Description: Food Network Kitchen's Tikka Kebabs.
Recipe courtesy of Nidhi Jalan for Food Network Kitchen

Paneer Tikka Kebabs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Paneer is a fresh unsalted Indian cheese that is made by curdling milk with vinegar or lime; the resulting milk solids are drained and then pressed into blocks. It’s mostly used in North India and Pakistan, although you do see a lot of desserts in Bengal made with unpressed paneer. These kebabs consist of marinated chunks of paneer skewered with vegetables and gently charred on a grill. The result is luscious, piquant and smoky and can be served as an appetizer with chutney or as a main course with naan and dal makhani.




Cilantro-Yogurt Chutney:


Special equipment:
a grill, 12 metal skewers (preferably the flat variety which are easier to flip because the kebab ingredients don’t twist)
  1. For the marinade: Heat the mustard seed oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the besan and stir constantly until golden brown and toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Place the yogurt, lime juice, tandoori masala, paprika, chili powder, mustard powder, turmeric, garlic, chiles, ginger, fenugreek leaves (if using), reserved besan mixture and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl and mix well. It should have the consistency of hollandaise sauce; if it’s too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water and mix well.  
  3. For the skewers: Gently mix together the paneer and just enough marinade to coat in a medium bowl, being careful not to break the paneer. Add the tomatoes, peppers and onions to the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss until thoroughly coated. Cover both bowls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.  
  4. When ready to grill, preheat a grill to medium-high. 
  5. Meanwhile, thread the tomatoes, peppers, onions and paneer in an alternating pattern on 12 metal skewers, letting any excess marinade drip off, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  
  6. When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grates. Lay the skewers on the grates and grill, uncovered, until grill marks form on the bottom of the paneer, about 3 minutes. Flip the skewers, brush with the melted butter and cook just until grill marks form on the other side, about 3 minutes more. (It’s important not to overcook the paneer as it can become hard and rubbery.)  
  7. Slide the paneer and vegetables off the skewers onto a platter. Garnish with cilantro and drizzle with some Cilantro-Yogurt Chutney. Serve with the remaining chutney for dipping.  

Cilantro-Yogurt Chutney:

Yield: 1 cup
  1. Combine the cilantro, yogurt, chiles, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender and process until smooth. It should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. If it’s too thick, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Taste and add more lime juice and/or salt, if needed.

Cook’s Note

Although mustard seed oil isn’t imperative in this recipe, it does give the marinade a really nice zing. If you’d like to use it, note that the only FDA-approved food-grade mustard oil is manufactured by an Australian company named Yandilla. Kashmiri chili powder has a lovely flavor with a little bite and a bright-red color. If you don’t have any, increase the amount of tandoori masala by 1 teaspoon. It is especially important to use a high-quality paneer when grilling it; otherwise, it can get quite hard and won’t achieve the desired succulent texture. There is absolutely nothing like homemade paneer, but Sach Paneer (available online) and Nanak's Malai Paneer (available at Whole Foods and other markets) are very good, too.