In Which We Make Paneer Shashlik

Enjoy with beer and Indian nibbles

So this is one of the fiancé’s recipe: his take on the paneer shashlik we usually order from the local take-away (which, thankfully, still delivers to our new flat). It’s not a proper shashlik, which is usually cooked on skewers (I’m pretty sure ‘shashlik’ means skewer or cooked on a skewer), as we just bake everything in the oven.

This is a very simple recipe – cut everything up, chuck in a deep baking tray with spices, then bake. A one-pot dish, if you like that kinda thing. He also whipped up a super-garlicky tzatziki twist on the usual mint sauce, which was amaze-balls! We had it with some pre-made Indian nibbles (bhajis, pakoras and samosas – these aren’t GF, BTW), but you could have this on its own or with rice or naan. (Fun fact: ‘naan’ means ‘bread’, so when you say ‘naan bread’ you’re really saying ‘bread bread’.)

Paneer Shashlik

Serves 2 on its own or 4 as a part of a meal

For the paneer
2 large red peppers, cut into chunks
2 large tomatoes, halved
1 white onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
2 packets paneer, thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli power
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
coriander (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the mint tzatziki
1/2 cucumber
4 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons garlic purée
juice of 1/2 lemon
handful of mint, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (180˚C fan).

Put all the vegetables and the paneer into a deep baking tray, scatter over the spices, drizzle over the oil and season with plenty of salt. Mix everything together well with your hands (hand are best, but if you’re squeamish about the mess, you could instead use a large spoon ). Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check the paneer is nice and crispy on the outside but not burnt. Give it an extra 15 minutes, if needed.

Meanwhile, prepare the tzatziki. Grate or julienne the cucumber and squeeze out as much excess juice as possible. (Julienne means ‘cut into short, thin strips’; you can do this using a julienne peeler – so much easier than cutting by hand.) In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and half the mint leaves, then season to taste. Stir in the cucumber, then scatter over the remaining mint leaves.

Dish up the paneer and roasted veggies and season generously with freshly ground pepper (I like a mix of red, green and black peppercorns, but whatever rocks your boat). Scatter over some fresh coriander (if that’s your jam – the fiancé loves it but I think it’s incredibly disgusting and ruins any dish, so the photo above is his plate.) Serve alongside the cooked paneer shashlik, and any nibbles or sides you want.

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