Achari Paneer Tikka
Grilled cottage cheese cubes flavored with pickling spices.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
for the pickle masala or achari masala
- 2 teaspoon split yellow mustard (rai ka kuria) or 1.5 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 2 to 3 dry red chilies - deseeded and broken into small pieces
- as substitute for above you can also add 2 tablespoon of ready made dry achar masala or pickle mix
- 250 to 300 grams paneer (cottage cheese) - sliced into cubes or squares
- 1 medium capsicum (bell pepper - red or green or yellow) - diced
- 1 medium onion, halved and the layers separated
- 1 medium tomato, diced (optional)
- 7 tablespoon full fat hung curd (hung yogurt ) or thick curd (yogurt or dahi)
- 2 tablespoon besan (gram flour or chickpea flour) or corn starch (corn flour)
- 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves + 1 inch ginger - about 1.5 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder) or lime juice - add as required for more tang if preferred
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder - optional
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional
- 1 teaspoon mustard oil, preferred or any vegetable oil
- salt as required
- 1 small to medium onion - sliced thinly or sliced thinly into roundels
- 1 small lime or 1 lemon - sliced or quartered
- a few pinches of chaat masala powder
- 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves (optional)
preparing the achari masala or pickle mix
First take all the spices namely - mustard seeds (i used split mustard seeds), fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds and dry red chilies in a dry grinder or coffee grinder.
Grind all these spices to a fine powder. A slight semi fine texture is also ok. This is the dry achari masala. Keep aside.
making achari paneer tikka
In a bowl take hung yogurt or thick yogurt and whisk till smooth. To make hung yogurt, place the yogurt in a muslin cloth or a cotton napkin. Tie tightly and place on a strainer, which is kept over a bowl. Keep in the fridge till all the whey gets collected in the bowl. This takes about 4 to 5 hours. You can also keep overnight. Here I used thick yogurt.
Add the powdered achari masala, red chili powder, gram flour/corn starch, ginger-garlic paste, asafoetida, coriander powder, red chili powder, dry mango powder or lime juice, crushed dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), salt and mustard oil. You can also use ready made achar masala or pickle masala. Add about 2 tbsp of dry achar masala in the marinade.
Mix everything into the beaten curd. Check the taste and add more salt or other seasoning if required.
Add the bell peppers, onions and paneer cubes.
Gently mix the paneer cubes and veggies till they are evenly coated with the achari marinade.
Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour or overnight. You can also keep for any number of hours.
Once you remove from the the marinated cottage cheese cubes and veggies from the fridge, then gently mix again.
grilling method for making achari paneer tikka
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit for at least 10 minutes before you grill the tikkas.
For a regular oven, keep both the top and bottom elements on and keep the pan in the center or top rack. For a microwave oven use the convection mode and preheat at 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.
Thread the veggies and paneer cubes on a bamboo skewer or metal skewer. You can also
Cover a baking tray with an aluminium foil. Avoid butter paper like I have done as the paneer sticks to the butter paper once grilled.
Brush the marinated paneer with 1/2 to 1 tsp of mustard oil or any other oil.
Place the tray in a the top rack or middle rack of a preheated oven. Keep both the top and bottom heating elements on. Grill at 200 degrees celsius for 15-25 minutes (depending on the oven temperatures). I have a slow oven, so it took 25 mins for the paneer cubes to be grilled and browned at the edges.
Just keep an eye when the paneer is getting grilled in the oven. For a microwave oven in the convection mode, use 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit for grilling the tikka.
pan frying or stove top method for achari paneer tikka
Heat about 2 to 3 tsp oil in a non stick pan. Place the threaded paneer tikka with the skewers on the pan. You can also fry the marinated paneer cubes and veggies without the skewers.
Gently rotate the skewers, when one side is crisp and browned. Keep on rotating till all the sides are browned. Add more oil if required, while frying.
Fry till all the sides are golden. Pan fry on a low flame as the marinade gets browned quickly. Keep the fried achari paneer tikka aside.
Serve with onion slices, lemon wedges and mint yogurt chutney. Sprinkle chaat masala and lemon juice on the achari paneer tikka while serving. You can also garnish with chopped coriander or mint leaves.