Paneer Tikka Masala is, paneer tikka cooked in a flavourful silky sauce with cream, tomato and red peppers. This super tender and delicious paneer (cottage cheese) is roasted and served with a gravy or sauce that has deep and rich flavours.
- Paneer – 400 gms
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Yoghurt – ½ cup
- Chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
- Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Cumin powder – 1.5 tsp
- Garam Masala – ¼ tsp
- Ginger Paste – 1 tbsp
- Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
- Cloves – 4
- Cinnamon – 1 inch
- Green Cardamom – 2
- Black Cardamom – 1
- Red Capsicum – 1 large or 2 medium (1 cup cubed, measured after roasting)
- Onion – 2 medium ( 1 cup cubed)
- Tomato – 1 medium ( ¼ cup puree)
- Chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp
- Cumin powder – 1.5 tsp
- Cashews – 6 ( 1 tbsp)
- Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi ) – 1 tbsp
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Butter – 1 tbsp (unsalted butter)
- Cream – ¼ cup (cooking or whipping cream)
- Water – 1 cup
- Sugar – 2 tsp (optional, but recommended)
- Salt – to taste
- Coriander leaves – 1tbsp for garnish
- PANEER ROASTING – Cut paneer into cubes or bite size pieces and take it in a bowl and pour hot water. Cover and keep for 5 minutes. Strain the paneer and keep it for another 5 minutes in the strainer. In a bowl, whisk and combine together all the ingredients in the marinade to make a smooth paste. Marinate paneer with this paste. Cover and chill for 20-30 minutes. Heat oil and shallow fry thepaneer cubes till they turn slightly brownish. Take them out. While frying the paneer, take out the oozing marinade with a spoon for faster frying and save this and the extra marinade, if any, to add to the gravy. Pan roasting is better than oven grilling for paneers as this is done to get the browned effect for paneer. Grilling may take longer for paneer browning and hence will make it harder. It is already cooked while being soaked in hot water and the roasting on high fire is done only for the browning effect. Grilling or baking of the paneer can also be done in traditional tandoor oven.
- CAPSICUM ROASTING – Roast the red capsicum over a gas stove flame until the skin is charred black. Turn the burner to the highest setting and set your pepper directly on the flame. Use a pair of tongs to turn the pepper until the skin is completely blackened. Place the charred pepper in a bowl and cover tightly to let it steam for about 15-20 minutes. This helps to peel the skin quickly. When the pepper is cooled enough, rub the skin off. Remove the stem and seeds. Wash and wipe the bell pepper. Cut the pepper into small cubes and keep this aside. Usually one large pepper or two medium peppers yields one cup cubed capsicum.
- TOMATO PUREE – To make the puree, dip tomato in boiling water for a few minutes (blanching), drain and keep aside uncovered. Once it is cooled, slip off the skins. Blend the skinned and deseeded tomatoes in a food processor or grinder.
- GRINDING WHOLE SPICES – Grind the whole spices into fine powder with an electric grinder or mortar and pestle and keep aside.
- SAUTE AND GRIND – In the meantime, roast the onions in the pan with one tbsp of oil until lightly browned. Add the cubed red peppers and cashew nuts and toss them for a couple of minutes. Take it off the stove and cool until ready to handle. Blend the mixture into a fine puree. Add a few tablespoons of water only if necessary.
TIKKA MASALA SAUCE
- Heat a pan (use the same pan used for sauteing onion) with a tablespoon of oil and a table spoon of butter. When the butter just melts, add the spice powders (whole spices powder, cumin and coriander) and saute until their aroma wafts around.
- Add the tomato puree and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the red capsicum, onion and cashew puree and gently saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chilli powder, salt and sugar. Crush kasoori methi in your hands before adding to the mix and cook for 2 minutes. Add the left over marinade (if any) and saute for a while. Mix well and add the cream and add hot water and adjust the gravy consistency.
- Now add the roasted paneer pieces and toss to coat well in the sauce. Check taste and adjust salt or chilli powder as desired. If you want a thinner consistency add a few more tablespoons of hot water and a sparing splash of cream. Gently simmer for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with Naans, roti or rice.
- SPICE LEVEL : Adjust the amount of chilli powder for less spicy or hot tikka masala.
- RED CAPSICUM : Use either fresh red pepper or store bought roasted red capsicum. Capsicum may be roasted using direct flame method or in the oven.
- MARINATION : Presoaking the paneer in hot water and leaving the paneer to marinate overnight is a great way to add extra flavour to the paneer and to make it soft and juicy in tikkas. The yoghurt, garlic, ginger, and spices in the marinade infuse it with lots of flavor.
- MEASURING TOOLS USED : 240 ml cup, 15 ml tablespoon and 5 ml teaspoon.
Paneer tikka masala is paneer tikka, cubes of paneer marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then grilled in a tandoor oven, and served in a masala. This recipe is the paneer (cottage cheese) version of Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. This paneer tikka masala is a red capsicum based gravy. Roasted capsicum paste and tomato are used to give natural orange red colour to the gravy without using any food colours. It tastes great and gets a robust mouth feel with red peppers. And it is not too hot, but rich and creamy.