Here’s a quick and easy vegetarian BBQ recipe that will instantly allure your guests and will leave them smitten by its ambrosial flavors! This is Pahadi or Haryali Paneer Tikka, a perfect homemade appetizer that showcases the irresistible combination of succulent paneer cubes marinated in a tantalizing blend of yogurt and fragrant spices and grilled to perfection.
Appealing to vegetarians and non-vegetarians, this dish is a crowd-pleaser at gatherings and parties.
What is Pahadi Paneer Tikka
This recipe of Pahadi Paneer Tikka is the green version of the classic Paneer Tikka with a pahadi touch. As the name suggests, Pahadi comes from the word ‘pahad’, meaning hills.
Pahadi food (food from the hilly regions of India) is mainly cooked in the mountainous regions of Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and the surrounding Himalayan areas.
Pahadi food is the most uncomplicated cuisine in the country as it is very light with minimal use of oil. It contains almost no oil (except the spray on the grill), so it is considered healthy.
The magic in the pahadi food is majorly brought by seasonal veggies, fresh herbs, and homemade spices that add tons of flavor and deliciousness.
This recipe is also known as Hariyali Paneer Tikka, and hariyali refers to the color green as it is marinated in a green marinade made of herbs and spices.
Altogether, the ingredients create this magical recipe, including soft paneer cubes, crisp bell peppers, and onions marinated in cilantro, mint, and yogurt-based marinade flavored with fresh aromatic spices.
Since it is flavored and hued abundantly with fresh mint, it is also called Paneer Pudina Tikka.
Reasons You’ll ♡ Pahadi Paneer Tikka
This spicy, herb-laced paneer delicacy ( Pahadi Paneer Tikka) is one of the most loved Indian vegetarian recipes that finds its striking place on any party menu.
Add to your repertoire for the summer potluck and grilling and savor the rich flavors of perfectly grilled tikka, with charred edges and smoky aroma offering an irresistible appeal to the recipe. Besides that, here are more reasons to love this dish —
- Quick and easy
- Offers a perfect blend of flavors and texture
- Customizable dish; add any veggies of your choice
- Each bite bursting with deliciousness
- Moderately spicy, and
- Scalable recipe!
The beauty of this delightful dish lies also in its versatility, as it can be enjoyed in different avatars.
Relish it as a starter dish or as a part of the main course, or use it as a filling for exotic paneer wraps and sandwiches; this haryali paneer tikka is a winner all the way!
Wait there is more, besides its healthy vegetarian composition (paneer is a good source of protein and calcium), this paneer tikka also impresses with its rich and satisfying taste.
It is an excellent option for those looking to dig into a delicious dish without compromising their dietary preferences.
Pahadi paneer tikka Ingredient List
Paneer/ Indian Cottage Cheese — Paneer is the star ingredient of this mouthwatering Pahadi Paneer tikka recipe, and cubed paneer is used here. Both homemade or store-bought paneer can be used for making this recipe, although freshly prepared homemade paneer is always preferable. If using store-bought paneer, make sure to soak it for 15 minutes in hot water to soften it. The soft paneer is then cut into pieces and marinated.
Mustard Oil — Adds ample flavor and a richer taste to the tikkas; therefore, it is the preferred choice for this Paneer tikka recipe. However, mustard oil should be smoked before it is prepared to eliminate the raw flavor and its distinctive pungency.
Spices — A flavorful spice blend infuses the paneer pieces with an irresistible tangy and aromatic profile that enhances the overall appeal of the recipe and adds zing to the tikkas, making this paneer pahadi tikka recipe simply irresistible!
Yogurt — Hung curd or Greek yogurt forms the best base for the marinade as it brings creamy richness to the recipe.
Besan/ chickpea flour — When added to the marinade, it soaks up the excess moisture and helps the marinade (by thickening it) stick to the paneer cubes properly. Roasted besan is preferable as roasting eliminates the besan’s raw flavor and enhances the marinade’s overall taste.
Vegetables — Assorted veggies, like bell peppers (any color of your choice), onions, baby corn, etc, can be used for this recipe. You can also use sliced mushrooms and zucchini for added nutrition.
Green Marinade — The green sauce made with mint, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, kasuri methi, and flavorful herbs and spices brings a spectrum of flavors to the marinade in which the paneer cubes and veggies are marinated.
Pahadi Paneer Tikka Recipe Tips and Variations
Preparing the skewers for cooking — Bamboo skewers need to be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling or cooking to prevent them from burning. However, bamboo skewers are not durable and may break while grilling the tikkas. To save hassle, you can use reusable metal skewers, which offer better durability.
Swapping besan — Roasted besan prepares this recipe for flavor and crispiness. However, you can swap it with cornflour to make crispier tikkas.
Replacing paneer — Paneer can be replaced with extra firm tofu (for a vegan version) or chicken in this recipe. Marinate tofu or chicken instead of paneer and follow the exact directions for cooking. Zucchini and mushrooms also make a great addition to this tikka recipe.
Importance of marination — Marinating adds tons of flavors to the dish, besides enhancing the tenderness and juiciness of the food. It allows the ingredients to absorb the various flavors of the marinade. A minimum of 30 minutes or a maximum of 24 hours of marination lets the paneer soak the marinade flavors and become softer. Extended marination will bring better results. As paneer is bland in taste, marination uplifts the flavor and does wonders!
Scale the recipe as required — This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to suit your preferences. You can refer to the recipe card for the same.
Airfryer as another cooking option — These Pahadi Paneer tikkas can also be cooked in an air-fryer. Airfried tikkas attain the perfect texture and flavor as they are supplied with the right amount of dry heat that perfectly cooks them.
Avoid overcooking — Overcooked Paneer will become dry and turn chewy. Therefore, avoid overcooking the paneer to have perfectly soft, juicy, and perfectly delicious tikkas.
Medium heat is perfect for cooking — Cooking the vegetables and paneer over high heat may leave them charred and tasting burnt. Therefore, always cook the tikkas over medium heat to allow an evenly cooking of the tikkas.
Butter basting for flavor — Grilled paneer tikkas taste awesome and flaunt a lovely shine if you give them a nice butter basting.
Vegan version — This recipe can be turned vegan by replacing paneer with extra firm tofu or soya chunks and regular yogurt with plant-based yogurt. Skewering tofu may be tricky; cut it into big cubes and grill them as individual pieces.
For spicier tikka — If you prefer spicy tikkas, crushed green chili paste added to the tikkas will bring the desired hotness that you will simply love.
For the green-hued tikkas — Adding spinach to the marinade enhances the nutritional value of the tikkas and adds a vibrant green color that is visually more appealing. Blanched and pureed spinach is added to the marinade for a vivid shade of green.
For a brighter green hue — You can add a few drops of green food color to your marinade for a more pronounced green hue, just like the restaurant-style tikkas. However, I have omitted the green in this recipe.
You can serve these paneer tikkas in myriad ways. These super delicious Pahadi Paneer Tikkas can be grilled and arranged on a serving tray, sprinkled with some chaat masala and cilantro leaves.
You can serve them alongside —
- Red onion rings (laccha onions)
- Mint-coriander chutney
- A few sliced tomatoes and cucumber make a perfect add-on if there is space on the platter.
- For more color and oomph, add thinly sliced beetroots to the recipe when serving.
Can serve as Kathi Rolls — Wrap these paneer tikkas in a big roti and layer them with lettuce, chutney, vinegar, onions, and tomatoes. Your freshly prepared kathi rolls are ready to relish.
Prepare lip-smacking biryani — Make yummy biryani out of the leftover paneer tikkas and enjoy the exquisite delicacy.
Create an indulgent meal — Add the paneer tikkas to the onion-tomato-cream-based gravy and serve the recipe alongside naan for a perfectly indulgent meal.
Other delicious options — You can also make a sandwich or open toast with the paneer tikka leftovers and enjoy the delightful treats.
Let me know what you think!
So, join me as we create a delicious symphony of flavors, grilling the mouthwatering Pahadi Paneer Tikka. Indulge in the joy of cooking and relish the delightful rewards of culinary excellence with this Pahadi delicacy.
Should you make these Paneer Pudina Tikkas, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
MORE COMFORTING APPETIZERS THAT YOU’LL LOVE!
Follow the step-by-step recipe below to make the best Pahadi Paneer Tikka
Pahadi Paneer Tikka
- 1 cup Cilantro leaves packed
- ½ cup Mint leaves packed
- 2 – Green Chilies
- ½ inch Ginger
- 6-7 – Garlic
- – – A very little water
- ¼ cup Yogurt + 2 tablespoons extra hung curd
- 1 tablespoon Roasted Besan
- ½ teaspoon Ajwain/ Carrom seeds
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri Red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon Amchur Powder (Mango Powder)
- ¾ tablespoon Kasoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1¼ tablespoons mustard oil
- 1½ teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 1 lb. Paneer 1/2 kg, cut into cubes
- ½ cup Bell peppers diced
- ½ cup Onions diced
- – – Green Paste
- – – Salt to taste
- – – Chaat Masala to sprinkle on top
- – – Black Salt to sprinkle on top
- – – Butter for basting
- If you re planning to use wooden skewers, make sure to dip the skewers in water for an hour before baking to avoid burning.
- Cut the paneer into a cube, and the bell peppers into squares, keeping the size as big as the paneer; for onions, cut them in quarters and remove their petals.
MAKE GREEN PASTE
- Combine all the ingredients listed under 'GREEN PASTE' in a mixer.
- Grind it well to make a fine paste.
- Transfer the curd to a cheesecloth to make hung curd at home and let the excess liquid drain. It will lose all its liquid and become thick when left for some time. You can whisk this yogurt until smooth and add spices to it. This makes the perfect curd marinade for the recipe.
- Add yogurt to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the prepared green paste.
- Add spices and lemon juice to this mix.
- Crush carrom seeds between your palms and add it to the bowl.
- Add mustard oil.Mustard oil is essential — Skipping mustard oil means losing its exquisite flavor. Besides adding to the taste, mustard oil also makes the paneer softer and more succulent.
- Add roasted besan.
- Whisk all the ingredients until well blended. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
- Add paneer cubes and veggies to this marinade. Gently toss the veggies to coat in the marinade.
- Rub the marinate well so that it coats all the paneer cubes evenly.
- Cover the bowl with a plate and refrigerate. Let the paneer tikka marinate for an hour. Let it rest and soak in all the flavorful spices.Marinate safely — Always marinate the paneer in the refrigerator. Marinating paneer at room temperature can allow dangerous bacteria to grow and lead to food-borne illnesses.
- Once the rest time is over, remove the paneer from the refrigerator and uncover it. Place a steel bowl on top of the paneer tikka. Heat 2 pieces of charcoal over direct heat until red hot. With the help of tongs, carefully drop the burning charcoal in that bowl.
- Pour two teaspoons of ghee on top of the charcoal. The charcoal will start to emit smoke. Immediately cover the bowl with a glass lid and let the paneer tikka soak in all that smoky flavors for about 3-4 minutes.
- Skewer pieces of marinated paneer on each skewer, alternating it with slices of bell pepper and onion.
- Skew all the paneer tikka similarly; make sure not to make the wooden skewer heavy, as the paneer pieces may fall while cooking.
- Place the paneer tikka in the airfryer basket and bake at 400 degrees F for 5-6 minutes. Then switch the side and bake the tikkas for another 3-4 minutes or until they look slightly charred, watching it the whole time.
- Grill the remaining tikkas until slightly charred or when they start to get slightly brown around the edges.
- Generously brush with butter. Sprinkle some chaat masala and black salt, and serve hot with vibrant chutneys that will surely leave you captivated with its savory flavors.