When talking about what to make for dinner a few weeks ago, my husband suggested trying to make a paneer tikka masala.  Since this Indian dish is usually served as chicken tikka masala, I’d never had it before, and was worried that not knowing how it should taste might be problematic.  John said “It’s not stopped you before….”  Which is true.

So I followed a recipe.  I just have a couple of things that I think needed to be changed, and here is my version.

  • 1 14 oz Block of Paneer (I found frozen in my local Grocery Store, but can be found in Indian Specialty Stores.  I’ve also heard it’s best to just make it fresh.  I will explore this option and get back to you.)
  • 4 Tablespoons of Ghee or Butter, divided (I use butter, because ghee is quite expensive at our store)
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2″ Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 2 Teaspoons Turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • 6 Cardamom Pods, crushed, pods separated from seeds.  (Once, I couldn’t find my cardamom pods, so I have substituted 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 14 oz Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk Yogurt (not Greek)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Steamed Basmati Rice, for serving


Heat two tablespoons of ghee or butter in a non-stick skillet, and place paneer in the pan.  Cook until lightly caramelized on both sides.  Set aside to cool.

tikka setup.jpg

In a small mixing bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and salt.  Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, tomato paste, cardamom (or nutmeg) and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft, about four minutes.  Add the spice mixture to the onions and cook the spices out for another four minutes.

tikka tomatoes.jpg

Add the tomatoes, along with their juices to the pan.  Simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring often, about eight minutes.  Transfer tomato mixture to a blender, and blend until smooth.

tikka sauce.jpg

Place the blended tomato sauce back in the skillet over medium heat, and add the cream and yogurt.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

tikka masala.jpg

Cut the paneer into 1/2″ cubes and add it to the sauce.  Cook until paneer is heated through, about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, and garnish with sliced cilantro.

tikka masala finished.jpg


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