Hariyali paneer

Hariyali paneer

Chargrilled paneer in green masala

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

Recipes vary for this particular tikka like no other. Mothers, chefs and other cooks all claim that theirs is the best. I claim no such thing, but this recipe works for me. I’ve given you two options for cooking it. One fries the paneer (Indian whey) first, the other simply marinates it raw. Try both and find out which suits you.

Good quality paneer is available in most local supermarkets. It usually comes in 250 g blocks. The marinade makes enough for 4 slabs but you could reduce the quantity to make less. Best to start the marinating a day before or at least in the morning for an evening grilling or barbequeing.


Quantity Ingredient
3 x 250 blocks paneer
a little melted butter or oil, for basting
vegetable oil, for deep-frying


Quantity Ingredient
2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour, (optional)
6-8 sprigs coriander, roughly chopped
2-3 sprigs mint, leaves picked
2-3 green chillies, seeded, if liked
10 cm piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2-3 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
salt, to taste
oil, for frying

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Baafaela chawal
or Masala bhaat
warm naan bread


  1. Cut each block of paneer into 6 rectangles – or small pieces if you prefer.
  2. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180˚C, or until a cube of day-old bread dropped into the oil browns in 30 seconds.
  3. Keep a large bowl half-filled with warm to hot water in it on the side of the cooker and a colander over a separate bowl.
  4. Deep-fry the paneer quickly in batches until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, place in the colander to drain off any excess oil and then straight into the water to soak. Alternatively, you can marinate the paneer straight from the packet. In restaurant kitchens we prefer to fry it first as it gives the paneer a better body and is easier to skewer and chargrill. The option is yours but you can try both methods in one go: simply fry half the paneer and leave half uncooked.
  5. Toast the chickpea flour gently in a small, dry frying pan, stirring all the time with a wooden spatula over a low heat for 3–4 minutes until the colour changes slightly and it smells toasted. Do not allow to burn.
  6. Tip the flour into a blender or food processor. Add all the remaining marinade ingredients and purée until smooth, adding a splash of water – but not too much – and stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and check the seasoning. Tip into a sealable container.
  7. Pat the paneer dry on paper towels, if fried. Squeeze each piece between your flattened palms, gently but firmly, and add to the marinade. Turn to coat completely. Seal and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight if more convenient.
  8. Rub the bars of the grill rack with oil, then heat the grill to high. Place the paneer pieces close together but not touching. Ideally brush them with a little melted butter or oil. Grill until browned on each side (2–3 minutes).
  9. You can also barbecue the paneer skewers. Take two skewers and skewer the pieces of paneer at either end, by this I mean two skewers into each piece so that you can have three or four pieces per pair of skewers (depending on the size of the skewers). This makes grilling and turning them over easier as when the paneer becomes soft it is difficult to flip over. Alternatively, use a hinged barbecue rack to hold the slices firmly in a single layer. Try not to place the paneer on the rack directly over the coals as it is likely to stick.
  10. Serve the paneer with rice, or as an accompaniment, or just on their own. Squeeze a little lime juice over before serving if you like.
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