Paneer tikka masala, cubes of Indian cottage cheese grilled and served in a creamy spiced tomato based gravy, a classic vegetarian winner!
Cooking in under 45 minutes this boldly flavoured curry is a relatively quick and simple meal that would grace any table.
Indian Cheese Tikka Masala
Paneer tikka masala, a vegetarian take on a modern classic Indian curry. Arguably the worlds most well-known curry outside of India.
It is the archetypal type of curry that features everywhere from pub menus to curry houses across the UK.
It may not be traditional homestyle Indian cooking but my gosh it is satisfying.
The lightly sweet and spicy sauce with grilled spicy chunks of goodness are the stuff curry cravings are made of.
My recipe is moderately hot, and you can tinker with how spicy this dish is really very easily.
Simply increase or decrease the amount of chilli powder in the paneer tikka marinade or fresh chillies in the masala sauce. Adding more cream to the sauce can help moderate that chilli burn too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to marinate the paneer?
No, not really, paneer cheese does not really “absorb” flavour like tofu, it sits on the surface so you are good to coat and then cook.
But if you want to get ahead you can coat the paneer in the yoghurt up to 4 hours in advance.
Can I make this in advance?
I personally would not prepare this too far in advance because the paneer can break up in the sauce. It is not a huge problem but it does change the way the dish eats.
But you can make the masala sauce up for the paneer tikka in advance, in fact, it freezes really well. You can also marinate the paneer early and then just grill it up, heat the sauce and pull it together in 10 minutes.
Are there other ways to cook the paneer tikka?
Yes, the paneer tikka can be grilled (broiled), cooked in the oven or an air fryer, you can even cook it on a barbeque.
For the oven cook at 220°C or 430°F in a fan assisted oven for 12-15 minutes.
In an air fryer cook at 200°C or 400°F for 8-10 minutes.
On a BBQ simply grill over a flame for as long as it takes to get a nice colour.
I’m a Brummie and as far as I am concerned that means that paneer tikka masala must be served with naan bread.
The thick and creamy sauce really does scream for bread to use as a gravy mop. You could of course use something like roti or chapati as an alternative.
If I am feeling greedy then I would add rice, simply boiled basmati rice is my usual side, but a nice pilau like this mushroom pilau would work really well.
If you wanted to do something a little different then how about adding potatoes as a side?
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 28cm or 11″ skillet or frying pan.
- Mixing bowl.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Fine mesh sieve.
- Blender (optional).
Paneer tikka masala, a modern classic Indian curry gets the vegetarian touch from seared tandoori marinated paneer cubes.
- 350g (12oz) Paneer
- 4 Tbsp Yoghurt
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 15g (Half of a Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Kashmiri Chill Powder
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 Tsp Ground Amchoor
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
- 1 Tbsp Ghee
- 2 Green Chilli Peppers
- 12 Curry Leaves
- ¼ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Tsp Garam Masala
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Water
- 250ml (1 Cup) Tomato Passata
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- ½-1 Tbsp Sugar
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Double Cream
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- Peel and then mash the garlic.
- Add the garlic and ginger to a medium bowl.
- Pour in the yoghurt followed by the salt, herbs and spices and then mix to form a paste.
- Cut the paneer into a 25mm (1" ) dice and add it to the yoghurt and toss to coat.
- Cover the paneer cubes and allow them to sit in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
- Cut the onion into a 1cm (½") dice.
- Slit the chilli peppers in half lengthways.
- Place a 28cm or 11" skillet or frying pan over a medium-high heat and melt the ghee.
- Add the curry leaves and sliced chillies when the ghee is hot and cook for 30 seconds.
- Throw in the diced onion and cook for 10 minutes.
- Pour in the tomato passata and tomato puree and stir to combine.
- Add the cinnamon, garam masala, sugar, salt and water, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Thread the paneer onto skewers (soaked for 30 minutes if using bamboo).
- Scrape any remaining marinade from the paneer tikka into the sauce and stir to combine.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender and give it a blend.
- Return the sauce to the pan passing it through a fine-mesh sieve to get the silkiest of sauces.
- Place the skewers under a hot grill or broiler and cook until they are nicely coloured on all sides (around 10 minutes).
- Slide the tikka off the skewers and into the sauce and stir to coat before serving.
I like to sprinkle fresh coriander over the dish to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 855Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 36gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 182mgSodium: 1948mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 5gSugar: 22gProtein: 39g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.