This restaurant-style Paneer Tikka Masala is a delicious gravy dish which is made by simmering paneer tikka in a spicy onion tomato based gravy. It is a dish rich in protein and can be easily made at home.
Here are some more Paneer Recipes, that you can try – Lahsooni Methi Paneer, Punjabi Saag Paneer, Mughlai Paneer Korma, Paneer In White Gravy, Restaurant Style Paneer Jalfrezi, Palak Paneer, Dhaba Style Matar Paneer and Paneer Masala.
As we all know protein plays an important role in the growth of our body, as it improves muscle health, increases metabolism, builds tissues, and repairs bones.
We should make sure that we consume food items that are high in protein on a daily basis.
You must be wondering what is “Right To Protein”? It is an initiative where a nation-wide health advocacy campaign aims at giving individuals their right to consume protein.
This campaign has launched an online general ‘protein calculator’, which will help Indians across different age-groups, to track down their daily protein intake and make necessary amendments in their everyday diet.
This “Protein-O-Meter” will ask you basic questions regarding your body profile, type of lifestyle, and kind of meals consumed during the entire day.
It will then calculate the average proteins required against the amount consumed an any given day, specifically for you.
Not only this, but the website will also provide you with the necessary information on protein-rich foods, healthy habits, and tips.
Here is the link to Protein-O-Meter and Protein Index, www.righttoprotein.com/protein-o-meter/
As much as I like to cook, I always focus on what ingredients are being used in my recipes and do those ingredients fulfill the necessary protein requirements.
I also make sure that my meals include protein, as I have a teenage son and it is very important for his overall growth. Paneer being my favorite ingredient which is very rich in protein, I am making a Paneer Tikka Masala Gravy today, which is one of his favorites too.
It is one of the famous North Indian Paneer dishes that are perfect for a simple lunch or dinner at home or a big occasion.
One more advantage of making this dish at home is that you can also make some Paneer Tikka for snacks or sides. It is a win-win situation.
I can assure you it is finger-licking good and all your guests and family members are going to love it.
About This Recipe
Paneer Tikka Masala is marinated, grilled cottage cheese (paneer) and vegetable skewer dunked in a rich onion tomato gravy.
Paneer is Indian Cottage Cheese, Tikka is something that is grilled and Masala is a blend of spices in paste or dry form. So Paneer Tikka Masala literally translates to grilled paneer cubes in a spicy masala sauce.
Marinate chunks of paneer and vegetable (onion and bell peppers) in spiced hung curd and grill it on a Tawa, grill pan, barbecue, or in an oven. It is basically a vegetarian version of Chicken Tikka Masala.
This Paneer Tikka Sabji is
- Slightly sweet
- Restaurant Quality
Paneer : You can either make Paneer at home or even use the store bought one. If using a store bought one, you can either use it directly or place it in a hot water bowl to make it soft.
For the Marination: The marination used for Paneer to make Paneer Tikka is made with the combination of hung curd, ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, salt, lime juice, garam masala powder, and mustard oil.
Do use only mustard oil for the marination, as it gives it a distinct flavor that a regular vegetable oil won’t give. But in case it’s not available, use an oil that is handy.
Make sure to use Kashmiri red chili powder, as it gives a beautiful color to your tikka without making it too spicy.
For the Gravy: For the gravy, apart from onions and tomatoes, you will need – oil, ghee, cloves, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon stick, ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, honey, fresh cream, and Kasuri methi.
I have used a combination of oil and ghee, but you can use either of them or even butter to make this curry.
Fresh Cream, adds a rich taste and makes it creamy, but you can also use cashew paste or almond paste instead. Also do not forget to add Kasuri Methi, because it instantly changes the flavor of the same.
Honey is used to add a little hint of sweetness, you can use sugar too and fresh cream for the rich texture.
How to grill the Paneer?
You can grill Paneer in two ways, in the Oven or on Griddle/Tawa.
Oven Method – Thread the Paneer, Onion, and Capsicum in a skewer and keep aside. Preheat the oven at 220 C and grill for about 8 to 10 minutes till it is cooked from all the sides.
Griddle Method – Heat oil in a wide pan and once it is hot, add in the marinated Paneer cubes. Toss them on high flame and cook until all the sides are golden. If you over fry the paneer on tawa, it might become rubbery.
Step by Step Recipe
For Paneer Tikka:
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a big bowl and whisk properly.
Now add paneer cubes, onions and capsicum to the marinade and mix gently to cover all the chunks properly. Cover it and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Thread the paneer, onion, and capsicum on skewers and grill on a grill pan, tandoor, oven or barbeque till done and slightly blackened. Apply little oil while grilling.
Once done, keep aside.
For the gravy:
Heat oil and ghee in a pan. When the oil is hot, add all the whole spices – cloves, black peppercorn, black cardamom and cinnamon, and fry for a few seconds.
Add grated onion to the spice mix and fry till slightly browned.
Now add ginger garlic paste and fry till onions are nicely browned.
Once the onions are golden brown, add grated tomato and tomato puree and simmer for 2-3 minutes to let the spices infuse their flavor. If you don’t have tomato puree, use half the amount of tomato paste.
Add the leftover marinade from the paneer tikka, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste and cook for a few minutes.
Add a half cup of water to get the right consistency and add the grilled vegetables. Cook for 3-4 minutes till oil starts separating.
Now add honey, lemon juice, fresh cream, and Kasuri methi and cook for a minute.
Your Paneer Tikka Masala Gravy is ready to be served.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hung curd is needed to marinate the paneer cubes. It’s super easy to make.
Just line a sieve with a muslin cloth and pour the yogurt in it. Let it rest for an hour.
All the excess water will drip down and hung curd (Yogurt) will be ready. You can also use greek yogurt in place of hung curd.
Definitely, you can marinate the paneer 12-15 hours in advance. Refrigerate it until ready to grill.
The only difference between Dhaba style or restaurant-style paneer tikka masala recipe to homemade one is the smoky flavor in the curry which is served at Dhabas or Restaurant.
In the restaurants, Paneer is grilled in a Tandoori oven or Clay oven, which gives it a beautiful smoky flavor. But, do not fret. You can easily achieve that smoky flavor in your homemade curry as well.
To give a dhungar to this curry, heat a piece of charcoal over direct heat until it is red hot. If you don’t have direct heat, you can heat it in an oven as well. Keep a small bowl over the curry and keep this red hot charcoal piece in the bowl. Drizzle a tsp of ghee over the charcoal and close the lid of the pan immediately.
Let the curry absorb the smoke for 10-12 minutes. Remove the lid, take out the bowl, and give the curry a gentle mix. Your smoky tandoor style curry is ready.
Both these paneer curries are popular North Indian Curries which has a rich tomato-onion curry. But it is very different from each other.
In Paneer Tikka Masala, Paneer is marinated, grilled, and then added into the curry along with capsicum and onion cubes, whereas in Paneer Butter Masala, only Paneer is added which is either raw or pan-fried.
No Onion No Garlic – Onions are a must in this curry, but if you have dietary restrictions, you can just avoid adding garlic and onion and continue the process of making this curry the same way.
Vegan – To make this Curry vegan, use Tofu cubes instead of Paneer cubes. When it comes to curry, avoid adding ghee and use only oil.
Instead of hung curd, use dairy free yogurt to marinate the Tofu pieces. Use cashew paste or almond paste instead of fresh cream, to make the curry rich and creamy. Also, skip honey and add sugar instead to add that little hint of sweetness.
Healthier – This dish had all the good ingredients except fresh cream. So if you want to make it healthier, try to replace full-fat yogurt with low-fat yogurt, replace fresh cream with cashew cream. You can also reduce the amount of oil used in the recipe.
This slightly sweet and spicy gravy tastes great with Indian Bread such as Lachha Paratha, Tandoori Roti, Garlic Naan, Roti, Tawa Paratha, Naan, or even Missi Roti. You can also serve it with Steamed Rice, Jeera Rice, or Matar Pulao.
For a healthier alternative, you can also serve Paneer Tikka Masala along with Brown Rice, Couscous, Cauliflower Rice, Quinoa and Broken Wheat.
This Paneer Tikka Masala stays good in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days, when stored in an airtight container. Reheat it in a pan or microwave, while serving it again.
You can freeze the marinated paneer tikka masala. It is recommended that you freeze the paneer tikka and the gravy separately.
Marinate the paneer and vegetables and marinate them before grilling. Put them in a Ziplock or freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 3-4 days. Freeze the gravy separately in a freezer-safe bag or container for 2-3 months.
Once you are ready to serve, just thaw the paneer and gravy at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Grill the paneer and vegetables, warm the gravy and then mix the two.
Pro Tips By Neha
If you are using a store bought paneer, keep it in warm water for 5 minutes, to make it a little soft.
Marinate the paneer for atleast 2 hours or even more, so that it soaks up the flavours really nice.
If you want that Restaurant Style Paneer Tikka Masala, then do smoke this curry as I have mentioned above.
Only use hung curd to marinate the Paneer cubes. If you use normal curd, it will leaves water and the result wont be good.
Make sure that the curd used in Paneer Butter Masala is not sour, otherwise it will ruin the taste of the curry.
Some restaurants add orange food colour to get the bright orange colour in the gravy. If you want the same colour, you can try adding it but I don’t recommend it.
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Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe
To marinate the paneer
- ½ Capsicum (Cut into cubes)
- 1 Onion (Cut into cubes)
- 300 g Paneer (Cut into square pieces)
- 2 tbsp Hung Curd
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tsp Mustard Oil
For the gravy
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 2-3 Cloves
- 5-6 Black Peppercorns
- 2 Cardamom
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1 cup Onion (Grated)
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 cup Tomato (Grated)
- ¼ cup Tomato Puree
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Honey
- ¼ cup Fresh Cream
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
For paneer tikka
- Mix all the ingredients for marination and cover the bowl with a cling wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Thread the paneer, onion and capsicum on skewers and grill on a grill pan or tandoor or barbeque till done and slightly blackened.
- Apply little oil while grilling.
- Keep aside.
For the gravy
- Heat oil and ghee in a pan.
- When the oil is hot, add cloves, black peppercorn, black cardamom and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds.
- Add onion and fry till slightly browned.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry till onions are nicely browned.
- Add grated tomato and tomato puree and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the leftover marinade, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste and and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the grilled vegetables and a half cup of water.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes till oil separates.
- Add honey, lemon juice fresh cream and kauri methi and cook for a minute..
- Serve hot with Naan or Lachcha Paratha.