Paneer Tikka Masala: Try This Restaurant-Style Dish At Home
Image Credit: Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka Masala is an Indian dish of marinated paneer served in spiced gravy. A vegetarian alternative to chicken tikka masala. Paneer is a fresh acid-set cheese common in India and is made from buffalo milk. It is a non-aged, non-melting soft cheese made by curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar. 

The word paneer entered the English lexicon from Persian panir cheese, which comes from old Iranian. Armenian panir, Azerbaijani pəndir, Turkish peynir, and Turkmen peýnir, all derived from Persian panir, also referring to a cheese of any type. 

Ancient Indian and Portuguese-Bengali origins have been proposed for paneer. Vedic literature refers to a substance that is interpreted as a form of paneer. But food historian KT Acharya mentions that the acidulation of milk was taboo in Indo-Aryan culture, pointing out that the legends about Lord Krishna make several references to milk, butter, ghee and dahi but do not mention sour milk cheese. 

Here’s the recipe for Paneer Tikka Masala.

Preparation time: 10-15 mins

Cooking time: 25-30 mins

Servings: 3-4

Paneer Tikka

For marination:

    1 tsp degi red chilli powder 

    ¼ tsp garam masala

    A pinch of asafoetida

    1½ tbsp mustard oil

    Salt, to taste

    ½ tbsp, ginger-garlic paste

    ½ cup hung curd

    ½ tbsp roasted gram flour

    400 gms paneer

For gravy:

    1 tbsp oil

    2 dry red chilies

    2 green cardamoms

    4 medium-sized tomatoes

    ½-inch ginger

    2-3 garlic cloves

    2 medium-sized white onions

    ½ tsp turmeric powder

    1½ tsp degi mirch powder

    1 tsp coriander powder

    2 cups water

    Salt, to taste

    6 cashews 

For masala:

    1 tbsp ghee

    2 tbsps butter 

    2-3 bay leaves

    1 large onion (chopped) 

    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste 

    1 tsp red chilli powder 

    1 tsp coriander powder

    ½ tsp turmeric powder

    1 large tomato (finely chopped)

    ¼ cup fresh cream


For marination:

    In a bowl, add degi chilli powder, garam masala, asafoetida, mustard oil, and salt to taste.

    Add ginger-garlic paste, hung curd, roasted gram flour, and paneer.

    Mix everything well and set aside.

    In a shallow non-stick pan, add ghee. 

    Once hot, roast the paneer tikka. 

    Cook from all sides, transfer onto the plate, set aside for use later.

For gravy:

    In a deep pot, add oil, once it is heated, add dry red chilies and green cardamom.

    Add tomatoes, ginger and garlic and saute on medium flame.

    Add white onion and saute well, add turmeric powder, degi chilli powder, coriander powder and saute on a medium flame for 4-5 minutes.

    Add water and mix well, salt to taste. 

    Cover it with the lid and cook on a medium flame for 5-7 minutes, until the tomatoes get soft. 

    Add cashews and boil. Once cold, transfer it into a mixer-grinder and make a smooth paste, and keep it aside. 

For masala:

    In a shallow pan, add ghee and butter. 

    Once heated add bay leaves, onions and saute well.

    Add ginger garlic paste, degi chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder, saute well.

    Add tomato and saute it well for 4-5 minutes.

    Add prepared paneer tikka and mix, add the gravy and mix well. 

    Cook for 2-4 minutes on low flame.

    Finish with one tbsp of fresh cream.

    Turn off the heat, serve with Indian breads.