated paneer and capsicum cubes and place on the wire rack or onto the barbecue.
Grill for 3-4 minutes.
Flip and baste with some butter.
Grill again for 4-5 minutes until golden.
- If you don't have a barbecue or tandoor or oven, heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan on high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and place the skewers with the paneer in the pan.
Keep flipping so the paneer cooks evenly.
Take off heat when golden brown.
Sprinkle some garam masala and chaat masala and serve hot with mint chutney, onion rings, lemon wedges, naans or tandoori rotis, if you prefer.
Chef Meraj's Note: For a less spicy version, make a white marinade with 30 gm hung curd, 3 tbsp fresh cream, 30 gm grated cheese cubes, a pinch green elaichi or cardamom powder, 3 gm white pepper powder, 3 gm ground saunf or fennel seeds and 30 gm cashews (blended into a smooth paste with few tbsp water).
In a bowl, add the hung curd and the white marinade and mix until well combined. Add the paneer cubes and let it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
And then grill.
If you want a chatpata option, try a green marinade.
Grind 40 gm pudina or mint leaves, 2 green chillies, 40 gm roughly chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro leaves, 2 gm kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves.
In a bowl, combine this green paste with 40 gm hung curd, 2 tbsp chaat masala and the juice of one neebu or lemon.
Mix and add the paneer cubes and let it marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
And then grill.
Editor's Note: For a recipe for mint chutney try Lahu Kapudskar's Mint Chutney.
For a vegan option, substitute paneer with an equivalent amount of tofu.
For Jain tandoori paneer, skip the ginger-garlic paste.
Chef Merajuddin Ansari is the executive chef at Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai.