Paneer Tikka Masala (Marinated Indian Cheese)

Paneer Tikka Masala is simple yet rich and elegant north Indian dish and I am sure it is the favorite restaurant menu item for most of us. We always feel that making any dish with paneer is a complex process which is not true. If you have ingredients handy then any dish can be made at home.  I will post the recipe in 3 different step (Marinating the paneer, preparing the gravy paste and final step to prepare the curry). Below is the picture of the final product (Yum Yummy)

Ingredients (Marinating)
1. 1 packet of paneer (1/2 lb)
2. 2 teaspoon yogurt
3. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4. 1/2 teaspoon jeera powder
5. 1 teaspoon besan  (chickpea flour)
6. 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
7. 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
6. Pinch of salt

How I Prepare
1. Cut paneer into 1/2 or 1 inch blocks, whatever size you prefer. Mix all above ingredients for marinating in a bowl. Add cut paneer and mix it such that paneer is nicely coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow this mix to marinate  for 45 minutes-1 hour. It's ok to keep the mix in refrigerator.

Ingredients (Gravy)
1. 3 ripe tomatoes chopped into big pieces
2. 2 cloves of garlic
3. 1/2 teaspoon of jeera seeds (cumin seeds)
4. 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf) 
4. 10-12 cashew nuts
5. 1-2 green chillies
6. 3-4  whole red chillies
7. 2 cups  of water.

How I Prepare
1. Add above ingredients in a cook pot and boil until the tomatoes are tender. Allow it to cool and then grind it into a smooth paste.

Ingredients (final step)
1. 2-3 teaspoon of oil
2. Salt to taste
3. 1 teaspoon butter (at room temperature)
4. 1 whole clove
5. 1-2 bay leaves
6. 1 whole green cardamom
7. 1 teaspoon of kasuri methi
8. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala.
9. 1/2 teaspoon sugar

How I Prepare
1. Take a pan, heat up half of the oil and once hot drop the marinated paneer pieces slowly and fry it until golden brown on medium heat. Take out the paneer.

2. In the same pan add some more oil. Once hot add cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and saute it for 1 minute. To this add the pureed mixture and lower the flame. The tomato mix will start  to splutter so cover  it with a lid and allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add salt to taste, sugar, garam masala and crush methi with your hands and add it to mix. Mix it nicely and cook it for 2 more minutes. You should start getting the kasuri methi smell.
4. Add fried paneer gently to the above mix and stir it slowly making sure you don't break the paneer. Add butter.
5. Cover the pan with lid and cook it on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
6. Serve hot with rice, jeera rice, ghee rice or roti.

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