Paneer Tikka Masala
Paneer Tikka Masala, a marinated paneer cubes grilled to perfection and then cooked in spicy gravy, is delicious in every bite. The burnt taste of paneer marinated in curd and spices gives it a delighting flavor. It is a paneer tikka prepared with delicious spicy gravy. This recipe has two different stages; 1) prepare tikka and 2) prepare gravy and describes how to make tikka on gas stove and on grill also . Whether you have a stove, grill or oven, discover how to make paneer tikka masala with gravy in this easy step by step photo recipe.
For Tikka:
200 gms (7 oz) Paneer (Cottage Cheese), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
1/4 cup Hung Curd or Thick Curd
1/2 teaspoon Tandoori Masala Powder, optional
1/2 tablespoon Cumin-Coriander Powder
1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1/2 teaspoon Chat Masala Powder
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons Oil
Salt to taste
For Gravy:
1 Black Cardamom
1 tablespoon Whole Dry Coriander Seeds
1-inch long small piece of Cinnamon
1 Dry Red Kashmiri Chili
8-10 Cashew-nuts
2 large Onion, finely chopped
2 small Tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
A pinch of Red Food Color, optional
1/4 cup Fresh Cream
1½ tablespoons Oil or Butter
Salt to taste
1 cup Water
2 tablespoon finely chopped Coriander Leaves, for garnishing

How to make Paneer Tikka?
  1. First, prepare marinade for tikka. Beat hung curd (Chakka Dahi – thick curd prepared by tightly tying fresh curd in a muslin cloth and left hanging for one to two hours) in a bowl until smooth. Add ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala powder, cumin-coriander powder, red chili powder, kasuri methi, chat masala powder, lemon juice and salt and mix well to prepare the marinade.
  2. Add paneer cubes in prepared marinade and mix gently to coat each cube evenly. Cover it with a plate or plastic wrap and let them marinate at least for an hour. You can also marinate them for 4-5 hours to enhance the flavor. If you want to marinate them for more than an hour then cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and keep them in refrigerator.
  3. Soak the wooden skewer (or small toothpick) in water for 10 minutes and wipe it before using. Place marinated paneer cubes on wooden skewer and grease them with oil. Now paneer skewered tikka needs to be cooked. You can cook it in two ways based on what kind of equipment you have.
  4. Directions for Cooking on Gas:
    Heat oil in a non-stick tawa or griddle, place skewers over it and shallow fry them over medium flame. Turn side of the skewer 3-4 times until all sides are cooked properly and have brown color.
  5. To give a little burnt effect, hold skewer with a tong and place it over gas-flame for 30-seconds. Transfer them to a plate and keep aside.
  6. Directions for Cooking on Grill:
    Grill skewered tikkas on barbecue grill for around 6-8 minutes or until light brown on all sides. You can also grill them in preheated oven until edges of paneer start to turn brown. Make sure that you do not overcook them.
How to make Gravy for Paneer Tikka Masala?
  1. Heat butter or oil in a pan or kadai over medium flame. Add black cardamom, dry coriander seeds, cinnamon, dry red kashmiri chilli, cashew-nuts and sauté for a minute. Add finely chopped onion and sauté over medium flame until onion turns light brown.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and salt and mix well.
  3. Cook until tomatoes turn mushy for around 3-4 minutes. Stir in between occasionally. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder, mix well and cook for a minute. Turn off flame, transfer mixture to a plate and let it cool for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer cooled mixture into the grinder jar of a mixer grinder. Add 1/2 cup water and grind it in to smooth puree.
  5. Transfer puree in the same pan. Add 1/2 cup water, stir and bring it to boil over medium flame. When mixture starts boiling, add crushed kasuri methi and a pinch of red food color. Stir and cook for a minute.
  6. Add prepared paneer tikkas.
  7. Cook until gravy turns thick over low flame, it will take around 3-4 minutes. Add fresh cream and mix well.
  8. Turn off flame and transfer prepared curry to a serving bowl. Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Tips and Variations:
  • Use tofu if paneer is not available.
  • If you want to use frozen paneer cubes, defrost them before skewering.
  • It is recommended to follow grill method as it gives burnt charcoal taste. If you make it on stove or griddle, hold the skewer with a tong and place it over gas-flame for 30-seconds to get the burnt (smoky) taste.
  • You can also add vegetables like potato, capsicum, mushroom etc, along with paneer. The grilled vegetables give it an extra tempting taste and flavor.
  • To prepare 1/2 cup hung curd, hang 1-cup curd (tie curd in muslin cloth, hang it and keep a bowl below it to collect the dripping water) or place it over fine sieve to discard the excess water.
Taste: Soft paneer cubes in a spicy gravy. The burnt taste of marinated paneer gives it a delighting flavor.
Serving Ideas: Since this curry has gravy, serve it with Indian breads like naan, paratha, tandoori roti or steamed rice. Sprinkle chaat masala powder and lemon juice over dry paneer tikkas and serve it as a starter, appetizer or snack in parties.

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