Why my mom makes the best paneer tikka masala
Because she’s my mom, duh. But also because every product and ingredient in our store has been used, tested and tasted by her. Without her approval, we wouldn’t sell it. If it isn’t in our kitchen at home, it’s not on our shelves at the store. Running an Indian grocery store is more than just selling groceries, it’s a responsibility. When you shop at New India Bazar, you're doing more than shopping for Indian groceries, you're a part of our family.
Making Paneer Tikka Masala is not as hard as it seems, nor is it as easy. Follow my mom’s directions, and you’ll make a kickass authentic Indian dish using ingredients from your local San Francisco grocery store.
Ingredients necessary for Paneer Tikka Masala
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 to 4 bay leaves
4 black cardamom pods
2 small (1 inch) cinnamon sticks
8 black peppers
1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cups chopped tomatoes
4 green chillies
4-5 garlic cloves
3 tsp kasoori methi
2 tsp poppy seeds
15 pieces cashews
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 cup heavy cream
2lbs diced paneer
3 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
How to make homemade Paneer Tikka Masala
Dice paneer, tomatoes and bell pepper, finely chop garlic and chillies, and grate the ginger. Set aside.
For gravy, heat 2 tsp ghee over medium to low heat. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, bay leaves, black cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves. Roast until the seeds are popping. Add chopped onions and saute until light brown and translucent.
Add tomatoes, grated ginger, chopped garlic, diced bell pepper, and chopped chillies to a pot. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 tsp kasoori methi, poppy seeds, cashews and stir pot.
Add 1/2 cup water carefully to the pot.
Keep on medium heat until water is reduced and ghee has separated. Stir often.
Let cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, blend the contents of the pot until a smooth gravy has been achieved.
Add 2 tsp oil and cumin seeds to a pot. Roast the seeds for 1-2 minutes.
Once roasted, add blended contents back to the pot and mix the gravy and seeds.
Add 2 cups of water to the pot and mix. Add 1/2 tsp garam masala and mix well.
Season to taste with salt.
Add cut paneer and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
Turn off gas and add 1/2 cup cream and mix.
Garnish with 1/2 tsp kasoori methi.
What's the Best Paneer for Paneer Tikka Masala?
Your local Indian grocery store sells three main brands of paneer: Nanak Paneer, Gopi Paneer and Haldiram's Paneer. Haldiram's is frozen, as it is imported directly from India, however Gopi and Nanak are more local, and a little more fresh, allowing them to be refridgerated.
Nanak Paneer has a sturdy texture, and is a little more firm and rubbery. It is best used for dishes where the paneer is crumbled, or if you're baking the paneer first. It's pungent, tasty and absorbs spices very well.
Gopi Paneer is softer and carries a unique paneer-y taste. It's great for cubed paneer dishes, like paneer tikka masala or palak paneer. It's a fan favorite, and the company makes a fantastic Indian dahi.
Haldiram Paneer is my mother's favorite. It has the strongest taste and scent, and is best when when cubed. Since it's frozen, it does require thawing. Once it's thawed, you must use it all at once, as refrigeration after thawing isn't great for its consistency. However, because it is made in India, the paneer is made of Indian milk, from Indian cows fed Indian grain. It tastes like home, and it's the brand my mom uses most often.
Making Indian food seems difficult, but my mom knows just how easy it is. Great Indian dishes not only need the right ingredients, but if you follow our guide, you'll see just how quickly you can impress your friends and family.
Stop by San Francisco's local Indian grocery store and mention you're following our recipe, and we'll help you find all the ingredients you need, and we'll give you 5% off on your total. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook with a picture of your completed dish, and we'll feature you on our page!