Paneer pudina tikka is a great starter or finger food for cocktails. The secret to this recipe is to use the best paneer you can get or make it yourself. The marinade is fresh, aromatic and has quite a chilli hit. Simple to make, and great results – just don’t overcook it.
This recipe scales remarkably well. If you are catering for a regiment, rather than just your friends or family just increase the quantities appropriately. As presented here it is a starter or snack for four people. If you are doing more, just make sure you don’t crowd the baking tray. You must cook these in one layer.
The marinade is a variant on green chutney, the ubiquitous accompaniment to snacks and starters. It provides an aromatic, herbal flavour layer, with a hit of chilli to contrast the delicacy of the paneer.
This is a recipe where we advocate making your own paneer. Home-made paneer does seem to be more absorbent than commercially prepared paneer, and absorbing the marinade is a good thing for this recipe. If you must buy your paneer, at least get the best you can find from your Indian grocer.
You could skewer the paneer pieces before putting in the oven to make it an easier finger food option. Place two or three pieces on small skewers before placing in the oven to cook. As a family and friends starter we just place the paneer pieces in a serving bowl.
You need to start this recipe the day before you intend to serve it to allow marination.
for the marinade
- 300 g paneer - cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 tbsp gingelly oil - (see notes)
- ½ tsp black sesame seeds
- ½ tsp sesame seeds
- 1 lime - quartered
for the marinade
- Grind all the marinade ingredients to a very smooth paste using a small blender or mortar and pestle. If necessary, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time.
- Put the marinade into a large bowl. Add the paneer and mix well to cover it all with the marinade. Cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove marinated paneer from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Place the marinated paneer onto an oven tray. Cover the pieces with any remaining marinade. Drizzle over the oil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the cubes are a little browned on the outside.
- Whilst the paneer is cooking, toast the sesame seeds in small hot pan for about two minutes. Once they start to change colour, add the black sesame seeds and cook for a further 30 seconds until they release their aroma.
- Remove from oven, toss with the sesame seeds, then place on serving dish and serve with the lime wedges.
- Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different to the Asian sesame oil. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.