Tandoori Paneer Tikka Masala


Paneer tikka masala is a favorite dish both in North and South India although the dish itself may have originated in North India. Traditionally, paneer is roasted in a tandoor or a clay oven, but here you use your oven. The aroma of spices and paneer cooking in the oven is mouthwatering and makes one feel hungry right away. This recipe replicates the taste of paneer tikka masala served in restaurants while eliminating cream and milk that is typically used.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
4 kebabs


For the Ginger-Garlic Paste:

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, chopped

For the Kebabs:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil

  • ½ lime, juiced

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 16 ounces paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces

  • ½ large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the Sauce:

  • ½ cup cashews

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • ½ onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

  • ½ lime, juiced

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • salt to taste


  1. Soak 8 to 10 wooden skewers in water while you prepare the kebabs.

  2. Process garlic and ginger in a food processor until a smooth paste forms.

  3. Combine yogurt, mustard oil, lime juice of 1/2 lime, 1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek leaves, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and 1/2 of the ginger-garlic paste in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add paneer, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and onion. Stir until coated.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  5. Thread the coated paneer, peppers, and onion onto the soaked skewers. Place kebabs in a baking dish.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until kebabs are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

  7. Soak cashews in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes; blend as finely or coarsely as desired.

  8. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds; cook until sputtering, about 1 minute. Add remaining onion; cook and stir until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste, 1 tablespoon fenugreek leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. Cook and stir until flavors blend, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cover and cook until tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes.

  9. Stir the ground cashews into the saucepan with the tomato mixture. Add juice of 1/2 lime, coriander, 1 teaspoon cayenne, turmeric, and salt. Let simmer until sauce is thickened, adding some water if sauce gets too dry and sticks to the pan, about 5 minutes more. Add the baked kebabs to the sauce. Stir to coat evenly.

Cook's Notes:

If you don't like to make a sauce, you can serve the tikka by itself on a bed of onions and lime wedges.

You can use 2 tablespoons of store-bought ginger-garlic paste instead of making your own.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

428 Calories
29g Fat
26g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 428
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 637mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 84mg 419%
Calcium 193mg 15%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 732mg 16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.