Appetizers & Snacks

Achari Paneer Tikka – Skewered Indian Cheese With Pickling Spices



Achari comes from the word “Achaar” which means pickle in Hindi. Tikka is any kind of boneless meat or vegetables baked or roasted on skewers. Pickles in India are a serious business involving lots of spices, lots of oil & lots of solar energy. Achari is a method of using the pickling spices to make curries. The spice mix is pungent and resonant with bold flavors from fenugreek (methi dana), mustard (raai) & nigella(kalonji) seeds.These spices are not hot, rather they are pungent, quite bitter and have a very strong aroma.In pickles, they ferment over a period of time & give a tangy taste. In curries, they lend a really unique & piquant taste. Achaari preparations don’t taste like normal curries, the taste is acquired & unusual, but at the same time can be very very addictive. Having said that, this should not stop you from trying these skewers coz they are different and really delish. Give these tikkas a chance – trust me it will take you straight to India.You just need to stock up on few spices which last forever from indian stores.


Ingredients (Serves 2-3) 

  • 400 gms /14 oz paneer ( Indian cheese, pierced with a fork,cut into 1” cubes)
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10-12 grape tomatoes, whole
  • 1 medium red onion,diced
  • Oil for brushing
  • Lemon Wedges, Cilantro for garnish
  • 10-12 bamboo skewers


  1. Paneer is easily available in Indian stores under different brands.
  2. Paneer can be replaced by extra firm Tofu or Halloumi /Any cheese which can withstand grilling or roasting without melting.
  3. You can use any vegetables of choice here – zucchini,mushrooms work great. Just ensure that the cooking times of vegetable dont vary much.
  4. Dice the vegetables smaller/thinner than paneer, coz it takes less time to cook than veggies.
  5. For the Non vegetarian Version– Use boneless & cubed lamb, mutton, beef, chicken(dark portions) or shrimp.

For the Marinade:-

  • 1/2 tsp each of cumin, fennel, coriander & brown mustard (raai) seeds
  • 1/4 tsp each of nigella & fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies or red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp plain, thick greek yogurt, slightly sour
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mustard oil (preferable for better taste, can be substituted with canola/olive/corn oil) 
  • Salt to taste 


  • If using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for atleast 2-3 hours.
  • Soak the cubed paneer in enough warm water seasoned with salt for about 15 minutes.Once soaked, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  • In a small sauce pan, on high heat, lightly dry roast all the seeds under the “For the Marinade”.Roast for about 20 seconds or till you smell the aroma.Remove into a small bowl and let cool.
  • Next, in the same pan, roast the whole red chillies for about 20 seconds.
  • Tip the cooled, roasted spices along with red chillies into mortar or coffee grinder. Grind to a smooth powder to get a achari spice mix.
  • In a bowl (big enough to hold the marinade & ingredients), combine the yogurt, achari spice mix, ginger, garlic,oil,lemon juice & salt.Whisk well to mix.
  • Combine the paneer with the achari marinade,toss gently, cover the bowl with a cling film and set to marinate for 30 minutes,refrigerated. 
  • Add the vegetables to the marinade 5 minutes before ready to cook the skewers. This is important to keep the moisture of vegetables intact.
  • Once marinated, thread the marinated paneer & vegetables on soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with oil on all sides.
  • Cooking the Tikka :- I grilled the skewers on high for 4 minutes each side. You can cook them in my broiler till the paneer edges started to turn brown.About 10-12 minutes.You will need to flip them sideways to cook on all sides. Alternatively you can cook them in a skillet/griddle (about 8-10 minutes)
  • Serve warm with green coriander-mint chutney and flatbreads or rice. 


  1. If using red meat or chicken for making this recipe, marinate the meat overnight or atleast 6 hours to get better flavors.

59 thoughts on “Achari Paneer Tikka – Skewered Indian Cheese With Pickling Spices

  1. Looks delicious…I’ve never made paneer before and we didn’t eat it growing up either. Would be a great recipe to try! Thx for sharing!

  2. While going through your post I felt you were narrating my story 🙂 We too grew up having paneer almost everyday. We used to get best quality of panner in North India. Though being a paneer fan I made many items with paneer but this achari version is something which I never attempted. Thanks a ton dear. Will make this next weekend for an evening party.
    Fab pics

    Hamaree Rasoi

  3. I saw a recipe similar to this one using haloumi cheese..I see now that it was an attempt to emitate paneer
    This sounds like an amazing meal…that marinade must add amazing flavors..
    P.S. you made me laugh with..married people will know what followed for the next half hour 🙂

  4. Gorgeous flavors, I’d love to know how to really use Indian spices properly. I’m going to try this one and see how I go. What do you recommend cutting my teeth on in terms of Indian cooking?

  5. I have to make this for my huband as he always asks me to make things that taste restaurant like! lol!! I LOVE paneer but most of the time I am not very happy with the kind of paneer I get in Bangalore especially after I tasted paneer in Delhi! I love achari spices and I am sure i can try it even with gobi or mushrooms 🙂

  6. Oh gosh! I cannot even say you outdo yourself each time as all your recipes are superb with absolutely drool worthy photographs. I am one of those paneer lovers but never tried this! Love the achari masalas in it.

  7. Wow this looks amazing! I would have guarded my lunchbox too if I had gourmet Indian food in it! I don’t know where I would find paneer in Hawaii,but I will definitely try it with tofu like you suggested. Thanks!!

  8. gosh that looks delicious! I LOVE paneer. have only ever had it in palak paneer though (i know, it;s sad): ) but now i’ve got one more recipe to add to my collection!

  9. My eyes light up at the sight of paneer and they certainly lit up at your lovely photos! Great recipe my friend. Maybe I’ll see if my mom will make this for me. 🙂

  10. Ha! I’m one Westerner who just might love paneer more than bacon! Looks terrific, as always. BTW, I think yours is the real Breakfast of Champions!

  11. To begin with,that made me hungry and I am craving for Achari Paneer Tikka now!The recipe sounds so delicious,my mouth is watering.In fact,sharing this on twitter too!
    P.S. Love the way you write,” Coz, I married an east indian guy who does not eat fish, LOVES north Indian (Punjabi) cuisine (but mostly dislikes paneer) & is crazy about coconut…confused? Me too!” This cracked me up!:-)

  12. I am missing out very delicious food then! I need to try Paneer. Looks like everyone knows what this is about and ohh I wish I can join the conversation of how good this is! Your photos are very convincing and I gotta try this really soon!

  13. Paneer puts a sparkle in my eye as well, and I’m not even Indian! I love the spices you’ve marinated the paneer in…makes it even better. As if that were possible!

  14. Tanvi, this paneer look delicious…love the spices and the grill marks. Must taste SO good!
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  15. Tanvi…With this post you have taken me back home to Delhi…I have barely been back for 3 days and apart from missing my family, I am also missing the yummy food…Paneer has to be one of my favourites and since I don’t get it very easily here, I substitute tofu for it…I know I can make it too…but laziness prevails 🙂

    A very, very beautiful post and a truely yummy recipe…

  16. Tanvi these paneer are just heavenly…I love every flavor here… restaurant indeed, if it is a 5 star establishment! Wow!!!

  17. I love, love, love paneer and was raised on it too (my Indian nanny was my 2nd mother, and she got me hooked on her amazing home cooking from age 2). Fantastic marinade and I love that this is a hearty meat substitute for those days you just want something filling but lighter.

  18. This feels so nostalgic.. as a completely Delhi girl now in China and that too in a very remote town I do miss Dilli ka khana, and the wonderful street food and your blog just reminded me of everything. I am going to make this on weekend for sure.. hubby will go nuts.. thanks 🙂

  19. This looks fabulous and I love your beautiful photographs. A sure eye candy.
    First time here and you surely have an awesome space, simply beautiful.

  20. I feel like I must eat some paneer now! Yours looks glorious, perfectly charred and oozing with spices and flavor. Yes, men sure do know how to hurt our feelings without even knowing or meaning to. It’s a gift. Sorry guys…

  21. Right now I am super tired to cook anything and looking at this dish .. i am drooling !!! Beautifully done and seriously who can say No to Paneer 🙂

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  23. I love achaari paneer tikka. My friend’s mom used to make it for us and you brought back those gastronomical memories. Thanks for sharing!

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