Paneer Tikka or Roasted Cottage Cheese is actually made in a tandoor or charcoal fire stove but in these days of quick fixes, one has to make do with pan roasted food. Cooking for one is usually a one pot meal without any frills and fancy. The one thing we forget is to indulge ourselves. I like hors d’oeuvres whenever I dine out or at parties but I have never made any for me.
Tikkas are usually marinated in spices and yogurt for a few hours and then skewered and roasted over an open fire. Long process if I am cooking only for myself, isn’t it? When my husband was alive and the kids were around, I used to do all this and more to appease their taste-buds. Mostly it used to be chicken tikka or tandoori chicken. But now that I am alone and a vegetarian at that, I cook vegetarian interestingly and enter the kitchen and want to be out ASAP.
I have found a way of simplifying most of the regular cooking by getting into fusion recipes or leaving out a few ingredients but I never compromise on taste. Colour plays a major role in my cooking and of course, the presentation has to be good. Because I never dine on mediocre!
This Paneer Tikka or Roasted Cottage Cheese was made on a whim. It was a Sunday and I wanted to treat myself to some yummy appetizer but I didn’t have the inclination for an elaborate tikka recipe. I had some homemade Paneer or cottage cheese lying in the fridge and it was so very soft. I had devoured the bowl of yoghurt at lunch and didn’t have that too for marinating. Skipping the marinating and roasting; I went ahead and made a recipe of my own.
Recipe for Paneer Tikka or Roasted Cottage Cheese
200gms Paneer or Cottage Cheese Cubed
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
¼ tsp red chilli powder
¼ tsp pav bhaji masala
Pinch of red food colour
Salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying
One Onion cut into small squares
Take the cubed Paneer in a bowl. Add the ginger-garlic paste, salt, chilli powder, pav bhaji masala and food color.
Cover with a lid and give it a gentle shake. All the Paneer cubes will be coated with the masalas.
Take a non-stick griddle and heat a tbsp of oil. Drop the seasoned Paneer on to the hot oil and let it roast on all sides. Once it roasts, the Paneer will become crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Meanwhile take the square cut onion pieces and skewer them onto the wooden toothpicks.
Remove the Paneer from the griddle and pin it on to the toothpick next, finishing with another piece of onion. If you like the onion raw you can go ahead and eat it just like it is now.
But I prefer the cooked onion to the raw oniony smell. I heated the griddle again and added tsp oil. Now add the skewered toothpicks with the onion and the Paneer and turn them a couple of times. Do not overcook as the onions should be crunchy.
Sprinkle a little pav bhaji masala and inhale the spicy aroma that will tickle your nose first and then your palate.
I usually do not have a heavy dinner and I thought that I would have just the Paneer tikka for dinner. But I found some leftover Mutter Pulao from lunch and piled it on my plate. I know it’s a quirky combo of mutter pulao and Paneer tikka but then when was I normal??
I took my plate of Paneer Tikka or Roasted Cottage Cheese with mutter pulao in front of the TV and plonked myself on my favorite chair. I alternated between the tikka and mouthfuls of flavored rice; sheer gastronomic bliss.