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Last month, I participated in an online recipe contest in one of the communities of a social networking site. The theme for the contest was to prepare Indian food with three colors of the India flag. We had an option of using food colors. I chose to use natural ingredients and my entry was Paneer Tikka Kebab. My entry came in second place. We were allowed to send only one picture and the picture below is what I sent. This is a collage of all the step by step preparation pictures of the kebabs. Here is what I sent.
Paneer Tikka Kebab
I had a very difficult time deciding the recipe for this contest. When I saw the contest rules, I was flooded with ideas to cook with this tri-color, saffron white and green. I normally avoid using food colors in my preparation and did not want to do it this time either. I wanted to use ingredients that go with the color theme. I finally narrowed down the list to Paneer Tikka Kebabs. This is a quick and an easy recipe to prepare, and a wonderful entry for this month’s contest. More over, appetizers are my favorite course of the meal and I love grilled food. I used red bell peppers, paneer and green bell peppers for the tikka kebabs.
I am not 100% sure about the origin of this recipe but I am assuming it is from Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow Cuisine is known for its Biryanis and Kebabs. Paneer is used extensively in North Indian dishes, hence I am assuming Paneer Tikka Kebab is part of Lucknow Cuisine and is from Uttar Pradesh.
What I used is:
125 gms Paneer cubes (Homemade paneer)
½ medium size Green Bell Pepper diced
½ medium size Red Bell Pepper diced
1 small Onion diced
½ cups Yogurt (toady I used homemade)
1 tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp Garam Masala (store bought)
1 tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Cumin Powder
½ Lime or approx. 1 – 1 ½ tbsp Lime Juice
4 Bamboo Skewers soaked in water
Pam to spray the kebabs
- Cut the paneer to desired cubes. I used homemade paneer but can use store-bought paneer.
- Dice bell peppers and onions.
- Mix all the ingredients together, except Pam spray and of course skewers 🙂 . I did not use turmeric in this recipe as I wanted to retain the white color of the paneer. However, the red chili powder had some other plans for the paneer.. 🙁 I think I should have used black pepper instead.
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes. I marinated it for 1 hour.
- Meantime, soak bamboo skewers in water. This prevents the skewer from burning when grilling the kebabs. Can use metallic skewers too.
- Preheat the broiler or the grill.
- Skewer Paneer and vegetables with 1 bell pepper piece, 1 paneer or onion piece and 1 green bell pepper piece. I repeated the same order again and again until all the pieces were skewered on to the skewers. I followed that order, the tri-colors of our Indian flag. Spray the skewers with Pam or brush the kebabs with oil.
- Grill them for 7-8 minutes and turn them around, spray little bit of Pam and grill for another 5 minutes. If the kebabs are not cooked, turned them around again and cook for another 5 minutes. I grilled them for 15 minutes. Oven temperatures vary from oven to oven. Grill them until the vegetables are cooked and the paneer turns light orange shade or until done.
- For presentation, I skewered 1 red bell pepper, 1 paneer and 1 green bell pepper to an hors d’oeuvre pick. Can use a tooth pick as well. This way, it is easy to serve. I garnished the platter with carrots, onion and celery, to go with the Indian flag theme.
I am sending these colorful kebabs to AsanKhana’s Lets Play with Colors to celebrate Holi.