Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grilled Paneer with Tandoori Masala (Serves 10 - 14)

One of the appetizers from my blog anniversary party, delicious grilled paneer with tandoori masala and veggies. You really can't go wrong with this one, if you follow the recipe accordingly. They got eaten up in no time. Thankfully they were only appetizers.

Paneer (fresh cheese) and tofu for that matter are similar in their ability to adapt to any flavors you add to them. Very common in the northern part of India, it has found its way to all restaurants that prepare Indian food. You can experiment a lot with paneer and be rest assured you won't mess up. But let me warn you, you really can mess up the base gravy to which you add the paneer if you get too boisterous :-)

Usually made by curdling hot milk with lemon juice and draining the water completely away, one does not need to conduct this experiment anymore as nowadays you get good paneer from any Indian store.

2 450g blocks of Nanak Paneer (as always choose the best available in the store)
1 cup strained yogurt (e.g. Greek yogurt)
4 tsp Shan Tandoori Masala powder, and more to sprinkle later
1 tbsp oil, and a little more in a cup for brushing the vegetables prior to cooking
1 inch piece fresh ginger root grated
1 clove garlic grated
salt to taste
2 onions
2 green peppers
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Few yellow lemons cut in quarters

Cut the paneer into 1 inch square chunks or any size suitable for your skewers as long as they don't break up while grilling. Poke some tiny holes in the paneer pieces with a food pick.

In a large bowl add the yogurt, Shan tandoori masala powder (I am big fan of Shan lately), oil, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Mix everything well to prepare the marinade.

One thing to note here is that the Shan tandoori masala powder has salt in it. When you add additional salt to it, you would think by tasting the marinade that there is enough salt. I would suggest you add a little bit more salt at this point, as the paneer has no salt and once its cooked the level of saltiness is less.

Add the paneer cubes to the marinade, mix well, and store in the fridge for a few hours.

In the meanwhile cut the onion and green peppers into chunks that are similar in size to the paneer. On flat skewers (using round skewers, the paneer and vegetables keep turning and grilling is a pain), arrange the paneer and the onions and peppers alternatively (2 of each or any order you like).

Brush the vegetables with oil and sprinkle tandoori masala powder liberally on the vegetables as well as on the paneer. Place on the grill, and close the lid on the grill. Grill on medium heat (400 - 425) until the paneer is nicely roasted and the vegetables are done and crunchy. If you have no grill, use the conventional oven and bake the same at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until well roasted.

Take off from the skewers onto a serving platter, squeeze a good amount of lemon juice on the paneer and vegetables, and serve hot. Oh yea, total bliss!

Health Rating: Medium