Sunday, September 27, 2020

Air Fryer Paneer Tikka

Restaurant style Paneer Tikka at home. This recipe for yogurt marinated paneer, onion and pepper uses the Air Fryer to cook the paneer quickly but perfectly!


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Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is a popular ingredient for Indian cooking. From appetizers and snacks to curries, parathas and rice; paneer finds application everywhere. 

There are so many delicious recipes using paneer but the undisputed winner for popularity is Paneer Tikka. 

In the appetizer form or as a curry called Paneer Tikka Masala, this one is always a great idea! 

What is Paneer Tikka?

A delicious appetizer made with marinated paneer, onions and peppers, paneer tikka is super popular in Indian restaurants and in households. 

This is also one the MOST popular vegetarian barbecue recipe. The recipe is super versatile and can be made on the stovetop, on the grill, in the oven and in the air fryer. 

It is served with a bowl of spicy cilantro chutney and makes a great snack or appetizer. 


What you need to make Paneer Tikka?

This recipe needs a handful of ingredients that are easy to get from the Indian store. Most of these ingredients are part of the Indian pantry. 

Paneer: The starting point of a good Paneer Tikka is getting the best paneer. I use packaged paneer that is thawed for about 30 minutes. 

Thawed paneer is easy to dice into clean cubes without crumbling it. 

Peppers and onions: Great to add some crunch to the recipe, peppers and onions add taste and color to the paneer tikka. 

Use any combination of colored peppers and onion. If you do not consume onions, skip them.

Adding tomatoes is an option too. However, we are not fans of that. It sometimes ends up mushy.

Yogurt: Using Greek yogurt in this is perfect. It is thick and stays on the pieces without flowing away.

However if you do not have it, strain regular yogurt using a muslin cloth and let the liquid drain. Use that yogurt after a couple of hours. 

Spices: The heart of the recipe is definitely the marinade. It adds flavor and taste to the recipe and the spices are very important.

I would recommend adding all the spices mentioned below but if you do not have a couple you can skip them. 

However, the tandoori masala and chaat masala are must-haves. They come together wonderfully and have the perfect balance of spice. 

Aamchur (dried mango powder) can be substituted with lemon juice if need be. Dried fenugreek (kasoori methi) can be skipped if you cannot find it. 


Cooking the paneer tikka 

The paneer tikka can be cooked in several ways. From using a gas or charcoal grill to oven, stovetop or air fryer. 

I have used the air fryer to make this paneer tikka. 

It is easy, quick and yet it has the perfect flavor as the other methods. The air fryer needs just 7-8 minutes to brown well. This is my favorite feature for sure! 

If making this over a grill, keep turning the skewers till all the sides are charred evenly. 

In the oven, it can be baked at 400 F for 10 minutes; followed by broiling for a couple of minutes to get the char marks. 

Serving suggestion

Paneer tikka makes a great appetizer or snack. 

It can be served with a side of sliced onions, some chaat masala and spicy cilantro chutney.

The same paneer tikka can be dunked in red makhani sauce to make paneer tikka masala to enjoy with naan or rice.  


Steps

1- Cut the paneer and onion into 1 inch cubes. Deseed and chop the peppers into 1 inch pieces too. 

2- Take Greek yogurt in a bowl. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, kasoori methi, tandoori masala, salt, chaat masala and aamchur. 

3- Stir till smooth. 

4- Add the paneer and vegetable pieces and coat them with the seasoned yogurt. Set aside for 30 minutes (or more).


5- Using skewers or toothpicks, skew the peppers, onions and paneer pieces ensuring the marinade goes with the pieces on to the skewers. 

6- Preheat the Air Fryer at 400 F. Line the basket with some foil or parchment paper. Once the air fryer is hot, place the skewers in it ensuring there is space between them. Spray some oil on top. 

7- Let the skewers cook for 7 minutes, flipping them once in about 4-5 minutes. The paneer, peppers and onions should have some brown spots by then. 

8- Remove from the basket and serve with cilantro chutney. Top the skewers with chaat masala and lime juice.  




Yield: 4
Author: Smruti
Print
Air Fryer Paneer Tikka

Air Fryer Paneer Tikka

Restaurant style Paneer Tikka at home. This recipe for yogurt marinated paneer, onion and pepper uses the Air Fryer to cook the paneer quickly but perfectly!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 7 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 52 Min

Ingredients

  • Paneer 2 cups (about 300 grams)
  • Onion 1 medium
  • Peppers 1  large (I used a mix of red, yellow, orange and green pepper)

Instructions

  1. Cut the paneer and onion into 1 inch cubes. Deseed and chop the peppers into 1 inch pieces too.
  2. Take Greek yogurt in a bowl. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, kasoori methi, tandoori masala, salt, chaat masala and aamchur.
  3. Stir till smooth.
  4. Add the paneer and vegetable pieces and coat them with the seasoned yogurt. Set aside for 30 minutes (or more).
  5. Using skewers or toothpicks, skew the peppers, onions and paneer pieces ensuring the marinade goes with the pieces on to the skewers.
  6. Preheat the Air Fryer at 400 F. Line the basket with some foil or parchment paper. Once the air fryer is hot, place the skewers in it ensuring there is space between them. Spray some oil on top.
  7. Let the skewers cook for 7 minutes, flipping them once in about 4-5 minutes. The paneer, peppers and onions should have some brown spots by then.
  8. Remove from the basket and serve with cilantro chutney. Top the skewers with chaat masala and lime juice.
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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Shishito Pepper Salan

A curry made using nuts and spices; this Shishito Pepper Salan is a delicious take on Hyderabadi Mirchi ka Salan. It is an easy and great side for roti, rice or biryani! 


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What is Salan?


A Hyderabadi side for biryani or to serve with roti or rice; Salan is a delicious recipe that is easy to make. 

This salan is often served with blistered chillies (Mirchi ka Salan) in it or without. This peanut coconut based sauce is a great side for the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. 

Every time I get the Vegetarian Dum Biryani from the Indian restaurant I get a small container of salan with it. The salan is always the sought after sauce at home! 

So making a BIG batch at home is a great idea. Serving this with home made biryani makes a GREAT dinner for sure! 

What all you need to make this Salan?


This Mirchi ka Salan needs a handful of ingredients. It has three parts; the masala, peppers and the gravy ingredients. 

The masala is made using peanuts, coconut, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, kalonji, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. 

These ingredients are ground together to make a super flavorful masala. The masala is the heart of the salan and is nutty, earthy and super delicious.

The peppers used for this recipe can vary from the spicy jalapeños and Indian chillies to the mild banana peppers, shishito peppers or green peppers (capsicums).

Make sure these are slit and blistered before adding to the curry. Deseeding them before frying is an option too. 

The gravy needs ginger, garlic, chilli, onions and yogurt. These ingredients are cooked till they are completely soft and give the gravy a great taste and flavor.  


Why make this with Shishito peppers?


The peppers that are used in this recipe vary based on preference. 

Most people like to use SPICY chillies in their Mirchi ka Salan. However, we like to use the milder version of chillies for the recipe. 

Shishito peppers are available around this time of the year. They are mild spicy but super flavorful. 

They are great to blister and serve with some salt and pepper or use it in recipes that need mild peppers. 

If you like spicy chillies, replace these by the spicy ones. The resultant curry will be spicy for sure. 

What to serve this with?


This recipe makes a gravy and uses it to make a curry with peppers. 

The same gravy can be used without any peppers to serve with Vegtarian Dum biryani. This salan does not generally have any additions. 

Okra salan is another popular curry served with roti or rice. To make this fried okra is added to the curry and served. 

The dish looks super to serve for any party. The peppers on a bright yellow sauce is a favorite side for all kinds of rice dishes! 


My favorites to serve this with are:


Steps


In a pan add all the ingredients for the masala. Dry roast till the coconut is fragrant. 


Turn down the flame and let the ingredients cool completely. 

Grind to a smooth paste using a few teaspoons of water as needed. Set aside. 


Wash and dry the peppers. Make one or two slits in them.  



To blister the peppers; heat oil in the pan. Once hot, add the peppers and let the skin blister. 

Turn them over and let the other sides brown too. Remove and set aside. 


In the same pan add the remaining oil. Heat it.

Once hot, add cumin seeds. Once they pop, add ginger, garlic, green chili and onions. 

Cook on medium flame till the onions are completely soft. 


Add the masala purée and cook for another minute. 

Then add red chili powder, salt and turmeric powder. 


Mix well and add 1.5 cups water. 

Simmer till the gravy boils and the oil floats to the side. 

Add whipped yogurt, mix well. 



Simmer for another minute or so. Add the blistered peppers and cook covered for 5 minutes.



Serve topped with cilantro. The salan is best served with biryani, roti or steamed rice. 


Yield: 3
Author: Smruti
Print
Shishito Pepper Salan

Shishito Pepper Salan

A curry made using nuts and spices; this Shishito Pepper Salan is a delicious take on Hyderabadi Mirchi ka Salan. It is an easy and great side for roti, rice or biryani!
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 40 Min

Ingredients

For the Masala
For the Peppers
For the Sauce

Instructions

  1. In a pan add all the ingredients for the masala. Dry roast till the coconut is fragrant.
  2. Turn down the flame and let the ingredients cool completely.
  3. Grind to a smooth paste using a few teaspoons of water as needed. Set aside.
  4. Wash and dry the peppers. Make one or two slits in them.
  5. To blister the peppers; heat oil in the pan. Once hot, add the peppers and let the skin blister.
  6. Turn them over and let the other sides brown too. Remove and set aside.
  7. In the same pan add the remaining oil. Heat it.
  8. Once hot, add cumin seeds. Once they pop, add ginger, garlic, green chili and onions.
  9. Cook on medium flame till the onions are completely soft.
  10. Add the crushed masala and cook for another minute.
  11. Then add red chili powder, salt and turmeric powder. Mix well and add 1.5 cups water.
  12. Simmer till the gravy boils and the oil floats to the side.
  13. Add whipped yogurt, mix well and simmer for another minute or so. Add the blistered peppers and cook covered for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve topped with cilantro. The salan is best served with biryani, roti or steamed rice.
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Friday, September 11, 2020

Raw Papaya Chutney (Sambharo)

A crunchy chutney made using unripe papayas; this raw papaya sambharo is spicy, sweet and salty. It makes a great side for Fafda, Thepla, Khandvi and Khaman.




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If you have had farsans like khaman, khandvi, patra, fafda from a Gujarati store in India, you would have probably tried this papaya sambharo with it. 

Some stores in Mumbai specialize in it and the sambharo is SO good that they run out of it in a few hours. 

What is Sambharo?


Sambharo is a Gujarati term that refers to a side that is crunchy, can be made quickly and super versatile.

These are generally made from sliced or grated vegetables and it is somewhere between completely raw and well cooked. It has the crunch of the vegetables and tastes great as a salad too.

The popular vegetables to make sambharo are carrots, cabbage, ridge gourd skin and of course raw papaya. 

A super popular dish served at Gujarati weddings; there are several ways to make and serve sambharo.



What all do you need to make this?


This recipe of raw papaya sambharo is super easy to make. Once you have the raw papaya, the other ingredients are essentially just spices. 

Papaya: Pick a papaya that is green in color and super firm. These papayas are easy to grate, taste amazing and do not fall apart while cooking. 

Chickpea Flour: In order to bind the strands of papaya; besan or chickpea flour is used. It gives the chutney a great texture and taste. 

Green chili: The spice in this chutney comes from green chilis. I like to add a couple Thai chillis for spice and mild ones to chew. 

Adjust the number of hot and mild chilis based on your taste preference. 

Spices: The spices used here are turmeric powder, salt, sugar and lime juice. 

A characteristic of Gujarati cuisine is a hint of sugar in several recipes. I would strongly recommend not skipping that. 

Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, asafetida and curry leaves are used for flavor. If you do not have any of these, skip them. The taste will not be altered significantly.

You will need a mandoline to grate the papaya. This one is my favorite in the kitchen. 

Once you have the ingredients; the recipe comes together in under 15 minutes! 



What to serve this with?


This sambharo is BEST served with fafda gathiya and jalebi. 

It can also be served with snacks like khaman and khandvi. It is a great side with roti too in a Gujarati thali. 

A similar recipe using raw papaya is the Bengali plastic chutney. Made using sugar and lime juice, this sambharo is the salty version of it. 


Variations


A couple of popular snack stores in Mumbai serve this with fafda. However, they slice the papaya super thin instead of grating. While the shape is different; the taste does not change. 

If you like fried chilli, the chili can be fried separately and added to the papaya.  

Another type of sambharo is made without cooking the papaya. To make this, just add salt, sugar, lime juice and grated green chili to grated papaya. Mix well and serve. 

It is often said that halwai add leftover khaman to make this sambharo. While there is no evidence to prove this, it can definitely be done. 

As khaman is already cooked, it does not need to be cooked further. Just add it after the papaya is translucent, mix and serve. 




Ingredients



1 medium Raw Papaya (2 cups grated)
Thai Green Chili 1-2 
Mild Indian Chili 3-4 
Chickpea Flour/ Besan 4 tbsp 
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Asafetida a pinch
Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves 5-6
Sugar 1 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Lime Juice 1/2 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp
Cilantro to top


Method



Wash, peel and deseed the papaya. Grate it using a thick blade. Set aside. 

In a pan heat the oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add asafetida, cumin seeds, green chillis and curry leaves.

Once the cumin seeds pop, add the papaya. Mix well. 

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium flame. 

Once the papaya becomes slightly translucent add salt, sugar, turmeric powder and mix well. 

Then add the chickpea flour and mix it into the papaya. Add 2-3 tbsp water if the chickpea flour sticks and does not distribute well. 

Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The papaya should be translucent by now. 

Turn down the flame, add lemon juice and cilantro. Mix and serve with fafda gathiya and jalebi.