Indian food is most commonly associated with tikkas or curries, and loved world around for its savory, spicy, aromatic and rich character. As much as I am proud of the celebrated imagery of my cuisine, equally I feel disappointed for it being mostly categorized as a traditional cuisine. As a result, most Indian savory cottage cheese recipes you come across are either kadai spice or butter gravies. Well, I choose to defy myself as an idea cook, to maneuver a traditional curry with a contemporary twist. I decided to twist the taste of one of my favorite savory cottage cheese recipes, Paneer Tikka Masala.

Sundried tomatoes play a perfect part in savory cottage cheese recipes!

Starting to think of an ingredient to modify the curry DNA, sundried tomatoes was my obvious choice to bring the contemporary touch, yet uphold the savory essence of a curry. After all we love curries for what they are!

Here’s my curry make-over plan – contrasting a contemporary cottage cheese paneer tikka on a traditional Indian gravy. As a result I marinated the cottage cheese cubes in a creamy sundried tomatoes marinate instead of the usual greasy and spicy marinates used for tikkas. Now the real challenge is to get the right gravy for this creamy and sour tikka that serves as a perfect contrasting base to the tikkas. Much as I needed, I laid these tikkas on a home style curry from Rajasthani (a state in northern India) cuisine, made with chickpea flour.

Thinking the taste you are going to cook, is almost like visualizing an art you are going to paint. Well, as I reckoned this “taste thought” of cooking sundried cottage cheese paneer tikkas on a chickpea flour gravy resulted in contrasting yet complementing flavors. Try for yourself….

Ingredients

(Serves 2 people)

For sundried paneer tikka

300 grams paneer (cottage cheese), cut into 1.5 inch cubes

1 onion, cut into 5-6 pieces

1 red pepper, cut into big squares

7-8 pieces sundried tomatoes, pre-soaked in oil

½ tea spoon red chili powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp thick cream

Oil to spray on tikka

For besan (chick pea flour) curry

2 table spoon ghee (clarified butter)

1 tea spoon jeera (cumin seeds)

1 green chili, fine chopped

3 cloves garlic, fine chopped

1 inch ginger, fine chopped

3 medium size onions, chopped

4 medium size tomatoes, chopped

3 table spoon besan (gram or chickpea flour)

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves, chopped

Cooking instructions

For sundried paneer tikka

Blend sundried tomatoes, salt and red chili powder into a thick paste. Transfer paste to a bowl, stir cream into the paste.

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Preparing sundried tomatoes marination for cottage cheese tikkas

Marinate paneer cubes, onion pieces and red pepper squares in the paste. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for few hours (at least 2 hrs)

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Marinating cottage cheese paneer in sundried tomatoes paste

Thread marinated pieces of paneer, onion and red pepper in skewers. Preheat oven at 180 degrees centigrade, arrange skewers in oven

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Marinated sundried paneer tikkas on skewers before grill

Grill for 30 mins, (turn skewers at half-time). Remove from the grill and let it cool for few minutes.

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Sundried tomoatoes paneer tikkas, fresh out of the grill

For besan curry

In a medium size pan, heat clarified butter. Add jeera, cook until it pops in few seconds.

Add green chili, garlic and ginger, sauté for a min. Add onions, cook until light brown.

Add tomatoes and salt, cook until the water starts drying. Add gram flour and cook for 1-2 more mins.

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Preparing the besan curry for the sundried tomato paneer tikkas

Turn the burner off, and let the mixture cool down. Then transfer the mixture to a blender and fine blend to a curry. Transfer the curry back to the burner and cook for 1-2 mins (You may add little hot water if you prefer a thinner curry). Your curry is ready.

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Besan curry for sundried tomato paneer tikkas

Serving

Serve the gram flour curry in a long dish. Place the grilled cottage cheese, onion and red pepper tikkas (straight from the oven) on the curry. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top. For a more contemporary output, I served this with dill flatbread and raw onions with a drizzle of reduced balsamic.

Savory cottage cheese recipes by Honey Buzzard
Creamy sundried tomato Paneer Tikkas on Besan Gravy, served with Dill bread & balsamic onions

Recipe by Shikha Singh

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