Paneer tikka masala is a dish full of flavor. Best paired with a butter naan or a tandoori roti or basmati rice. You can serve the paneer tikka as a starter. Later serve some of the grilled tikkas in the creamy tomato sauce for main course. Both are wonderful dishes with a fan-following of their own. There is something so magical about this dish that everyone says yes immediately after looking at it, in the restaurant menu. Trust me, you are impressing most of the guests by making tikkas in the starter.
Indian cottage cheese can be used to make various dishes too. Make an appetizer like paneer pakoras for the starter with cubes of paneer. Use fresh paneer and make a paratha for breakfast or restaurant style curry like bhurji. You can make use it to make matar paneer or palak paneer for mains.Use it to make baked cheese cake or chenna poda, rasmalai, rasgulla. It is the stalwart of Indian food. Gives a good run for money to any meaty option too.
These days you can get the paneer block even in Costco or supermarkets abroad. You must always check that it does not contain animal rennet. It should be made by adding citrus juice or apple cider vinegar to warm milk. This makes paneer cheese different from cheese like mozzarella, Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano ,Gruyere ,Camberbert etc. where animal enzymes are added. I always check the cheese ingredients and try to avoid these types where animal rennet is added abroad as I am vegetarian.
Benefits of Cottage cheese
- It is a great way of having proteins.
- It is rich in vitamin D something vegetarians always have to worry about.
- Great for gut as it is a good probiotic.
- It promotes heart health and brain health too.
How to make cottage cheese at home?
Best part is you can make chenna or fresh cottage cheese easily at home. Follow the below steps to see how it is made at home
- Boil milk.
- Add some apple cider vinegar or teaspoon lemon juice to it. Let it coagulate. You can increase the juice/cider according to the quantity of milk to get fresh chenna.
- Strain it with a sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslin cloth. Easy peasy!
- Keep the chenna in the muslin or soft cotton cloth and keep under some heavy kitchen vessel to let it solidify. I use a spring form cake tin to keep the cottage cheese (in the cotton cloth) in the cake tin without the base first, then add the base,add a box on top of the base, then add some weight.I will take the picture of this arrangement next time and share it here.
Note: You can store the strained whey for 1-2 days and use it to make curries or knead dough for roti.
Refer to our details post on making paneer at home here
To cook paneer tikka masala dhaba style, you will need the dry Paneer tikka prepared. Read our recipe to make this .Apart from this you will need to make the paneer tikka masala paste or the paneer tikka masala gravy.
For tikka masala sauce
- thick yogurt/ hung curd/ Greek yogurt
- ghee or oil
Tikka masala spices
- garam masala
- ginger-chilli paste
- red chilli powder
- coriander powder
- cumin powder
- turmeric powder
- Salt as per taste
For garnish: chopped coriander leaves and kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- Oven/Air fryer (for tikka)
- Frying pan / dutch oven
- Blender(for fresh tomato puree)
How to make paneer tikka masala ?
- Heat oil over medium flame in a pan. Add ginger, chilly and finely chopped onion with salt. Cook until brown.
- Add the tomato purée to the onion and cook for few minutes
- Once the tomato has dried out a bit,add the spices and mix well.
- Add yogurt and cook for few minutes until the sauce comes together
- Keep stirring and add 2 cups of water.
- 5. Let it come to a boil and add the cottage cheese cubes to it.
- Garnish it with kasoori methi and chopped coriander leaves optionally.
- Serve with roti , naan bread or jeera rice.
For vegan tikka : Make a tofu tikka and use vegan yogurt or coconut milk along with oil in the curry.
Halloumi is also a close substitute of firm cottage cheese for vegetarian version, if latter is not available.
Non-vegetarian: If you like your chicken tikka, you can make a chicken tikka masala in the same fashion. Cooking time will change according to the core ingredient.
- Add red chili powder or more green chilies if you like a spicier recipe. You may also add ginger garlic paste or increase a teaspoon garam masala according to your taste.
- You may also increase bell pepper /capsicums in the recipe if serving to more people. Just add after onions.
- You may use paprika/ Kashmiri red chilly powder if you like a milder version.
- Another variation you can do with the recipe of paneer tikka masala is to use Tofu instead of paneer.
- You may add less water to the gravy if you want to make the paneer tikka masala dry recipe
You can make the curry and freeze a batch. Make fresh tikka and add to gravy whenever you wish to eat this recipe mid-week. You can also store marinated paneer for 2-3 days or freeze it for later.
Yes as it is a good source of vitamin D and proteins.
It is an excellent source of calcium so helps avoid osteoporosis. Promotes hair growth and is good for gut health as it is a probiotic.
Keep the paneer cubes immersed in water in an air-tight container. This will keep it moist and soft.
Try more simple cottage cheese recipes:
Read the tandoori paneer masala recipe below
homemade paneer tikka masala | restaurant style paneer tikka masala recipe
- pan / dutch oven
- Blender for tomato puree
- 400 gms Paneer tikka (refer to recipe in instructions)
- 2 tablespoon yogurt
- 2 tablespoon oil or ghee
- 2 onion medium, finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes medium, pureed
Paneer tikka gravy recipe
- Heat oil in a pan, Add ginger, chillies and finely chopped onion with salt. Cook until golden brown.
- Now add tomatoes puree and let it cook until its little dry.
- Add spices and cook until oil oozes out.
- Add yogurt,cook for few minutes and add 2 cups of water.
- Cook until it starts boiling.
- Add paneer tikka cubes with capsicum and stir well.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Adjust the amount of water as per the taste. Also the gravy will thicken a bit when left to stand for 15 minutes.
- Serve hot with tandoori naan, roti or pilau rice.