Paneer Tikka is a super tasty Indian vegetarian appetizer, popular at restaurants and parties!
When I was growing up, paneer tikka was one of the dishes that just never really appealed to me. I’d always see it when I went to parties, and I’d rarely ever touch it. And that was a mistake on my part because it really is great – flavorful, bite-sized, and not crazy filling!
(I’ve never really been one for food on skewers…or anything on skewers really.)
What is Paneer Tikka
Paneer Tikka is a popular side dish and appetizer, made by lining up cubes of paneer, alternating with vegetables, marinated in yogurt and Indian spices, and then grilling it! Traditionally, a tandoor is used, but an oven, BBQ grill, or panini press works well too!
Tikka refers to food that’s been marinated and then grilled, fried, or baked.
What is the difference between Paneer Tikka and Paneer Tikka Masala
This can be confusing as they both sound quite similar – panner tikka (what we’re making today) is an appetizer without any curry or gravy. Paneer tikka masala is a curry dish made using paneer tikka. Typically, paneer tikka masala isn’t treated as an appetizer, and is usually served with rice or bread.
Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the key ingredient in creating a delicious paneer tikka recipe is using good quality paneer. If you’re wondering what paneer is, it’s a cheese. You can think of it as the Indian equivalent of cottage cheese. Homemade paneer is great, but you can also use store-bought for this recipe.
How to make paneer at home?
Making paneer at home is actually not too difficult. Start by boiling whole milk, add a curdling agent (like lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk or yogurt). Once curdled, drain the remaining whey, and rinse with cold water. You can use a cheesecloth to give it a squeeze and remove the remaining moisture.
Personally, I don’t bother. It’s easier to buy it!
Where to buy paneer cheese?
You can find paneer at most supermarkets and large grocery stores. If it happens to not be available at your local store, head on over to your local Indian grocery store, and it’s sure to be there!
Typically, thick or hung yogurt is mixed with Indian spices to create a tasty concoction! Full disclosure: four out of five times, I just use Greek yogurt because I often have some sitting in the fridge.
Note: Thick yogurt, hung curd, or hung yogurt is basically when the whey has been drained from the curd, resulting in a thicker consistency.
You can mix this up in accordance with your personal preferences. I’ve just used a mix of bell peppers as an example!
How to make paneer tikka
Essentially, there are two steps to making paneer tikka at home:
- Marinating the paneer in an Indian-spiced yogurt.
- Skewering and grilling the marinated paneer and your choice of vegetables.
- Don’t skip the marination process, there’s always a temptation to just dip the paneer in the marinade and get cooking, but don’t succumb! At least two hours is needed for the flavor of the marinade to really seep into the paneer.
- If you have an issue with your paneer tikka cubes becoming dry, you can brush them with a little oil to help retain moisture.
- Overcooking is something to keep in mind – overcooked paneer becomes dry, hard, and will no longer have that nice bouncy paneer film.
For a vegan-friendly version, you can follow the same process but swap out the paneer for tofu or tempeh. Make sure to also use a vegan-friendly yogurt.
Though best consumed straight away, Paneer tikka will keep for 1-2 days, refrigerated in an airtight container. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
More appetizer recipes
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The George Foreman Grill is perfect for this (and many other things) – if you have plenty of space, or another grill, it’s not necessary at all. But if you, like me, cook in a teeny tiny condo kitchen where space is limited, this little grill is a lifesaver!
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And that’s it for today, bestie! What do think? Will you be trying paneer tikka any time soon? What vegetables would you use? Let me know in the comments below!Print