1/3cup + 1 tbspyogurtuse thick plain whole milk yogurt which has been strained or Greek yogurt
1 & 1/2teaspoonginger-garlic paste
1/2teaspoonKashmiri red chili powderfor color
1/4teaspoonred chili powderor to taste
225gramspaneercut into cubes
1mediumred onionquartered and separated into petals
1mediumgreen peppercut into 1-inch cubes
1tablespoonoilI used avocado oil, use oil of choice
2tablespoonsbutterdivided, unsalted or salted either works
1largewhite onionroughly chopped, around 150 grams
3largetomatoesroughly chopped, around 400 grams
1 & 1/2teaspooncurry powder
3/4teaspoonKashmiri red chili powderdivided (for color, not hot)
3/4teaspoonsaltor to taste
1tablespoonsugarI used granulated white sugar
1cupwateror more as needed
2-3tablespoonsheavy cream30-45 ml
We will start by making the paneer tikka. To a large bowl, add thick yogurt, make sure the yogurt is thick (if using regular homemade yogurt, drain the yogurt for 3 to 4 hours before using in the recipe or use Greek yogurt).
To that add ginger-garlic paste, coriander powder, garam masala, Kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and juice of 1/2 lime.Using a spatula or whisk, mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Now add cubed paneer, onion (quartered and separated into petals) and green pepperMix until the paneer, onion and peppers are well coated with the marinade. You can use your hands here. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes at the least.
Meanwhile, let's work the curry part of this recipe. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds and cinnamon stick.
Let the seeds sizzle and then add white onion (roughly chopped), chopped garlic cloves and chopped ginger. Stir and cook for around 5 to 6 minutes until onions turn light golden brown in color, stir often in between.
Then add the roughly chopped tomatoes along with curry powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and sugar. Stir and cook the tomatoes for 7 to 8 minutes until soft and completely cooked. This step is important so do not rush this step.
Once the tomatoes are completely cooked, remove the pan from heat. Let it cool down a bit and then remove the cinnamon stick and transfer everything to a blender and blend to a fine paste. Set this aside.
Back to the tikka now, take the marinated paneer out of the refrigerator. Now, you can cook this in a pan or grill or in your oven. I have used a grill pan that I had. Spray the pan with oil and then add the marinated paneer, onions and bell peppers on the pan.Cook until the paneer turns light golden brown in color and onions and peppers are slightly cooked, turning them few times in between for even cooking. Now it's time to bring the curry together.Oven instruction: arrange tikka on skewers and bake at 450 F degrees for 10 minutes and then broil for 2 to 3 minutes to get it browned (optional).
Now put the pan back on medium heat and add the pureed paste to it that we had prepared earlier. You can also add remaining 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder at this point if you prefer a brighter color of the curry.
Add 1 cup water (or more depending on how much gravy you want), and stir well. Then add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cream and chopped cilantro. Mix and let it cook for 2 minutes.
Add the roasted paneer, onions and peppers into the curry. Mix well and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with more cilantro and serve paneer tikka masala with naan or paratha.
I don't add cashews or any nuts to this recipe but you can definitely add some cashews along with the onions and tomatoes to make it more creamy.
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) can definitely be added towards the end for that nice aroma.
If using store bought paneer, remember to soak it in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes before using in the recipe.
You can also strain the onion-tomato mixture after blending it, that will make the curry totally smooth. I didn't do it to save time.
Older recipe: I have updated the recipe to make it better. The older recipe didn't have onions and pepper added to the marinade and had a tablespoon of less butter in the curry. You can definitely use the old recipe, it's almost same except these minor changes.