Friday, October 21, 2016

Kali Mirch Paneer Tikka

Tikkas are a big part of Indian food culture. Small marinated bites of chicken, fish, paneer and veggies are cooked in a charcoal tandoor, occasionally basted with butter till the edges get charred and a wonderful rustic smoky flavor seeps all through.

Tikkas are served as starters with drinks or as an accompaniment to the meal with raw red onion rings, salad greens, mint chutney, hot dipping sauce and even small bites of naan. Give hot tikkas a drizzle of lime juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala (a mix of spices with mango powder, cumin, black salt) for an exquisite flavor. 

There are many flavorful tikka recipes to suit every taste bud. Kali mirch paneer tikka is simple and quick to make. The coarse texture of peppercorns infuse a gentle heat to the succulent paneer pieces and red and green peppers add to the smoky charred flavor.     

Kali mirch paneer tikka
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
400 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
Green and red pepper chunks
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/3 tsp ajwain
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 cup hung yogurt (see below)
Salt to taste
Melted butter OR oil for basting (optional)
  1. Cut the paneer into large chunks.
  2. In a mortar and pestle add the black and white peppercorns grind coarsely & set aside. Grate (or grind in the mortar and pestle) garlic and ginger into a fine paste. 
  3. Place the hung yogurt in a large bowl and add ginger, garlic paste and ground peppercorns. Season with salt, and add garam masala, corn starch and palm crushed ajwain. Mix to make a smooth paste. 
  4. Marinate the paneer cubes in this marinade for 2 hours. If using wooden skewers make sure to soak them first. Thread the marinated paneer on to the skewers along with red and green pepper chunks. 
  5. Preheat the grill. 
  6. Place the skewers on greased hot grill for 3-4 minutes. Baste with oil or melted butter, turn the skewers and cook for a few more minutes till done. Sprinkle with lime juice and chaat masala (completely optional as they taste great as is).
  7. Serve hot with onion slices and lemon wedges. 
How to make hung yogurt
Place a sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. Put 2 cups of plain yogurt (yields 1 1/2 cups of hung yogurt) on the cheese cloth, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight (minimum 4-5 hours). All the water from the yogurt will filter out into the bowl leaving a thick creamy hung yogurt.