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meatless monday: paneer tikki masala

Posted on November 14th, 2011  |  2 Comments

When I find a new dish I like, I tend to have it over and over. Like a new favorite song, I put it on repeat and soon know all the words. It quickly becomes my go-to meal, finding itself on our dinner table at least once a week.

At this time, in mid-November, as we embark on holiday season mode, full-on with pumpkin pie and Christmas music, I’m eating paneer tikki masala like no other.

This very popular Indian dish is oh just sooooooo good. Each and every spice hits just the right note and blends with the tomato sauce like you couldn’t imagine. With a splash of cream (or half ‘n half) at the end, this dish is unbelievably satisfying with a perfect hue of richness.

Marinating the cheese (or chicken, if you are eating this on a Tuesday :)) in yogurt is such an awesome idea I’m jealous I never thought of anything like it. Like as in not even close. I’m all about the garlic, tomato, basil kind of meals, following more of an Italian or even Mexican cuisine that doesn’t have me expanding my palate too often. Recently I’ve been cooking dishes from Peru and India, and it’s made me realize how many endless combinations and flavors are out there, begging to mingle with each other, I can’t wait to learn more!

Even though it looks like a lot of steps, and yeah, there’s a few, but they aren’t intense steps. It’s more of adding to and stirring up kind of dish, and believe me, it’s worth.every.single.one.

So if you’re looking for something new to try this week, something not so Thanksgiving-ish, give paneer tikki masala a go, you (and your palate) may be pleasantly surprised.

Happy Meatless Monday!



paneer tikki masala inspired by this recipe and this recipe

7 ounces paneer


1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp yogurt

juice from 1/4 lemon (~1-2 tsp)


3 med. tomatoes

1 jalapeño (seeds optional)

1 tbsp canola oil

1/2  tsp whole cumin seeds

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2  tsp raw sugar

1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

1/4 c. half and half

a little less than 1/4 tsp garam masala

2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro, garnish

1. Slice the paneer about 1/8 inch thick and in about 1 inch squares, place in a bowl. Add marinade ingredients and mix thoroughly with your hand to coat the paneer. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2. In a food processor or blender, purée the tomatoes and jalapeño, set aside.

3. Heat half of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the marinated paneer and  gently fry for about 4  minutes each side or until it is lightly browned on both sides.

4. Remove paneer and set aside.

5. In the same frying pan add the rest of the oil and heat add cumin seeds, they should crack upon hitting the oil, if not turn up heat, then add bay leaves and stir for about 15 seconds.

6. Next, add the tomato purée, coriander powder, turmeric, paprika, sugar, and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

7. Add the corn starch dissolved in water and stir for few minutes until the sauce thickens. Then add the half and half, stir.

8. Add the fried paneer to the tomato sauce and let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes on medium low heat.

9. Remove heat and carefully stir in the garam masala, garnish with cilantro, cover and let sit for a few minutes.

10. Serve with rice or naan.


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2 Responses

  1. […] to go grocery shopping, I pan fried some paneer. Also known as cheese. It was left over from the paneer tikki masala I recreated for my Indian food obsessed husband. Worked great in this dish, but totally isn’t […]

  2. Neelu says:

    Made this dish couple of days back and just blogged about it. Such a delicious dish!!! Thank you :)

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