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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

June 1, 2009

Paneer Tikka for Dummies

Of course, somewhere hidden in the vast treasure trove of Indian cooking there must be an original, authentic way to make this succulent appetizer. But, honestly I don't think I have the patience to do the hunting. Yet, one day the craving hit me. So, I decided to give paneer tikka a shot. How tough could it be? And guess what, I even entertained my cousin's family with this right on the day that I experimented it. Yup, the next time you come home you can keep guessing if I made you a guinea pig or not!!

Paneer, cut into cubes (I have used about 12 pieces cut into 1 inch wide cubes)
Onions - Cut into squares (Same quantity as the number of paneer pieces)
Tomatoes - Cut into squares (Same quantity as the number of paneer pieces)
Bell Peppers - Cut into squares (Same quantity as the number of paneer pieces)
3/4th Cup - Yogurt, whipped to a smooth texture
2 tbsp - Red Chillie Powder (You can substitute with Cayenne/Paprika powder)
1/2 tsp - Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
1/2 tbsp - Chaat Masala
1 tsp - Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp - Ginger Garlic paste
Toothpicks or skewers
And, of course, some salt to taste!!

- Soak paneer cubes in warm water for about 2 minutes. If you are using frozen paneer, thaw/defrost it before you do this step
- Now in a large mixing bowl add all the remaining ingredients (except oil, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers....oh, and the skewers/toothpicks too!!) and mix together
- Toss in the paneer cubes, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers into this mixture and marinate it for about 2-3 hours. You can leave it overnight in the refrigerator too
- Preheat oven to 450F
- On a baking sheet/oven safe plate, apply/spray some oil
- Pass the marinated paneer and veggies through the toothpicks/skewers in any order that you like
- Arrange them on the baking sheet/oven safe plate
- Cook until the paneer gets a golden brown tinge to its sides and the veggies seem cooked too.
- Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes

Noteworthy Notes
1. If you think the veggies seem to be cooking/browning up faster than the paneer, take the plate out of the oven. Remove the veggies and cook only the paneer for a few extra minutes. Caution - It will all be very hot!
2. Those of you who do not have a conventional oven, please do not decide to never read my blog again... instead, with very little oil shallow fry your marinated paneer and veggies and then put them on the skewers/toothpicks

Serving Suggestion
Serve hot with lemon slices or a cooling yogurt dip.


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