Today I teach the one and only, Yoni Bernath (my brother), how to make Paneer Tikka Masala! We make creamy homemade paneer and a richly spiced tikka masala and serve it all with a bit of garlic naan. What’s not to love?!
Paneer Tikka Masala
Servings: 6 people
For the Paneer
- 1 gallon whole milk
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
For the Tikka Masala
- 9 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 3 large yellow onions chopped (about 5 cups)
- 4 plum tomatoes chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kashmiri chili powder divided
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste (about 3 large garlic cloves)
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste (about 1 inch ginger)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons methi
- 4-5 drops red food coloring optional
- Steamed rice
- Garlic naan
For the Paneer
- In a large pot over high heat, add milk and bring to a boil. Stir milk with a wooden spoon often to prevent the bottom from burning. Keep an eye on the pot to make sure it does not boil over. While waiting for the milk to boil, line a strainer with cheesecloth or a thin tea towel. Set aside.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, add lemon juice and stir to help the curds separate from the whey.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the prepared strainer. Allow to cool enough to handle, then squeeze out all of the excess whey into the sink. Form into a disk and set between two large plates, with a heavy weight on top (such as a can). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.
- Once solidified, cut into 1 inch cubes and set in the refrigerator while preparing the butter masala.
For the Tikka Masala
- In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, add oil, cashews and cardamom. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until cardamom is aromatic and cashews are slightly golden brown. Add onions and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until translucent. Add tomatoes, garam masala, cumin powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, coriander, salt and sugar, stir, and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are very soft and almost falling apart. Transfer the contents of the pot into a blender along with 1 cup of water. Blend for at least 2-3 minutes until silky smooth. Once blended, set aside.
- In the same pot over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, remaining chili powder, and turmeric, then cook for another minute until slightly brown on the edges. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot, followed by the heavy cream. If a deeper orange color is desired (optional), add in a few drops of red food coloring. Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
- Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan and fry paneer cheese cubes until golden brown on all the sides, 6-8 minutes in total. Once fried, add the paneer as well as methi to the tikka masala and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow flavors to marry, taste and season with additional salt, if needed, then remove from the heat.
- Serve hot along with rice or garlic naan.
Calories: 793.35kcal | Carbohydrates: 58.58g | Protein: 26.03g | Fat: 52.99g | Saturated Fat: 17.63g | Trans Fat: 0.16g | Cholesterol: 83.18mg | Sodium: 631.46mg | Fiber: 4.99g | Sugar: 43.22g | Vitamin A: 383.98IU | Vitamin C: 33.31mg | Calcium: 822.02mg | Iron: 3.02mg