I am so glad you’re here for this delicious paneer tikka masala recipe. Read on, friends!
Indian food is my favorite cuisine, hands down. And one of my favorite dishes is chicken tikka masala. A lovely vegetarian version is paneer tikka masala, and it is delicious and comforting and warming. For this #makeitwithmilk post, my first tongue in cheek idea was to take milk and turn it into cheese. I sort of laughed to myself and then realized it wasn’t that silly an idea after all. After I had my homemade paneer (and some store-bought too, just to hedge my bets in case my first attempt ever at making homemade paneer failed miserably), I got to use even more dairy: yogurt in the marinade and then a finishing flourish of half and half at the end for this great paneer tikka masala recipe. So much dairy. So much goodness!
I am making and submitting my paneer tikka masala recipe to the #MakeItWithMilk recipe contest sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers, a platinum sponsor of this year’s Food Wine Conference. And since Food Wine is one of my favorite conferences, I thought what better way to enter a contest to hopefully win a free ticket as well as a hefty gift card than to showcase my favorite cuisine?
Before we get on with the how-to, allow me just a brief word about the Food Wine Conference. Held at the spectacular Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida May 13-15 this year, Food Wine brings together food bloggers from all over the country to learn together, laugh together, support each other and eat together. As a fairly new and fairly intimate (approximately 100-120 bloggers) conference, Food Wine is the perfect conference for crowd-shy food bloggers. I promise you will be welcomed with open arms, that you will come away from the conference with new friends and that you’ll be inspired as well as equipped and empowered to grow your business. Do take a look at the schedule.
And now, friends, let’s get on with our homemade paneer and paneer tikka masala.
Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe
Paneer is a fresh cheese from India that is similar to cotija cheese. It does not melt when heated, which makes it perfect for frying and cooking in flavorful sauces. I cannot claim paneer as an original recipe, of course, so that’s where my version of paneer tikka masala comes in. You absolutely do not have to make your own paneer, but honestly, in a side-by-side taste test of homemade paneer and store-bought, I much preferred the texture and flavor of the homemade version. Still, I wouldn’t say no to either in a big, aromatic vat of deliciousness! I know you will love this paneer tikka masala recipe!
- 1/2 gallon whole milk, , preferably organic
- 1 cup tangy/sharp plain yogurt, (you really need the acids, so a mild yogurt won't work)
- 1-2 Tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice, , if necessary (see instructions)
- 3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt.
- Heat the milk in a large Dutch oven slowly until warm. Then, turn up the heat and, stirring frequently, bring the milk to just under a boil, about 205F.
- Stir in the yogurt and bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove from heat. The milk should separate almost immediately into curds and transparent yellow-greenish whey. If it does not, add the vinegar slowly until it does.
- Once you have curds and whey, cover and let sit for ten minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer (or a regular strainer lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth). Allow the paneer to drain for 30 minutes.
- Plop the curds out onto a plate and separate well with your fingers. Evenly sprinkle the salt over the curds and then toss to distribute the salt evenly.
- Place the curds back onto the cheesecloth (I actually used a square Chemex coffee filter) and form into a rectangular packet about 3/4" thick. Wrap it tightly with the cheesecloth or coffee filter. Place 3-4 layers of paper towel on a plate. Place the packet of cheese on top. Add an additional 3-4 layers of paper towel and then weight the whole thing down well. I used the cast iron Dutch oven I heated the milk in. Press the cheese for 30 minutes.
- Remove the paper towels, which are now probably soaking wet, and tighten up the cheesecloth or coffee filter a bit more, compressing the curds even further. Add more paper towel under and on top of your packet of cheese and press an additional 30 minutes.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (no more than 3 days).
- You can also freeze paneer, well wrapped, for up to 3 months.
And there you have it. I cannot think of any better way to showcase dairy than to a)turn it into cheese, and b)use both yogurt and half and half in a recipe. Yay, milk in all its forms!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read today. I hope to see you at the Food Wine Conference, friends!
Take care, and have a lovely day.
I am a brand ambassador for the Food Wine Conference, and as such, I get a discounted ticket. In that sense, this is a sponsored post.