I have blogged about paneer tikka or tofu tikka earlier on the blog. For those that came in late, Paneer is Indian Farmer’s cheese made from fresh whey. It is not aged or salted and also does not have any rennet etc. added to it. It is popularly known as cottage cheese in India, but it is nothing like American cottage cheese.
Paneer can be easily replaced by Tofu in this recipe. Of course, the recipe uses cream so you won’t end up with a vegan dish. For the purpose of this post, I will just refer to ‘paneer’ with the understanding that you readers know it can be subbed with Tofu or Soya Paneer. Or with any other protein for that matter!
The word Tikka generally brings to mind a red marination. And we all love the traditional Tandoori spice version.
But I also love the more subtle Malai Tikka or Lasooni Tikka version. Kareem’s, a local food joint makes it really well.
This Malai Paneer Tikka recipe is perfect for those who don’t like a lot of spice. The color itself is white which is not too intimidating! The main flavor comes from garlic, and salt and pepper add the required seasoning. Cream and yogurt add some moisture and tang, and that is it.
I prefer using lesser ingredients to bring out the maximum flavor. This paneer tikka is not bland, at least not according to me. Close your eyes and the taste of garlic will gradually seep in beyond the creaminess. I like to add lots of veggies to the skewers and they are soaked in the same marinade.
Instead of using the oven, I am using a combination of pan and flame grilling. I had talked about this technique before to get a charred smoky flavor. And this time, I have tried to snap a picture of it. The oil in the recipe is a must for this method.
Also, be very careful and stand back while grilling on the open flame because it does tend to flare up.
I am serving this Paneer Tikka Shish Kabab style on a bed of rice. Since this is a rich and creamy recipe, I decided to pair it with saffron rice. Saffron is mild but heady and so royal. Somehow, it seemed like an apt combination with this particular malai tikka.
A simple carrot cucumber slaw with lemon juice served as a palate cleanser to cut through the grease.
I used the remaining creamy marinade in the saffron rice which is more like a risotto. This means absolutely nothing was wasted here.
Lasooni Paneer Tikka/ Malai Paneer Tikka with Saffron Rice Recipe
- 400g paneer
- 2 onions
- 1 green pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 Tbsp garlic minced
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 2 Tbsp oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup rice
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 ½ cp water
- ½ cup marinade
- 2 pinch saffron
- Salt to taste
- Cut paneer into cubes.
- Cut vegetables into cubes like the paneer.
- Combine cream, yogurt, oil, pepper and garlic and whisk together.
- Mix the paneer and veggies in marinade and coat well.
- Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- Heat a nonstick pan.
- String paneer and veggies on skewer and place on hot pan to sear.
- Cook on all sides and then hold over open flame for a minute.
- Heat butter in a pan.
- Add rice and sauté for a minute.
- Add the water and marinade and salt.
- Bloom saffron in ¼ cup of hot water.
- Add saffron as rice is almost cooked.
- Serve with the skewers for a complete meal.
Considering that this is such a simple recipe, I hope you try it out on your grill. And the barbecue season that is coming up is perfect for it!