The best homemade paneer tikka masala recipe you’ll ever taste! It’s one of the popular restaurant style paneer recipes.
Paneer tikka is made with marinated paneer cubes, onions, and colorful peppers. After soaking up the flavors of the marinade, they are baked into the oven or grilled on the stovetop. Let’s go one step further and make delicious, flavorful, creamy Punjabi gravy masala. Then grilled tikka are added into the gravy and the dish called paneer tikka masala.
Restaurant style paneer tikka masala:
This curry recipe starts with the most flavorful marinade mixture made with creamy yogurt and loads of spices. And of course, a generous amount of marinating time really allows paneer cubes to soak up the flavors.
In the restaurants, marinated paneer tikka are grilled in the tandoor (clay oven). At home, we do use oven or stovetop and so the smokey flavor is missing. To replicate the smokey flavor you can use the dhungar method at the end. (explained below in details). During the summer, you can use an outdoor or charcoal grill, in that case, no need to do dhungar.
The recipe itself is very easy to make, it just takes a bit of time. To cut down the time a little bit, I have not skewered the paneer and veggies Instead I have cooked them in a pan in a single layer. It saves us little time.
Preparation & Marination:
1). We need thick yogurt (hung curd) for marination. Take the yogurt in a cheesecloth or muslin cloth or cotton handkerchief. Twist or tie lightly on top and keep it in a colander. Keep bowl underneath to collect the liquid. Keep it in the fridge for 1 hour and let the excess water drain out.
2) Then you will have really thick yogurt ready, take that in a bowl.
3) Add ginger paste, garlic paste, red chili powder, garam masala, kasoori methi, coriander powder, salt, and lemon juice.
4) Mix well.
5) Add paneer cubes, onions, and peppers.
6) Mix everything really well so all the marinade is coated well. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. More marination time does not hurt.
Grilling paneer and veggies (3 methods):
Method 1: on the stovetop without skewers. Heat the nonstick pan on medium heat and add a generous amount of oil. Oil should coat the bottom of the pan. Once hot add marinated cubes in a single layer. You may need to do it in batches.
When paneer gets light golden color flip them and cook another side. Cook the veggies till they are 80% cooked. Remove them to a plate and keep it aside.
Method 2: Bake in the oven. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil for easy cleaning. Arrange the veggies and paneer on the skewer. Brush the generous amount of oil on all the sides and bake into the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove, flip them and apply oil. Again bake for 10-12 minutes.
Method 3: on the stovetop with skewers. Arrange the cubes on the skewer. Depending on the size of the pan you may need to break the skewer in pieces. Heat the nonstick pan on medium heat, add some oil. Once hot, place the skewers and cook by flipping them till it becomes golden from all the sides. It takes around 2-3 minutes.
How to make paneer tikka masala?
1). Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
2) Then add chopped onion and sprinkle some salt to speed up the process.
3) Let it get soft and light brown in color.
4) Add ginger paste and garlic paste.
5) Mix and cook for a minute or till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
6) Mix in the tomato puree.
7) Cook till all the moisture evaporates and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. do stir in between.
8) Add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder.
9) Mix and cook for a minute.
10) Add 1 cup of water and let the gravy come to a boil. and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Adjust the water quantity as per your liking gravy consistency.
11) Stir in garam masala and kasoori methi.
12) Add prepared tikka.
13) Mix well and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
14) Lastly, add cream.
15) Mix well.
Dhungar for paneer tikka masala
- To give smokey flavor to the curry, follow this method. You can skip this if do not care for a smokey flavor. My veggies and paneer pieces were charred slightly, so I have skipped it.
- Place a small bowl in the center of the pan.
- Take a small piece of charcoal (natural lump charcoal) and heat up on open flame with the use of tongs. Heat it till it gets red hot.
- Put the hot charcoal in a small bowl. Make sure charcoal is not touching the food.
- Drizzle a ½ teaspoon of ghee over it and immediately the smoke will start to come out.
- Immediately cover the pan and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Then remove the charcoal and bowl. Paneer tikka masala is ready to serve.
- Serve paneer tikka masala with naan or tandoori roti.
- It can be served with plained rice or jeera rice.
- Serve onion lachha and salted lassi on the side.
Making paneer tikka masala ahead of time:
If you are planning to make it for a large group and want to make it ahead of time then you can prepare the tikka and gravy beforehand and store them separately. At the time of serving reheat the gravy, add tikka and serve piping hot.
Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe (Restaurant Style)
For marinating the paneer:
- 5 oz or 150 grams Paneer cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup Capsicum (Green bell pepper) cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup Red pepper cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup Red onion cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup Hung or thick curd ¾ cups of yogurt kept in muslin cloth in the strainer will give ⅓ cup of thick yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoon Ginger paste or freshly grated or crushed
- 1 ½ teaspoon Garlic paste or freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon Red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 teaspoon Chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon Kasoori methi (Dried fenugreek leaves)
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Oil for cooking the tikkas
For paneer tikka masala recipe:
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 cup Red onion finely chopped or food processed
- ½ teaspoon Ginger paste or freshly grated or crushed
- ½ teaspoon Garlic paste or freshly grated
- 2 medium or 1 ½ cups Tomato pureed
- 1 ½ teaspoons Red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Cumin powder
- 1 cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala
- 4 tablespoons Heavy whipping cream or fresh cream or malai
Marinating and Grilling the paneer:
- To get thick, hung curd, strain the yogurt. Take a ¾ cup of yogurt in a cheesecloth or muslin cloth or cotton handkerchief, put it in the strainer. Keep bowl or jug under the strainer to collect excess water. Keep it in the fridge for about 1 hour and let it drain out.
- You will get very thick yogurt, take it into a bowl.
- Add ginger paste, garlic paste, all the spice powders, salt, and lemon juice, mix well.
- Add cubed paneer and veggie pieces. Mix very gently using your hand, the marinade should coat all the pieces.
- Cover it and keep refrigerated for at least 30-45 minutes and let it marinate.
- Now to grill the tikkas, I have used for stove top method without using the skewers. Heat generous amount of oil in a nonstick pan. Once hot arrange the marinated paneer and veggies in the single layer.
- Once browned from on side, flip and cook other sides. Remove it to a plate.
- Alternately you can make paneer tikka in the oven.
Making paneer tikka masala recipe:
- Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- Then add chopped onion and sprinkle some salt. Let it get soft and light brown in color.
- Then saute ginger paste and garlic paste for a minute.
- Mix in the tomato puree. Cook till all the moisture evaporates and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. do stir in between.
- Add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Mix and cook for a minute.
- Add 1 cup of water and let the gravy come to a boil. and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in garam masala and kasoori methi.
- Add prepared paneer tikka, mix well and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Lastly, add cream and simmer for a minute.
- Turn off the stove.