My older daughter does not have a spice palate. She abhors spicy food and would rather go hungry than eat it. So, it is more for her than for the family that I develop recipes which are low on the spice quotient and yet are delicious. This recipe for paneer malai tikka is one such recipe.
Now, I like my food spicy. For me spice is the essence of flavour and the right blend and balance in a dish makes all the difference. This dish is in honour of my daughter and her penchant for bland foods.
MALAI PANEER TIKKA
For the marinating
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup thick curd
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp pepper, crushed or pepper powder
- 3/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp cumin / jeera seed powder
- 1 tbsp kasuri methi leaves
- ½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
- 1 tsp corn flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- Salt as per taste
For the assembly of the tikka
- 16 pieces of paneer/cottage cheese (cut into 1 inch square pieces)
- 1 cup onion, quartered and the layers peeled apart
- ½ cup capsicum, cubed into 1 inch pieces (you can use any colour of bell pepper)
- Oil/butter for roasting
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- 1 tsp lime juice for drizzling on the prepared tikka
- 1 tsp chaat masala for garnish
- spring onion leaves for garnish (optional)
- In a small bowl combine the cream, curd and cornflour to get a smooth paste.
- Take a large mixing bowl and add all ingredients for marinating of the paneer. Pour in the cream and cornflour mixture.
- Mix well to ensure that all the spices are well combined.
- Quarter and onion and peel apart its layers. Add them to the mixture
- Cut the capsicum / bell pepper into 1 inch pieces and add to the mix.
- Add the chunks of paneer and mix well to ensure that the paneer, onion and capsicum are well coated in the marinade.
- Set aside for a minimum ½ – 1 hour. Sometimes I prepare this marinade and keep it overnight. That makes the paneer really soft.
- After 1 hour skewer the three ingredients – paneer, capsicum and onion onto the roasting skewers by alternating the ingredients. Note – If you are using wooden skewers then soak them in cold water for half hour so that they do not burn during the roasting.
- Heat a girdle and brush it with some oil. Once hot, gently lay the skewers down and reduce heat to medium. Give the paneer about 2-4 minutes to cook on one side and then turn them over gently. The paneer will be really soft so be cautious while turning them over else the paneer cubes will break and come apart. Cook evenly on all four sides till the marinade is cooked and slightly golden.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle some chaat masala and lemon juice on top and garnish with coriander leaves or spring onion leaves.
- Serve hot with some mint chutney (get your mint chutney recipe here – https://onsonalstable.com/mint-chutney-condiment/).
Note – After roasting on a girdle, I prefer to roast the tikka for a further 2-3 minutes on a wire mesh on the open fire. To do that, I put a layer of aluminium foil under the gas burner (that helps to catch the drips and makes cleaning up easier). I place a wire mesh for grilling on top, brush it with some oil (this stops the tikka from sticking to it) and heat it. Then I place the cooked tikka skewers directly on top of the mesh and rotate them for about 2 minutes. They need to be turned frequently to avoid burning. Doing this adds that slight char/singe to the meat which we get if we cook them in a clay tandoor.