May 24, 2010

A Prelude to A Giveaway.. Grilling Ideas, Tandoori Paneer

You probably have seen it on every blog in the last two months.. You probably left a comment here, left a comment there , left a comment everywhere in the hope of being the happy winner...You probably buy lottery tickets every Friday and join in the office pool..
So what 's the best chance of winning something..I would say try, try and  try again...and again..
Last week, I was contacted by the team from CSN Stores to see if I was interested in doing a giveaway at my blog too. Should I do it?   Of course I said yes..since someone somewhere (actually only in US and Canada) is cut out just for this gift.
This giveaway is open to all, anyone of you can enter to try and win a $100 gift certificate from CSN stores which you can use to buy anything from their 200+ stores.
The actual giveaway will follow soon, so stay tuned and don’t forget to check back here.
I am still gathering my BBQ ideas, which nobody except my 3 loyal readers wanted to enrich me on...Every year, when BBQ seasons rolls around, I start combing the net for that are spicy to our Indian palate yet grillable.. so this time I am making a list of what we usually make and hoping others can add to it so if there are grillers out there looking for ideas, they can start with this.
So I decided to start the conversation describing all previous BBQ ideas with my friends and see if anyone liked it. 
Our typical BBQ are held outdoors as a fun group effort with a whole lot of planning...all centered on food!! We use the public grills at the State Parks and we take everything from the charcoal to the food. Nowadays we get another metal tray to place over the grills just to make sure that its hygienic. And we use foil to grill veggies instead of placing it over the grills directly. More later.
 Here are two  links to get facts about BBQ what-to-do and what-not-to-do. Food network also has some tips for foolproof grilling.

So what have we grilled?
Eggplant, Zucchini, Bell peppers, Onions, Broccoli,Mushrooms, Asparagus.. pretty much anything tastes good after a slight grilling but some veggies like being grilled, especially potatoes. They turn into something really different under the heat..crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. The method and time for grilling each one is slightly different.

Then comes Paneer.. ever tried grilled paneer? We start out making these for the vegetarians but always make extra paneer coz even the non-vegetarians can't resist the spiced up texture of this cheese. Here it's done with two marinades.. the red one is tandoori paneer and the green one is hara bara chutney paneer. Grilled Tofu still hasn't taken off in my group but I am working on them. 

Of course we grill meat..chicken tandoori is a staple and any BBQ is incomplete without it. There is also chicken kebabs, tangdi kebabs, chicken tikkas, chicken tikkas in green marinade, and any other form of chicken that u can think of. Our diverse circle has experimented with everything with good and bad results.

Beef is not so popular and gets limited to the burgers and hot dogs, though beef in Bihari Kebab masala is really good. Else throw on a good steak, or grilled gyros, fajitas and  salsa would have been great choices.

Ground Beef and Mutton lends itself to good burger-like spicy kebabs too. Home made though..

Once in a while there is also fish.. salmon, tilapia, shrimp all of which taste good right off the grill but are delicate to carry and cook. They get cooked first and in the first pangs of hunger, disappear fast..

This is all for now.. I should continue later with the sides and dessert. If you want recipes for any of the items, leave a comment.

Hara Bara Paneer, with Chutney Marinade:
Make pudina chutney as usual following any green chutney recipe that you usually use. Here is one that I use.

Fresh pudina/mint leaves – a big bunch
Coriander/Cilantro – a handful just the leaves and top stems
Onions –1/2 of a small one or three shallots
Garlic – 3 cloves
Cumin Seeds-1/4 tsp
Ginger –  1/2 -inch piece
Green Chillies – 5-6 nos (alter to suit your taste)
Sugar – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Lemon Juice- juice of a lemon
  1. Wash the leaves, coriander well. Blend all the ingredients except lemon juice together to a smooth paste in a food processor with very little water(2-3 tbsp). Try doing it in batches if the blender/food processor can't do it at one go. The lesser the water, the less runny your chutney, and longer the life.
  2. Add the lemon juice and salt and adjust taste. Pudina/Mint chutney ready.. Some people make this chutney with more Dhania/cilantro and very little Mint to get a different flavor.
  3. Now to make the marinade for the paneer, make this chutney a little tangier and spicier by adding more green chili , kala namak/black salt, more cumin powder.. or just add a spoon of the all purpose concoction..Chaat Masala. The Paneer barely absorbs the spices so the marinade should be spicier and tangier than the final taste that you want.
 (Chaat Masala is made of  amchoor (dried mango powder),cumin,ground black salt, ground coriander, ground ginger,  black pepper, sometimes red chili powder.)
So marinate the paneer cubes in this marinade for overnight or at least 2-3 hrs. Before grilling, cover a tray with foil and brush the foil with oil liberally. Place the paneer and grill for 3-4 minute son each side. You could do this in the oven too. Preheat oven to 350 F and grill for 6-8 minutes or till you get a nice crust on each side. If you forget to spray or brush the foil with oil, the paneer will stick to it and you will lose your marinade sides.
Just before serving , sprinkle with some salt and lemon juice.

Tandoori Paneer

Use store bought Tandoori Masala of your choice or make it as per the recipe. If you are using the Shaan or National brands, they are all high in salt so don't add any more salt . Sometimes we take some of that spice and dilute it with more garam masala, paprika, ginger-garlic paste. Cut the paneer as you prefer but remember too thin and too small will crumble on cooking.
This method is for laying the paneer straight on baking tray . Alternately, you could thread it onto metal skewers and also alternate the paneer pieces with onions an tomatoes.

 Paneer(cottage cheese)-400gm cut into 2" cubes of paneer
Tandoori Masala (see recipe below)-4-5 tbsps
Yogurt-3-4 tbsp
Cooking oil/ Olive oil/sunflower oil-2 tbsp
Chaat Masala -for garnish
Lemon wedges to garnish

Tandoori Masala:
  • 2 tbsp. of Cumin Seeds
  • 2 tsp. of Coriander Seeds (Saabut Dhania)
  • 1 Cinnamon Sticks (Dal Cheeni)
  • 1 tsp. of Cloves
  • 1 tsp. of Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika/kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp. of Ginger Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. of Mace Powder

Dry roast all the whole spices until they smoke. Cool and dry grind in a grinder. Store and use for a month.
  1. Mix  the  Tandoori Masala with the yogurt, the oil and salt to taste and make a marinade. Taste it and adjust the spice level as needed.
  2. Marinate the paneer with this paste taking care not to break the paneer pieces. Place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hrs.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium. If you are placing the foil directly on the outdoor grill, the embers have to burn first and then be on high heat as it will burn thru the foil.  We use a slotted tray similar to this over   over the grill to act as a buffer. Line the slotted tray with foil and brush liberally with cooking oil. Place the paneer separately without crowding on the foil  and brush or spray each paneer  with some oil. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side or till paneer is browned on each side Do not overcook or the paneer will become rubbery. 
  4. This can be done in the oven too. Preheat oven to 350 and lien a baking tray with foil and spray with oil. Place the paneer pieces on it ,then place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes on each side. Brush each paneer piece with a bit of oil to get a crunchy crust.
  5. Remove onto a plate and sprinkle with lemon juice and Chaat Masala if you like the flavor of the masala. 


Nitha said...

Never tried or never have seen this being done... But I know that this tastes yummy.. The pics looks perfect :)

amna said...

recipe for the paneer please (both) :)

Rekha shoban said...

grilling looks perfect and colourful...gud job.

sra said...

I'd have liked to enrich you too, just that I don't know much about bbqs! Maybe you can make some dessert with bbqd (grilled) pineapple?

J said...

Yeah, I want the recipes for all the gorgeous dishes you've mentioned as well as the grilling times and methods for the veggies! Oh yum, you seem to prepare a huge variety of stuff! Looking forward to future posts here.

AdukalaVishesham said...

grilling looks awesome.. and all pics are really good... we are waiting for summer here in Seattle to start our grilling..

ARUNA said...

great job, nice grilling!!!

Ann said...

I haven't personally tried them, but theres a lot of buzz on food network and food mags about grilled pizza (egad!) and grilled fruits - like peach slices grilled and served with cream or in a cobbler...=)

smdatta said...

where are your bbq recipes ? need some !!!

Priya Suresh said...

Slurpp, irresistible grillings..

Vanamala Hebbar said...


Shah cooks said...

Nitha, u could try it at the oven at home and then start doing outside.. It's easy once you get the hang of the temperatures.

Shah cooks said...

Nags, hara paneer and tandoori paneer has been posted.. u could change it as you like. i would love to see ur additions to it.

Rekha.. griling always looks good to some of us and barbaric to the others.:)

Sra, hmm. grilled pineapple tastes great with whiped cream.. only problem is how to keep the cream cool.

Shah cooks said...

jyo.. aw.. u are making me do work!! alright.. will have it all for u.

Adukala, its still cold in Seattle? i see Seattle and i think rain!

Aruna, thanks..join in.

Ann, yeah, grilled pizza is a big thing.. if its thin crust, it does taste good..extra crispy crust and cheese.:)

Kannur Guy said...

I am currently on Atkins diet.. grilled items are a definite yes for atkins followers..can you pls put up the recipes of your chicken/sea food grills?
I had marinated lamb chops with almond & cashew paste and it was heaven..

Shoba Shrinivasan said...


First time on your site...Loved the look and feel of it...Loved your hara bara chutney recipe...Am planning to make it and grease a toast liberally with it!!! Great time grilling and have fun with it!


Shah cooks said...

kannur guy, will post all the recipes..i am just a bit slow. Would love to see ur version of the lamb chops.

Anonymous said...

Wow! perfect timing! I was searching for grilling recipes and was happy to see the topic here. Paneer recipes looks delicious. Will try that out. Please do post the vegetable, chicken and sea food recipes too whenever possible. I've heard pineapple grilled and then dipped in chocolate sauce/syrup is a very delicious dessert. I have to try that out too.


Anonymous said...

i tried this one for chicken it was superb.thanks for u r briyani receipe it more receipes

J said...

I made the tandoori paneer, chicken and hara bhara paneer and they were awesome!!!!!!! We were licking our fingers all the way....thanks for sharing! Waiting for some more bbq recipes now :)