A soft and moist piece of cottage cheese with crunchy veggies needs to be grilled to perfection to able to give you the real taste. Here’s how you can do it.
From kebabs to tikkas, the Indian cuisine is replete with a plethora of snacks. I’ve grown fond of tikkas even more in the recent past. All thanks to the lockdown and the pandemic, we weren’t ordering food from outside and my mother being a great chef, started with her experiments in the kitchen. She began with succulent and creamy Chicken malai tikkas and moved on to Amritsari fish tikkas later. However, what recently struck a chord with me was the paneer tikka I had for lunch one day. The paneer was utterly soft and the flavours of the paneer were perfect. The juices of the spices had been properly infused into the cubes of cottage cheese and the vegetables were also mildly crunchy.
Since I was so amazed by these tikkas she made, I immediately asked her how she made them. She explained the whole process to me and also gave some wise tips and points to remember. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you to make delicious paneer tikka at home (even without a grill pan).
1. All About The Marinade
For most tikkas, marination is the key. Once you ace the marinade, you can conquer the tikka town in no time. For the paneer tikka, curd is the most important element of the marinade which can make or break the dish. An extremely sour curd would give you a sour tikka and a runny consistency wouldn’t stick to the paneer. So, make sure that the yoghurt is thick and mildly tangy. Also, the longer the marination, the better. Keeping it overnight works best to influence the flavours of the marination into paneer but if you don’t have much time, you can simply keep it for 2 hours. Use hung curd, preferably.
2. All About The Oil
Another essential component of the paneer tikka is oil. Firstly, mustard oil is the ideal choice in case of tikkas and tandoori food because it has a pungent smell which brings out a great flavour. Adding oil to the marinade or mixture is important. However, this oil is not sufficient. You need to brush the paneer and veggies before grilling too because they end up becoming dry in the process.
3. All About The Spices
Salt and red chilli powder are generally the only two spices needed. These lend a distinct flavour and colour to the tikkas which makes them even more appetizing. In case you don’t have red chilli powder, you can use paprika or any other chilli powder.
4. All About Grilling
For the purpose of this article, we are grilling the paneer tikka in an oven. In this step, you need to be careful that you don’t overcook the tikka. Generally, the ideal texture is attained after 15-20 minutes of cooking so check it before you decide to keep it in the oven for longer. Overcooking will only give you rubbery and hard paneer pieces which do not taste well.