Firstly add ½ cup yogurt, ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste, ½ teaspoon garam masala, ⅛ teaspoon turmeric & ¼ teaspoon salt to a mixing bowl.
Mix well and taste test it. Add more salt if needed. Add paneer cubes & mix well to coat the marinade.
Optional - If using onions & bell peppers, then add ½ cubed onion layers & ½ cubed bell pepper and marinate well. Set this aside until the gravy is done.
How to make paneer tikka masala
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and add 1 cup chopped onions. Saute them well until transparent or golden.
Add 1½ cup tomatoes, 14 cashews, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Saute all of these well until the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.
Then add ¾ to 1 teaspoon red chilli powder & ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala, Saute all of these for 2 mins, until the masala smells good & aromatic.
Cool this completely and add to a blender. Pour ½ to ¾ cup water and blend to a smooth puree.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add 1½ teaspoon ginger garlic paste & saute for 1 to 2 mins, until the raw smell goes off.
Lower the flame and add the onion tomato puree. (Careful as it may splash)
If needed you can optionally add more chilli powder to achieve a brighter color.
Pour ½ to ¾ cup water to bring this to a consistency.
Cover and cook until the gravy turns thick and you see traces of oil on top.
Crush the kasuri methi in your palms and sprinkle it. (optional)
Taste the gravy & add more salt if needed. Rest this aside.
Making paneer tikka in oven or tawa
Option 1 - To make on griddle. Heat a tsp oil in a wide pan on a high flame, coat each paneer piece with the marinade & place on the griddle. Cook on a high flame till the marinade dries up and paneer turns golden. Similarly place the bell peppers and marinated onions and fry until the marinade dries up.
Option 2 - Grill in oven. Preheat the oven to 430 F or 220 C. Thread paneer, onion, bell pepper to a skewers. Then grill for 8 to 10 minutes on both sides until golden and crisp.
Option 3 - Air fryer. If your air fryer needs preheating, you may preheat it for 5 mins first. Thread paneer, onion, bell pepper to a skewers. Air fry the skewers placed in a tray at 390 F or 200 C for 5 mins. Brush them with the marinade and then air fry for another 2 mins. The marinade has to partially dry up. Also adjust the air fryer time as needed.
Transfer grilled paneer tikka along with veggies & onions to the tikka masala gravy.
Pour the cream. Gently mix. Garnish with cream and coriander leaves.
Serve paneer tikka masala with roti, butter naan or veg pulao.