Tandoori Paneer Tikka

The inspiration for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” came from my next door neighbour. We’ve had some pretty glorious weather in the UK this week so I decided it would be a good idea to finally cut the grass. It was long overdue (I am not a big fan of gardening). When I got out in my garden I was greeted by my favourite smell of Summer….the BBQ next door.

I decided I needed to eat something grilled and whilst cutting the grass I mentally raided the fridge to figure out what I could have. My search engine of a brain decided on Paneer Tikka Kebabs. I do impress myself with my own suggestions at times.

Soft & juicy paneer, spicy peppers and onions with a crispy charred skin. Paneer Tikka is delicious. The best thing about this recipe is once you have the marinade down you can sub out the paneer to make anything you like. Prawns, chicken and veggies like mushrooms & courgettes all work really well.

I’m assuming you don’t have a tandoor at home (if you do – I’m totes jealous). If you don’t…you can easily emulate the taste of the Tandoor by cooking them on the BBQ, in a hot oven or even, as I did, on my griddle pan on the hob. If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s live class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Tandoori Paneer Tikka

Servings 4 skewers

Ingredients
  

Paneer marination:

  • 225 g paneer cut into 3 cms chunky pieces (you should be able to get about 16 pieces this size out of 1 x 225g pack. I cut 8 pieces super thick pieces which I cut into 16 thinner pieces)
  • 2 bell peppers green or red, cut into 3ms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
  • 1 large onion white or red, cut into 3 cms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 5 cloves of garlic grated
  • 4 cms ginger grated
  • 1 or 2 green chillies finely chopped, or use chilli powder
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree optional
  • 2 tsp gram flour or you can use plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder optional
  • 1 x black cardamom ground into a powder, optional
  • 3 good pinches sun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powder optional
  • 2 tbsp oil any variety

Pickled Lime Onion Salad to accompany! For that you will need:

  • 1 red onion very thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3-4 stems fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds, optional

You will also need:

  • 1 x griddle pan or a non stick chapati/crepe pan. You can also cook these in your grill or on your bbq if you like!
  • Bamboo or Metal Skewers
  • Oil and butter/ghee for cooking

Instructions
 

How to:

  • To make the pickled red onion salad, add all of the salad ingredients to a small bowl and leave aside to pickle.
  • To prepare the Paneer Tikka, place all of the "paneer marination" ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hand, carefully mix everything together. Keep mixing until every single piece of paneer, pepper and onion is well coated in the marination. The longer you can leave this marination on, the better (overnight is ideal!).
  • If you are using a griddle pan or chapati pan – place it on the hob. Brush 3-4 tbsp oil brushed along its surface and allow to pre-heat on a low temperature. If you are cooking in the oven, pre heat at 220c and line a baking tray with foil, greased with a little oil.
  • Skewer on the paneer, pepper and onion pieces. You can use any combination you like – I aimed for 4 pieces of each ingredient per skewer!
  • Once each of your skewers are ready, increase the heat of your pan to medium/high. Once hot, place the skewers on the pan along with 1-2 tsp of ghee/butter. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side and then turn. I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee when they are half way cooked but this is optional. The paneer tikka skewers should be completely cooked and have a nice char all over.
  • If you are cooking them in the oven, cook the skewers at 220c for approx 10-12 minutes, flipping them over half way through – I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee at this point but this is optional! If you would like them to get nice and crispy and charred, switch to the grill setting at the end and grill a further 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and serve with the pickled lime onion salad or wrap in your favourite Indian flatbread with some yoghurt drizzled over. Enjoy!

Notes

If you are cooking the skewers in an oven and are using wooden skewers, pre soak them in water ahead of time.

Punjabi Murgh Masala

I can’t count the number of times I have cooked this dish; yet every time I sit down to eat it, I still get a tiny bit excited. It’s because it never disappoints. It is for that reason that I decided to teach my Punjabi Murgh Masala at my third LIVE COOKERY CLASS this afternoon. I have also decided that it deserves to be flagged under my “Spice Club Staples” recipe collection because once you have nailed how to make the masala part of this recipe, you can actually use it as a base for countless recipes, so tis a great go-to in our current climate.

The masala is also fantastic to cook in bulk, store in a jar, top with a little bit of oil & keep in the fridge. When you come home and fancy a delicious chicken/paneer/mixed veg/fish prawn masala…you know it will be ready in just a matter of minutes.

Sure you can reach for an expensive jar of a pre-made “curry” paste. But why would you when you know the fresh masala you have made from scratch in your own kitchen is (so much) tastier, has no additives/colourings, is more nutritious and not to mention cheaper. Okay my sales pitch is officially over. Now you have to try it for yourselves and let me know your thoughts!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Punjabi Murgh Masala (Chicken Curry)

Ingredients
  

For the chicken marinade:

  • 500 g skinned boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt Plain/Greek works (a full fat type is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala

For the masala:

  • 5-7 tbsp oil or ghee, or a combination of both
  • 3 bay leaves optional
  • 3 cloves optional
  • 3 green cardamom pods optional
  • 1 black cardamom optional
  • 2 medium onions (approx 175g) very finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 " ginger grated
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata/blitzed plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree, optional
  • 1-2 chillies finely chopped, (or you can use 1/4 -1/2 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powder, optional
  • Handful fresh coriander with stems finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 1 x Foil lined oven tray
  • Jug of water (room temp is fine)
  • Pestle & Mortar if you have one. Don't worry if not!

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat your grill at the maximum temperature setting. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray and spread out. Grill for approximately 10 minutes or until fully cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through and have a slight golden char all over). Remove from grill and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan. Using a pestle & mortar, coarsely crush the cloves and cardamoms until coarsely ground. Then add to the oil along with the bay leaves. Immediately after, add the chopped onions along with 1 tsp salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until soft and translucent.
  • Now add the grated garlic and ginger and mix. Continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes until completely golden brown.
  • At this point, add the tomato passata as well as the puree and green chilli to the pan and stir for a a minute.
  • Now, reduce the heat. Then add the garam masala, coriander powder and paprika and mix well. Cook for a minute. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste at the edges, add the grilled chicken. Add approximately ¼ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, place a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  • Finish with the ground, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • If you like your curry to be even more saucier, you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust the seasoning slightly if you do this)
  • Taste for salt and chilli and adjust accordingly.

Afghani Chicken Drumsticks

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The temperature went into double digits today. Double digits people. That means no more scarves, no more knee high boots and dare I say it no more de-icer? It also means that the sun has got his/ her hat on and Summer is quickly approaching! Yes I am doing a happy dance as I type this (mad skills I know). As the weather gets slightly warmer, I enjoy taking advantage of the grill and my husband with his epic salad making abilities.  

I love recipes that involve marinating and grilling – they’re so easy to make, require minimal washing up and can be prepared in advance. What’s not to like? This Afghani chicken marination is a particular favourite of mine. The addition of ground cashews and almonds makes for a lovely, creamy base. Combined with the tartness of the lime and the heat from the chillies…can I get a MMM MMM MMMM?! 

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Hope you enjoy! As always, let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Afghani Chicken Drumsticks
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 8 chicken drumsticks, skinless with slits cut into them
  2. 4 tbsp yoghurt
  3. 2 tsbp extra thick double cream (optional)
  4. 3" ginger, peeled
  5. 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  6. 2 green finger or birds eye chillies (optional)
  7. juice of 2 limes
  8. 5 almonds
  9. 10 cashews
  10. 2 1/4 tsp salt, or according to taste
  11. 1/2 tsp paprika
  12. 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  13. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  14. 1 tsp garam masala
  15. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  16. 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom (optional)
  17. handful fresh coriander including stems, roughly chopped
  18. 2 tbsp oil or ghee
Instructions
  1. Line a baking tray with foil and turn your grill on the highest temperature setting
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients apart from the yoghurt and cream into a processor and blitz into a paste. Empty into a bowl. Now mix in the yoghurt and cream.
  4. Pour this marinade over the chicken and mix well. If you have time, cover and refrigerate over night. If not, place in oven straight away.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes. Then turn the chicken over and cook for an additonal 10 minutes or until the chicken is white all the way through and has begun to char slightly.
  6. Turn off grill and serve with salad and tandoori naan!
Notes
  1. You can soak the almonds and cashews in a little water beforehand so it is creamier when blended in the processor.
  2. Feel free to use any cut of chicken - chicken thighs are also great for grilling!
  3. You can marinate the chicken for up to 48 hours - the longer you leave it the better.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/