Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paneer Tikka (oven based)

Cottage cheese marinated in Indian spices and grilled with veggies.

Paneer Tikka is the one of the most favorite appetizers amongst Indian food lovers. Traditionally it is grilled inside a clay tandoor. Alternatively, it can be skewered and grilled on an outdoor grill, oven or on the stove-top. This version of paneer tikka makes use of an oven to grill the paneer and veggies.

Serves 4

Prep Time : 30 minutes

Cook Time : 30 minutes

  • Paneer - 200 gms
  • Sour cream or hung curd/yogurt - 3 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder - 1/8 teaspoon
  • Chaat masala - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Crushed black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon
  • Ajwain - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt as per taste
  • Oil as required
  • Capsicum - 3/4 cup cubed pieces (I used green and red ones)
  • Onion - 1 medium sized (cut into cubes)
  • Tomato - 1 medium sized (deseed and cut them into cubes)
  • Skewers as needed (Wooden skewers need to be soaked in water for about an hour to prevent them from burning in the oven)

Steps followed :

Defrost the paneer in a microwave. Cut them into bite sized square pieces. (Ensure that they are big enough for the marinade to sink in uniformly, and not small enough for it to fall apart on the skewer. 1 inch square cubes generally work well)

Hung curd is a good substitute for sour cream and can be made at home itself. Take some plain yogurt in a clean cloth and hang it for about an hour. This removes excess water from yogurt and what you get is a creamy sour concentrate, which can be then used to make the marinade. Hung curd is better than using yogurt directly in the marinade, as it eliminates excess water and keeps the marinade from dripping while grilling the paneer on the skewer. 
Take some sour cream or hung curd in a bowl. Add chilli powder, ajwain, ginger garlic paste, black pepper, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt to it. Add paneer cubes to this and mix well so that the marinade coats all sides of the paneer properly. 

Let the marinade rest for sometime at room temperature. Then refrigerate it for about two hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

Lightly coat the capsicum, tomatoes, onions with any excess marinade from the bowl. Arrange the veggies on the skewers in any order - paneer, capsicum, onion, tomato. Repeat the arrangement till most of the skewer is covered. Leave about an inch & half on both sides. 

Place the skewers on a baking tray. They could either be placed directly on the tray (in which case it's best to have a sheet of lightly greased silver foil over the tray to prevent sticking & burning of the bottom side of the paneer). Or you could crumple up 2 large pieces of silver foil create a simple stand on either side of the baking tray and rest the skewers on them. I prefer the 2nd approach as it does not require oil and grills all sides of the paneer uniformly.

Leave them in the oven at 425°F for about 18 minutes. If still undone, continue baking for about 2 or 3 minutes more till the edges of paneer turns to a nice brown color. You could also rotate the skewers if the sides are not cooked uniformly.

Once done, sprinkle some chaat masala and lemon juice on the paneer tikka. Serve hot with mint chutney.