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Paneer Tikka Masala – Indian Curries – Vegetarian Recipes UK


If you love Paneer Tikka Masala, please raise your hands. I normally eat paneer tikka masala at restaurants because it seems like it is a really difficult dish to prepare. But what is Paneer Tikka Masala? It looks like a bunch of paneer cubes in gravy. Surely, it can’t be that hard to make? I do make a lot of Indian curries at home and wondered why I had never tried making this. After trying out several recipes of Paneer Tikka Masala on youtube, I came across one that I liked. You can check out the video here though it is in Hindi:


I’ve made this recipe twice already and have changed it slightly for four reasons:


  1. The chef uses Kashmiri Red Chilli to give the paneer tikka masala its red colour – however – I just have the normal red chilli. You do find Kashmiri red chilli in some Indian supermarkets here in the UK but it just doesn’t give the food that red colour that it is supposed to. Yes, it’s possible that the supermarkets are selling a mix of various chillies rather than selling pure Kashmiri red chilli. So, to achieve the red colour, I used beetroot.
  2. The chef also uses charcoal to give the paneer tikka masala that smoky flavour. I did not have charcoal so I skipped this step. Regardless, the paneer tikka masala still turned out great. It probably would have tasted better with the smoky flavour, but just because you don’t have charcoal at your disposal, doesn’t mean that you still can’t enjoy a great paneer tikka dish.
  3. The chef creates a gravy out of the cooked onions and tomatoes, however, I preferred to use them chopped. I made this recipe twice, once without blending the tomato onion mix and the second time by blending the tomato onion mix. I preferred the taste when I didn’t blend the tomato onion mix to create a gravy. The photo I’ve used for this paneer tikka masala shows it as a gravy, but trust me it tastes better with chopped tomato onions and so I’ve skipped adding the cornflour in the recipe below.
  4. I skipped the sugar and cream at the end.


It took me 2 hours to make this dish. So yes, it may make sense to just eat this at a restaurant if you do not have the time to cook. However, there is just something satisfying about eating home cooked food and knowing that you are using fresh ingredients to cook your food.

This paneer tikka masala recipe does use a lot of ingredients and it’s best to keep all the ingredients ready beforehand.


This paneer tikka masala has five steps as below:


  1. Marinating the paneer
  2. Cooking the tomato onion base mix
  3. Roasting the marinated paneer
  4. Re-frying the tomato onion base mix and adding more spices
  5. Mixing it all up





For the marinate:


2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use sunflower oil if you don’t have mustard oil)

2 tbsp chickpea flour

1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli (or use 1/2 tsp normal red chilli as Kashmiri red chilli is not hot. We will achieve the red colour with beetroot which is used later on)

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp chaat masala

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dry fenugreek leaves

Salt to taste

3 medium cloves garlic grated

1/2 inch ginger grated (or you can use dry ginger powder 1/2 tsp)

4 tbsp Greek yoghurt

2-3 tbsp lime/lemon juice

1/2 green bell pepper chopped in 1 inch chunks

1/2 yellow or red bell pepper chopped in 1 inch chunks

1 medium onion cut in chunks and shelled ( I simply cut the onion vertically down both sides and separated the layers one by one)

200g paneer cut into cubes

Water as required if the marinate becomes thick


For the Gravy/Base


4 tbsp oil (mustard or sunflower oil)

2 finely chopped onions

3 chopped vine tomatoes

Salt to taste

2 medium cloves garlic grated

1/2 inch ginger grated

1/3 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp dry coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 grated beetroot

3 – 4 small bird’s eye green chillies split in half

3 tbsp coriander chopped finely

Left over marinate from the paneer marinate

1 tsp sugar


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  1. Prepare the marinate


  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil and heat on a high flame until it starts smoking. Switch off the flame and let it cool for about 10s.
  • Add 2 tbsp of chickpea flour to the oil and stir continuously until the chickpea flour is mixed into the oil and has a nice golden yellow colour.
  • Add red chilli powder and stir continuously until it is mixed well in the marinate.
  • Add the cumin powder, garam masala, chaat masala,  black pepper, dry fenugreek leaves, salt, ginger, garlic, yoghurt, lime juice and mix.
  • Add the peppers and onions into the marinate and mix.
  • Finally, add the paneer and gently mix the cubes into the marinate so that they don’t break.
  • Let the marinate rest for 15 minutes.


2. Prepare the onion/tomato base


  • Add 2 tbsp oil into a pan.
  • Add the chopped onions, salt and sauté on a low-medium flame until the onions have browned evenly.
  • Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and grated beetroot. Mix everything and cover the pan. Let the tomatoes cook until they are very mushy.
  • Put aside once ready.


3. Roast the Paneer marinate


  • On a large flat pan on medium heat, spread 1 tsp of butter across the pan.
  • Carefully spread the paneer, bell pepper and onion marinate across the pan. We want to roast the paneer and veg so that they achieve a grilled barbeque style flavour. (If some chickpea yoghurt marinate is left over, we will add this later to the tomato onion base so keep it aside).
  • This stage takes patience and time. After 8-10 minutes, check the paneer and veg and if it has browned/blackened at the bottom, turn them onto another side to roast. Keep doing this until most of the paneer and peppers/onions have a nice brown/black roasted or grilled look to them.


4. Re-fry the onion/tomato base


  • In another pan on a medium flame, add 2 tbsp of oil.
  • Add cardamom powder once the oil is hot. I also added 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder.
  • Add the tomato onion mix and cook on a high flame for a few minutes.
  • Add black pepper, turmeric powder & coriander powder and cook until the oil begins to separate from the mix.
  • Add the chopped coriander leaves, green chillies and marinate and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Once the oil starts separating, add the roasted paneer, bell pepper and onion into the mix and stir gently.
  • You can add sugar if you wish, but I skipped this as the beetroot added a bit of sweetness.


And your paneer tikka masala is ready! You can garnish with coriander leaves and lemon and serve with parathas or naan.

Honestly, I was exhausted from cooking this paneer tikka masala but it tasted absolutely delicious and was worth the time and effort.

Let me know if you make it and whether you like it 🙂



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