Does it really have to be summer to grill stuff? In fact, I enjoy grilled food more in winter than in summer. How nice would it be to eat something hot off of the grill that is spicy with a mild smoky flavor and nice charred marks on it when it is cold and snowy outside. To me that will be the most comforting winter food. Thanks to the varieties of table top grills and stove top grill pans that you get these days.
When it comes to vegetarian grilled food, is there something that can beat paneer? I do relish grilled corn and other veggies, but paneer always tops the list. Just let the paneer sit or rather sink in the marinade for a few hours and get it to the grill. Oh yeah, baby! This is what is perhaps called as the heaven on earth!
You could find it interesting to know how I landed in this recipe that I’m posting today. It is a fusion of recipes, tips and tricks gathered from different sources. I learned the base recipe for the marinde from one of my old friends about half a decade ago. Since then, I’ve been passing this on to my friends who’ve passed it back on to me with a little twist here and there. I’ve taken effort to carefully test and integrate some of those tips and tricks into making a perfect Paneer Tikka that’s simply to die for!
This recipe was also featured in A la Carte (Chennai, India) food magazine.
12 paneer cubes (1 ½ inch x 1 ½ inch x ¾ inch)
2-3 cup veggies (cut in proportion to the paneer cubes)
1 cup light sour cream or thick yogurt
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon garam (or tandoori) masala
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon besan
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon water
oil to spray
Prepare the marinade by whisking together sour cream, chili powder, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, besan, garam masala, lemon juice, water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Try using sour cream instead of yogurt. It gives the marinade a very rich and creamy texture and also enhances the taste quite a bit.
Toss in the paneer and veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions etc.) and allow the marinade to coat them evenly.
Transfer this to a big Ziploc or similar plastic bag, close it tight, massage well and refrigerate for 2-4 hrs. Just before serving, skewer the paneer and veggies alternatively. Metal skewers are easy to work with and you’ll need about 3-4 of them. Spray oil on the kebabs and place them in a broiler or grill or tandoor until you see some nice dark brown to black marks on them. Keep rotating the skewers for even cooking.
The cooking duration varies based on the type of equipment used. In a broiler (high), it takes about 5-7 minutes initially and then a couple of minutes for every rotation.
Pull out the kebabs from the skewers and serve warm with spicy mint chutney.