Friday, October 14, 2016

Haryali 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. Hara bhara paneer tikka or haryali paneer tikka is made with an array of herbs and spices and tastes fresh and herbaceous. I use hung yogurt as the base for the marinade. You can also use sour cream if you wish. Grid the green marinade fine using as little water as possible.

Hara bhara paneer tikka
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
400 gm paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
2 tsp hung yogurt (See below)
1 tsp corn starch
Melted butter for basting (optional)
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
Handful coriander
Handful mint
Salt to taste
1/3 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Cut the paneer into large chunks.
  2. Place all ingredients under marinade and grind them together into a thick paste using very little water. Almost like making a green chutney.
  3. Place the marinade in a large bowl and add hung yogurt and corn starch. 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. 
  5. Preheat the grill. 
  6. Place the skewers on the 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.

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