Last week, as already mentioned in my earlier posts, I had made a tandoori platter for my lunch. It had lots of Tandoori prawns, Paneer, Ghongura prawns and also baked chicken breasts. A sudden snag in the laptop functioning resulted with me having to take a forced break from my writing and posting up the remaining tandoori posts. Finally, after a gap of couple days, the laptop snag is corrected and now it is functioning fine and here I am completing the few posts that were well due last week, yeah I had made a mental note of posting them :).
For this tandoori paneer recipe I used the cubes of paneer. I prefer to buy fresh paneer for making any dish, but always keep a packet or two of paneer in the freezer for those occasions when I get sudden urges of cooking paneer dishes and cannot go to the supermarket to buy. The packaged paneer cubes come handy when we are adding few cubes to a recipe, mixing vegetables and paneer, or adding few cubes to any potato filling etc. Keep paneer packet in the lower compartment of the refrigerator overnight, it gets thawed well. One can also empty the contents of the frozen paneer packet and keep on the kitchen platform for an hour or so and the cubes easily get thawed and can then be readily used for cooking. One could also use the thawing function of the Microwave for that matter, but I never go for this option.
This is yet another simple and a quick recipe. You need paneer cubes, lemon juice, whole soaked Kashmiri Chili and Tandoori masala for this recipe. In case the store bought masala is not available at home you can use a mix of red Chili powder, coriander powder, chaat masala, garam masala, and cumin powder. You can either make a paste of the soaked Kashmiri chili and dried masalas as I have done here or can simply use the dried masala mixed with oil and lemon. If you have Kashmiri chili powder you can add a teaspoon of it to the dried masala, lemon and oil and use it as the marinade. Sharing here the method in which I made a wet paste of the chili and masala and ground it to smooth in a Mixie pot.
Paneer cubes: 250 gms
Kashmiri Red Chili: 2 no
Tandoori masala powder: 2 Tbsp
Olive oil: 1 Tbsp
Salt: To taste
Turmeric: 1 Tsp
Note: You can use any cooking oil of choice.
Soak the Kashmiri red chili in hot water, they are easier to grind after soaking as they become soft.
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C on the grill and oven setting.
Grind the Kashmiri chili along with the Tandoori masala powder, salt, lemon juice and some oil. Adding oil helps make a smooth paste and we can easily coat this paste on the paneer and keeps prevent paneer from drying up in the intense heat of the grill. Keep the marinated cubes in fridge for 30 min before grilling, you can avoid this if are in a hurry to eat. The marinated paneer cubes taste better if we allow the marinade to soak in.
Put the marinated paneer cubes in the preheated oven for 10- 15 minutes, tossing in between, so that all sides are grilled to perfection. The oven time depends upon the oven used at home, use self discretion, do not over grill the cubes as they toughen and then taste like rubber.
These paneer cubes were bit crisp on the outside and soft inside with the perfect blend of tandoori masalas, Yummy was my Jr’s comment!! 🙂
NOTE: In case you do not have a grill or oven at home, you can use a fry pan to cook the paneer. Heat the frying pan, add cooking oil of choice and put the marinated paneer cubes and cook on medium-to-slow flame, taking care not to burn them. Cook the cubes for only 10-15 min, turning/ tossing once so that both sides become crisp. Do not cook for long as the paneer will harden and become rubbery. (I have used smaller cubes and hence the time needed for grilling was less, and the grill/oven was already hot.)
SERVING: Serve the piping hot grilled paneer cubes with a mint yogurt chutney/dip. You can check out ashus Yogurt dip recipe in the Archives.
Check out other Tandoori recipes in the Archives.