It’s the weekend finally! This time the week seemed to drag on endlessly, maybe the increasing heat had something to do with it. We have now increased our intake of buttermilk, lime juice and other fruits at home, apart from water, to ensure we all remain hydrated with the right healthy stuff and keep the fizzy drinks & readymade juices away. Usually prepare a large jug every morning, to make it easier through the day. More so after a workout or a game when we all tend to rush in for the quicker sugar fixes which are indeed more tempting, defeating the very point of exercise!
These days call for lighter food, less oil, less creamy rich food & much less standing in the kitchen at a time for sure. But it is also Friday and a time when you crave for something different from the ordinary. So this is what I call a truce, between the family & me, where I don’t need to labour too long & yet enjoy a tasty weekend dinner.
Delicious bite-sized melt-in-the-mouth paneer tikkas, marinated in a mild coating of assorted Indian spices & yoghurt, then char grilled in your home oven to a beautiful light char on top. Luscious, creamy yet light and soft!
Serve with a chilled spicy-tangy mint-coriander chutney or have it just plain sprinkled with chaat masala & some fresh lemon wedges for a zing! Not too hot, not too cold & just want you need for your next Netflix binge with some pita bread or rotis. Have you watched Bridgerton & Lupin already? Can’t wait for season 2 to come.
Recipe for Paneer Ajwain Tikka
- 150 grams or ½ cup thick curd / dahi
- 1.5 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil, or oil of your choice
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder / dhania powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder / haldi
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder / jeera powder
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds / ajwain seeds, lightly crushed
- 1 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed
- ½ teaspoon salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp gram flour / besan
- 500 grams paneer, cut into big cubes
- 1 large onion cut into 1inch cubes
- 1 large green capsicum, cut into 1inch cubes (you can use a mix of colours too)
- Coriander-mint chutney
- onion slices
- lemon wedges
- Whisk the curd and gram flour together in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add all the ingredients for the marinade – ginger garlic paste, mustard oil, coriander powder, chaat masala, kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala, ajwain seeds, red chili powder, kasuri methi, lemon juice and salt.
- Whisk again to combine well together.
- Stir in the paneer cubes, onion and capsicum & mix until all pieces and veggies are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 1-2 hrs.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius for about 10 minutes.
- Now take a skewer and arrange the paneer, onion and capsicum pieces, alternating with one other as show in the video. Repeat the same with the other skewers. Bamboo skewers are easily available online.
- Arrange all the prepared skewers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with more oil to coat each tikka well & generously to prevent them from drying out or hardening.
- Bake at 220 degrees Celsius for 7-8 minutes on one side & then turn. Turn on the top heat option, if available, for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the paneer pieces to look a little charred.
- Remove from oven & sprinkle chaat masala.
- Serve hot with onion slices, lemon wedges, mint chutney & lemon juice.
Making of Paneer Ajwain Tikka