Along the Grapevine

Paneer Tikka Masala


This classic vegetarian North Indian dish made easy can be served as an appetizer or main dish. With a complex blend of spices, mixed vegetables and creamy paneer, it is an ideal dish for experts or novices alike, either to prepare to be served.
DSC02966I undertook the making of this delicious North Indian vegetarian dish in response to a recipe challenge presented by a fellow blogger at Lin’s Recipes. I seldom feature Indian dishes on my blog even though I often do make them, so I was pleased to have an incentive to develop a recipe for my blog with these wonderful flavours. Thanks to Lin and also to Parul  at Gharkepakwan who has graciously offered to act as judge.

I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday #112 which I am co-hosting with Natalie at Kitchen Uncorked. Feel free to drop by and and see the wonderful recipes, tips and stories contributed by a host of talented bloggers.

The title of this recipe says it all. Paneer is simply a fresh cheese, made from strained and pressed yogurt. Tikka refers to the pieces of meat or, as in this case cheese in the recipe. Masala means mixture and in this case refers to the mixture of spices used.

I based my recipe on this one, but made a few changes according to what I had on hand. For example, as I am not able to buy ready made paneer in my neighbourhood, contrary to all recommendations on any recipe for this you will find, I had to make my own. Home-made paneer tends to be too soft, and therefore is difficult to mix into the sauce and keep its integrity. However, I found that straining the yogurt, pressing it with a weight to squeeze out as much liquid as possible over a mesh strainer, and then setting it in a very low oven (170 degrees F) for about an hour was all it needed to make it firm enough to cook with. In fact, it was the best paneer I had ever had, but if you can buy it, you can skip this step altogether. I also added sumac powder, not a commonly used spice in Indian cooking but one I use regularly to add a lemony flavour and red colour. To stay with the local theme of my blog I served it with rice made with maple sap, the delicate sweetness of which complements the spiciness of the masala beautifully.


Home-made paneer

Paneer Tikka Masala

Ingredients for the Marinade

250 grams paneer, cut into cubes

2 medium sweet peppers (I used red)

1 small zucchini

5 Tbsp yogurt

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground fresh ginger

1 tsp finely grated fresh garlic

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander seeds

1/4 tsp freshly ground  nutmeg

1/2 tsp cornflour

oil for grilling

Ingredients for the gravy

oil for frying

1 large onion

2 Tbsp thick tomato paste (preferably  home-made)

1 Tbsp grated ginger

1 Tbsp ground garlic

1 Tbsp garam masala

1 tsp chili powder

1 Tbsp sumac powder

1 tsp ground coriander

pinch of methi (dried fenugreek)

1/2 cup water or stock


Mix the yogurt, spices and flour in a bowl. Cut the peppers into roughly 1 inch squares, cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds and place in a casserole with the paneer. Pour over this the marinade, stir to coat and allow to sit for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the gravy, chop the onion very finely. A food processor is useful for this process. Fry it gently in about 2 Tbsp of oil until it softens. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and spices and continue to cook, stirring frequently until the mixture is quite dry and is like a thick paste which will come away from the sides of the pan. Add the water and cook a further 2 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick. Set aside until the vegetables and paneer are ready to be added.

Place the marinated vegetables and panner on a grilling sheet and drizzle with a little oil. Place under a broiler and when they start to sizzle, turn them over and broil until they look cooked and slightly browned. The time this takes will depend on your broiler and proximity to the heat. I found it took about 5 minutes per side, but keep a close watch on it.

Mix all this with the gravy, reheat and serve it as an appetizer or a main dish with rice or flatbreads.


Gravy mixture before adding water


Grilled vegetables and paneer


Paneer Tikka Masala with maple sap rice







Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

41 thoughts on “Paneer Tikka Masala

  1. Looks delicious. In the past I made paneer by separating the curds and whey. I agree, homemade is better that store purchased; just more time consuming.


    • Thanks Frances for visiting my blog and commenting. I found that drying the paneer in a warmish oven really made a difference in being able to cook with it without it all disintegrating, and it really was delicious. Even young H who is a paneer connoisseur was impressed. Happy Easter to you and your family.


  2. Amazing! You have done an amazing job! I always make paneer at home…hate the store bought have got the perfect dark colour..lovely..thanks for participating

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Superb effort ☺️ looks very yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Btw I just realised you haven’t added the recipe to the list! Do it so that the others can also view it😊


  5. Got it Lina. Thanks.


  6. Paneer tikka masala is one of our fav! Your dish turned out awesome and the homemade paneer looks perfect!!


  7. Looks wonderful Hilda. And your home made paneer came out beautifully too. I am going to try your trick of baking it in the oven to set. very impressive dish!


  8. Looks tasty Hilda! Great job on Lin’s challenge!! 🙂


  9. Looks delicious. I love all the spices you have incorporated into this dish – yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Looks lovely, Hilda. I’m familiar with all the ingredients except for methi.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This looks truly awesome. I can get paneer around here, but this is good to know for when I move later this year to where I won’t find paneer readily..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My mistake. I should have explained and will correct it. It is fenugreek, dried. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Nothing like an attentive reader.


  13. tried this…so delicious

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic job ! Looks incredibly delicious 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely recipe Hilda, the tips on making homemade paneer are fab, just what I need. I love the idea of cooking rice with maple sap, what a treat. Thanks for co hosting the Fiesta party xx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That is one bowl of pure heaven Hilda! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is really beautiful! May have to put homemade paneer on my to-do list. So inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Looks awesome Hilda 🙂 I love Paneer Tikka anytime 🙂


  19. What a wonderful paneer dish you’ve created Hilda. Wow! I’m so impressed. Love the idea that you baked the paneer in the oven, and that gravy looks absolutely spot on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Awesome.. You made home made paneer and loved the fact broiled it. Its a perfect summer barbeque recipe. Zucchini, red bell peppers and paneer yum yum yum. Never tried sumac powder. Read about it and it seems interesting. Should give it a try.


    • Thanks for dropping by and for commenting. One thing I love about Indian cuisine is that it can be flexible, and I can use some of my local foragings without harming the essential ingredients. I use sumac in just about everything – dressings, with bread an butter, and of course sauces. I hope you have the opportunity to give it a try some time.


  21. Wow!! That looks delicious. So happy to see you trying out Indian!! I would love a plate of that right now.


  22. superb recipe…my hubby is a big time paneer fan….would love to make this for him…

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow amaxing Hilda. .. looks so delightful. ..


  24. Hilda, I love Indian food, and this is a very delectable dish. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Fantastic home-made dish! Yummm!


  26. I had paneer tikka for the first time at a restaurant in London and it was love at first bite.
    I have never cooked it and your version looks so good. I will give it a go myself, I do prefer paneer meat! 🙂


  27. Definitely it looks delicious and amazing. I bought an ready to cook homemade paneer from store since I could not make it by myself. The process to make paneer tikka is quite impressive and I literally enjoyed having it.

    Liked by 1 person

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