What’s better than just the Paneer Tikka? I’d say a Malai Paneer Tikka! It’s velvety, creamy and oh-so delicious. The malai tikka is also one of the most popular varieties of tikka that features on the menu of almost every restaurant that serves North Indian or Mughlai cuisine. As compared to the paneer tikka, the malai paneer tikka has milder flavors, yet is able to satisfy your taste buds and melt your heart. This time, make it at home with this recipe that I’ve got just for you.
About Paneer Malai Tikka
First things first, since in this recipe of Paneer Malai Tikka, I have used hung curd in the marination; I will suggest you follow this post of How To Make Hung Curd and make your own batch at home.
There’s nothing better than using ingredients that are completely made from scratch at home. But yes of course, do this only if you have time in hand as this will be an extra procedure. If short of time you could also opt to use store brought greek yogurt.
This base marination is what exactly gives the dish a beautiful white hue along with making it smooth and creamy for the palate. Almost like a melt-in-mouth vegetarian tikka.
Cream is also added in this marinade mixture, which is probably why it is actually named as Paneer Malai Tikka. Cream is ‘malai’ in Hindi. This is also the layer of clotted cream that you get on top of heated milk.
More on Malai Tikka
Besides if you are preparing the hung curd at home, the recipe of this tikka is also as easy as any other tikka recipe is.
You just have to marinate the main ingredient, which in this case is the paneer or cottage cheese, along with others and keep it for baking or grilling. Nicer, if you have a portable tandoor at home on which you can cook these tikkas.
As I have grilled the Paneer Malai Tikka in an oven, this recipe is only meant for an oven. In case you do plan to shallow fry the tikkas, then do not forget to add 2 to 3 tablespoons of gram flour (besan) or rice flour in the marinade.
I have also used onion and capsicum that are skewered with the paneer cubes and get grilled. This breaks the monotony of just the cottage cheese and makes for a balance in flavors as well as textures.
This malai tikka is best served hot or warm as a starter snack, but can be wrapped in rotis/chapatis to make rolls, wraps and frankies too.
How to make Paneer Malai Tikka
1. In a bowl, take 5 tablespoons of hung curd or Greek yogurt or thick curd.
2. Whisk for a minute till smooth.
3. Then, add ⅓ cup low fat cream (25% to 35% fat cream) or light cream. You can also use whipping cream. If using whipping cream, add about 4 to 5 tablespoons.
4. Whisk to an even and smooth mixture.
5. Then add the following ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
You can also 2 to 3 pinches of crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) at this step.
6. Add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. If you plan to fry the paneer cubes on tawa or griddle, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons besan or rice flour to the marinade at this point.
7. Mix again very well.
8. Add ⅓ cup of onion squares, ⅓ cup of capsicum squares and 250 grams of paneer cubes.
9. Gently mix with a small silicon spatula or spoon. Take care not to break paneer cubes when mixing.
10. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes. If keeping longer, then refrigerate to marinate for a couple of hours.
Below is the picture after 30 minutes. Before grilling, preheat oven at 240 degrees C for 15 minutes.
Grilling Paneer Malai Tikka
11. Now, thread the onion, capsicum and paneer cubes on bamboo skewers. Place the skewers on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper.
Lining the tray with foil or parchment makes it easier to clean.
Also remember to rinse bamboo skewers with water before using them. You can also soak the bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes.
12. Grill the tikka at 240 degrees C for 15 to 20 minutes. Use the grill mode if using an OTG.
Since temperatures in ovens vary, keep a check as the tikka can take less or more time to get grilled. Keep the tray in the center rack.
13. Once you see the top light browned or halfway through the grilling, remove and turn the skewers. Brush some oil on the paneer, onion and capsicum cubes, if you want.
14. Put the tray back in the oven and continue to grill till the edges of a few paneer cubes, onion or capsicum are charred a bit.
15. Serve Paneer Malai Tikka hot or warm with a side of sliced onions, lemon wedges and mint-curd chutney. Sprinkle some chaat masala on the tikka while serving.
Expert Tips for Malai Tikka
- This recipe is best suited to be done in an oven. If you want to shallow fry the tikka, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of either besan or rice flour or cornstarch to the marinade mixture.
- The curd for the marination has to be either hung curd, thick curd or Greek yogurt.
- I have used a low-fat cream with 25% to 35% fat. You can also use about 4 to 5 tablespoons of whipping cream.
- While adding the spice powders in the marinade masala, you can also enhance its flavor by adding 2 to 3 pinches of crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi).
- The more you marinate, the better the flavors will be absorbed by the paneer. So, you should keep it for a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate. If you want to keep it for longer, then refrigerate it for some hours.
- Since temperatures in different ovens vary, the malai tikka might take more or less time to get grilled. Keep a check on it once you put it in the oven.
- You can grill only the paneer cubes without the onion and capsicum. You can also choose to add veggies like tomato, baby corn, various color bell peppers.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Paneer Malai Tikka | Malai Tikka
for tikka marination mixture
- 5 tablespoons Hung Curd or hung yogurt or thick curd
- ⅓ cup low fat cream – 25% to 35% fat
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- ¼ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2 to 3 pinches crushed kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – optional
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- salt as required
- ⅓ cup onion – cut in squares
- ⅓ cup capsicum (bell pepper) – cut in squares
- 250 grams Paneer (cottage cheese)
- oil as required for brushing on tikka
making marination for malai tikka
- In a bowl take 5 tablespoons hung curd or or greek yogurt or thick curd.
- Whisk for a minute till smooth.
- Then add ⅓ cup low fat cream and mix very well.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and all the spice powders including salt.
- You can also add 2 to 3 pinches of crushed kasuri methi (dried fenureek leaves).
- Then add ½ teaspoon lemon juice. If you plan to fry the paneer cubes on tawa or pan, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons besan or rice flour to the marination.
- Mix very well.
- Add ⅓ cup onion squares, ⅓ cup capsicum squares and 250 grams paneer cubes.
- Gently mix with a small silicon spatula or with a spoon. Take care not to break paneer cubes when mixing.
- Cover and marinate for 30 minutes. If keeping longer for marination, then marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
making paneer malai tikka
- Now thread the onion, capsicum and paneer cubes on bamboo skewers. Place the skewers on a pan which is lined and wrapped with aluminium foil. Rinse bamboo skewers with water before using them.
- Before grilling, preheat oven at 240 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Grill paneer malai tikka at 240 degrees celsius for 15 to 20 minutes. Use the grill mode if using an otg.
- Once you see the top light browned remove and turn the skewers. Brush some oil if you want on the paneer, onion and capsicum cubes.
- Keep back in the oven and continue to grill till the edges of a few paneer cubes or onions are charred a bit.
- Serve paneer malai tikka hot or warm with a side of sliced onions, lemon wedges and mint-curd chutney.
- This recipe is only meant for an oven. If you do plan to shallow fry then do not forget to add 2 to 3 tablespoons besan or rice flour in the marination.
- Remember to use soft and tender paneer. If using packaged or frozen paneer then follow the instructions on the pack before using the paneer.
- The grilling time will vary from oven to oven. So make a note of this point.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Paneer Malai Tikka Post from the blog archives, first published in November 2017 has been republished and updated on December 2022.