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An easy to make and very popular recipe. Paneer Tikka Masala with melt in the mouth Paneer smothered in an incredible aromatic spiced masala sauce. This dish is made to be mopped up with Naan. Especially Naan smothered in garlic butter.

Paneer Tikka Masala is a family favourite along with Chana Dal with ChickenMung DaalChicken Akni, One Pot Chicken and Rice and Masala Fish.

Paneer Tikka Masala in 3 bowls with Naan

Paneer Tikka Masala

I guess at this point it would be strange not to mention the countries love of Chicken Tikka Masala. Apparently the recipe itself hails from the UK and was the result of a mistake. A British aristocrat was served chicken tikka and sent it back to the kitchen, where a sauce was added. This was very well received indeed and the famous Chicken Tikka Masala was born.

Generally Chicken Tikka Masala is made with yoghurt marinaded chicken which is chargrilled in a Tandoor which lends it that gorgeous smoky flavour. Like most people, I don’t have one of those.

So testing a vegetarian version of everyones favourite curry was a no brainer.

How to make Paneer Tikka Masala

We start off with a Paneer Tikka spiced yoghurt marinade. I like to marinade for at least 30 minutes.This is then pan fried or grilled.

The masala is a straight forward one that is cooked and then pureed.

The Paneer is tossed back into the masala and you are rewarded with a plate/bowl of delicious aromatic, colourful Paneer Tikka Masala.  

Paneer Tikka Masala is deceptively easy to make

I know that people get really put off by long ingredient lists and I get it because everyone is busy but the good news here is, you probably have most of the ingredients for this in your store cupboard/pantry. Also it is really really easy to make.

Recipe Research

So firstly I asked my mum because she really knows her food. Further research for this recipe saw me digging out my recipe books. I used the famous On the Butter Chicken Trail by Moti Mahal, as well as looking at recipes from Maunika Gowardhan, looking into my Indian Delights book and reading a little bit of Madhur Jaffreys take on the recipe too.

Is this the same as Paneer Butter Masala Dhaba Style? Or Paneer Tikka Masala Dhaba style?

In case you are wondering about the difference between this and Paneer Butter Masala, the main difference is the char grilled element here. The Masala is also more pronounced in this recipe. There is more flavour. I feel like store brought curry sauces don’t do curries justice. The flavours are always muted and quite sour too sometimes and I really dislike a sour tomato based curry. Yes it can easily be fixed with a squeeze of honey or a pinch of sugar, but I prefer to make my own sauces.

How to make Paneer Tikka Masala 

Cut the paneer into small cubes. I usually aim for 3/4 inch cubes.

Paneer Tikka Masala in 3 bowls with Naan

Ingredients for Recipe Marinated Paneer cubes in a dish

Add the marinade ingredients of yoghurt, ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and salt. You can also add smoked paprika. (I know it sounds odd but this recipe would normally have paprika in it anyway but to try to replicate the smokiness of the tandoor, I use smoked paprika). Mix throughly with your hands and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Meanwhile make a start on the masala by cooking out the onions, then adding ginger, garlic and green chilli. 

Oil in black pot Cumin and Cinnamon in Oil
Onions and Cumin in potDiced onions cooking in potOnions cooking in pot

Now add the Tomato, Tomato Puree, Dry Spice Powders, Salt and Sugar. Allow to cook for 10 minutes before adding Garam Masala and Curry Powder if using. Simmer a little more before blending. 

Tomatoes added to pot Dry spices added to tomato

Pan fry or grill the Paneer. Pour masala into a pan and add the cream. 

Paneer added to curry in pot

Add the Paneer back into the sauce.

Cover and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to incorporate the flavours fully and garnish with fresh coriander.

**I hope you love this recipe, if you make it please let me know!**

Other Vegetarian recipes you might like:

Indian Vegetarian Quinoa PilauCumin Cauliflower Rice and Creamy AubergineIndian Spiced Yoghurt Whole Roast Cauliflower.

Paneer Tikka Masala

An easy to make Paneer Tikka Masala with melt in the mouth Paneer smothered in an incredible aromatic spiced masala sauce. This dish is made to be mopped up with Naan. Especially Naan smothered in garlic butter.

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine british, Indian
Keyword Indian, Indian Curry, PAneer, Vegetarian Indian, Vegetarian Recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 243 kcal
Author Safira

Ingredients

  • 225 g Paneer

Marinade

  • 3 tbsp Yoghurt
  • ½ inch Ginger crushed
  • 2 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Chilli Powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • ¼ tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Smoked Paprika Or just Paprika
  • Salt

Masala Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 small Onions Diced
  • 1 ich Ginger Crushed
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Green Chillies pierced
  • 250 ml Tomato Passata
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1.5 tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 1.5 tbsp Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Cream

Garnish

  • 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander chopped

Instructions

  1. Cut the paneer into small cubes. I usually aim for 3/4 inch cubes.

  2. Add the marinade ingredients of yoghurt, ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and salt. Mix throughly with your hands and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

  3. Meanwhile make a start on the masala. Heat oil and ghee in a pot over high heat. Once hot add the cinnamon sticks and cumin seeds.

  4. Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic, ginger and green chilli. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color. About 10 minutes.

  5. Now add the Tomato, Tomato Puree, Dry Spice Powders and Salt. Allow to cook for 10 - 15 minutes before adding Garam Masala and Curry Powder if using. Simmer a little more before blending. 

  6. Meanwhile, pan fry or grill the Paneer for 2 - 3 minutes.

  7. Pour masala back into the pot (over medium/low heat) and add the Honey and Cream.

  8. Add the Paneer back into the sauce.

  9. Cover and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on low to incorporate the flavours fully and garnish with fresh coriander.

Recipe Notes

  • The Smoked Paprika is optional. I add it to try and imitate the smoky flavour usually associated with this recipe.
  • Gram Flour - If you choose to grill the paneer, adding gram flour with the marinade, helps. Although it isn't necessary. 
  •  
Nutrition Facts
Paneer Tikka Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 243
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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