11 April, 2017

Tawa Paneer Recipe | Simple and Quick Paneer Recipes

Learn how to make Tawa Paneer ~ Griddle roasted Indian cottage cheese and veggies marinated in aromatic spices

When last week LD’s spring break began, I was euphoric! No school meant waking up late, no running around the house prepping breakfast, ironing school uniforms, shouting at top of my voice asking LD to finish his breakfast for hundredth time in a minute, watching my hair turn grey as he finishes his morning business at snail’s pace, pulling my hair in anxiety as he asks hundreds of questions while sitting on a potty, and literally dragging him out of the house and all the way to school to make sure we are just in time before the school bell rings! Only to come back home to sink full of dishes, basketful of laundry, high pile of cloths to be ironed, mountain high work load, photography assignments, answering to dozens of emails, and of course, worrying about what to cook for dinner and if time permits, food photo shoot for the blog!

6 hours of back breaking work later, I am ready to rush back to school to take him for after-school activities and bring him back home. Before I know it, it’s time to make dinner, watch him slowly pick small spoonful of food at snail’s pace for over an hour, snatch the spoon from him hand and shovel what is now ice cold dinner that I slaved to cook, watch my hair turn grey and fall as he slowly brushes his teeth before tucking him into bed after reading half a dozen stories! If I am not snoozing or half dead by then, stare at telly with hubby or stare at the blinking curser wishing and even praying for some words to magically pop in my half dead brain and flow into my finger tips to tap dance on the keyboard for a blog post! By the time I hit the sack, it doesn’t take more than couple of moments to fall into dreamless sleep after my head touches the pillow, if not hit by migraine or insomnia! 7 hours later, I am ready for another day of routine! That’s when I desperately look forward to school holidays…

One week into 2 weeks of spring break, I am ‘almost’ looking forward for the schools to re-open!

Like every school holidays, this spring break started off positive. I purchased some fun board games, bought art and crafts supply, looked up online for DIY projects, loaded fridge and freezer with his favourite fruits, vegetables and treats, planned for long walks in the woods and parks, noted down the opening times for museums and indoor play areas and every possible thing to keep him occupied. With all these activities and things to do, how could he possibly get bored? This will be a breeze, right? Except, it isn’t!

Just 2 days into the spring break and LD was like “Amma, I am hungry.” “Amma, I am bored.” “Amma, what next?” I can understand that for a child who thrives on routine, school holidays are bit confusing as much as they are exciting. Except for couple of days of sunshine, the weather has been anything but good, so going outside was rough. Every indoor play area was a mob scene as, well, everyone’s home from school! After trying to match his never ceding energy, I have been introduced to sore muscles in my body that I never knew existed! We let him go to bed early after a tiring day, and he woke up early! We even let him stay late, and guess what? Yup, he woke up early!!!! As a final straw, I resigned myself extra screen times on tablets and telly as school holidays is about surviving, but only to find LD complaining how bored he is after half an hour!


Bored after getting up at his usual time to raid fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards to eat ice creams, popsicles, cookies, chocolates? Just today I found half cut water melon with crates like the ones on moon’s surface after some little hands dug out its red flesh with fingers and spoons!

Bored after turning his play room upside down with toys, books and 1000 piece puzzles scattered all over the room!

Bored after jumping on the until the bed frame almost gave up and broke down!

Bored after splashing the water in the bath tub all over the floor, making his parents almost slip and break their bones!

Bored after squeezing the paint all over the floor, hands, face, hair and everywhere except on the intended book/canvas!

Bored after jumping in the muddy puddle and running inside the house making muddy feet prints all over the floor, carpets!

Bored after riding the bike on steep slope, making his parents run behind him like Usain Bolt, laughing all the way and falling because in between all the craziness he forgot to press the break!

Bored after splashing water from his water guns on snoring parents early in the morning!

Yeah, right! Who ever said ‘silence is golden’, they were right. Unless you have a kid as silence spells trouble big capital T!

Tell me, will it be weird if I kiss the school grounds and cry tears of joy when I drop off my kid at school at the end of this spring break? My first day goal of making cookies with LD, reading books, having quality time and making lasting memories seem to be slowly fading away and it will be a miracle if I can make it through the day without yelling! ;) Ah, the joys of motherhood!

To make my life little easy, I have been resorting to simple, quick recipes that’s easy to put together under 30 mins! One such recipe is Tawa Paneer where paneer and veggies are marinated with aromatic spice mix and cooked in a griddle until its seared nice and brown. Its sound quite simple and easy, right? That’s because it is simple. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity, as there is some complex flavours going on in this Tawa Paneer that makes it one of the best paneer recipes ever! The crunch from bell peppers, sweetness from onions, and the creaminess of paneer is elevated with carefully selected spices giving it that sublime flavour that delights and enslaves our taste buds. This Tawa Paneer is a dry curry, but the cherry tomatoes that is added towards the end of cooking gives it a burst of juicy sweet and tart flavour. It is a wonderful dish to make with your kids who are keen to help with cooking. I let LD chop bell peppers with a blunt knife and he was too happy to tell his dad that he made the dinner with little help from mom! ;)

With all that whining and moaning I do, motherhood is truly a blessing and pure unadulterated, sheer joy! It has made me realise my full potential and makes me work hard to give my best shot at whatever challenges life decides to swing my way. It has made me a better person, a good human being who puts the happiness and well-being of another person before my own. Motherhood brings lot of responsibility, challenges and sometimes, tears, but at the same time it has brought happiness, content, love and a great strength that I was unaware of! It is a pure joy to watch him learn, discover, be amazed and find joys in the smallest things that makes life worth living. And truth be told, I really enjoy his mischief, pranks, and surprises that he throws at me when I am least expecting them. Quite frankly, it's great fun to be troubled by him and to trouble him back. ;)

We are packing our bags and driving up North to meet friends and spend Easter break with them. I will miss having LD to all to myself, listening to his never-ending conversations, and answering to his hundreds of questions that he throws at me at lightning speed. With less than a week of holidays left, I am going to take a break from virtual world for much needed digital detox and enjoy the company of friends in real world. We will meet and catch up after a week or so… Until then, have fun, relax and do something that you love. :)

Tawa Paneer (Griddle roasted Indian cottage cheese and veggies marinated in aromatic spices)
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Resting Time: 10-30 mins
Cooking Time: 10-12 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low to Medium
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days
Serving Suggestion: With any Indian flat breads (Whole Wheat Naan or Butter Naan or with any stuffed parathas) or plain/flavoured Basmati rice (Read Notes)

250 gms of Paneer, cut into 1 inch cubes
2½ - 3 cups Bell Peppers, cut into 1 inch squares (I have used combination of green, red and orange bell peppers)
1 large Onion, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes or 2 medium Tomatoes
1½ tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
2-3 tbsp Fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Juice from ½ Lime (Adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste

Spices Used:
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
½ - 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (adjust as per taste)
¾ - 1 tbsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
½ tsp Garam Masala (Adjust as per taste)
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 – 1½ tbsp. Oil

  1. Peel and chop onions into 1 inch pieces. Transfer them to large mixing bowl.
  2. Wash and cut bell peppers in the centre. Remove the stems, seeds and inner membranes. Chop the bell peppers to 1 inch squares and add them to mixing bowl.
  3. Cut the paneer block into 1 inch pieces and add them to the mixing bowl with chopped onions and bell peppers.
  4. Take a bowl and mix turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala and salt to taste and mix them all well.
  5. Sprinkle the spice mix into the bowl with onions, bell peppers and paneer and mix them all well so that every piece is well coated with the spices. Cover and keep it aside to marinate for 10 to 30 mins.
  6. While the paneer and veggies are marinating, cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. If using large tomatoes, cut them into 1 inch pieces and keep them aside.
  7. Finely chop the fresh coriander leaves and keep them aside.

Proceed to cook:
  1. Heat tawa or griddle on a medium flame. If you are not comfortable to use griddle for cooking, use any large flat bottomed pan instead.
  2. Once the griddle is hot, add oil and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds sizzle and change colour to deeper shade, add ginger-garlic paste and fry until the raw smell disappears, about 2 mins.
  3. Next add marinated vegetables and paneer and spread them well on the griddle or pan allowing every piece to be in contact with the skillet/pan. Increase the heat to medium-high and let it pan fry undisturbed for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Flip the paneer and vegetables and allow it to get seared nice and dark or even little charred for 2-3 minutes on medium-high flame.
  5. Reduce the flame to medium and toss the veggies and paneer for 2-3 minutes so that they get seared on all other sides.
  6. Turn off the flame and mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and diced tomatoes. Squeeze in freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice as per taste and ix them well.
  7. Cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes for all the flavours to blend well.
  8. Gently re-heat before serving it hot or warm as a side dish with any Indian flat breads (roti, naan, kulcha, or phulka) or with flavoured basmati rice.
  9. This Tawa Paneer makes a wonderful filling for veggie wraps, kati roll or pitta bread with some fresh salad leaves (lettuce or rocket), sliced onions, tomatoes, cucumber, shaved or julienned carrots and shredded cabbage. Drizzle some spicy green chutney or chilli sauce for added spice kick.
  10. You can serve this Tawa Paneer as a delicious appetizer with some spicy green chutney as well. For green chutney, you need 1 tightly packed cup of coriander leaves, ½ cup of mint leaves, 2-4 green chillies, juice from ½ lime and salt to taste. Grind them all to fine paste by adding about ¼ - ½ cup water.

Sia’s Notes:
  • You can replace paneer with firm tofu or boiled potatoes for vegan option.
  • You can skip marinating the veggie and paneer pieces if you short on time. But I do recommend marinating them for at least 10 minutes as it adds depth of flavour.
  • Adding fresh tomatoes in the end is optional. We like the burst of freshness and the texture the juicy tomatoes add which contrasts with the crunch of bell peppers and softness from spicy paneer pieces.
  • To serve these Tawa Paneer, gently re-heat before serving it hot or warm as a side dish with any Indian flat breads (roti, naan, kulcha, or phulka) or with flavoured basmati rice.
  • This Tawa Paneer makes a wonderful filling for veggie wraps, kati roll using whole wheat tortillas or rotis or stuffed in pitta bread with some fresh salad leaves (lettuce, baby spinach or rocket), sliced onions, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado shaved or julienned carrots and shredded cabbage or any combination of veggies of your choice Drizzle some spicy green chutney or chilli sauce for added spice kick.
  • You can serve this Tawa Paneer as a delicious appetizer with some spicy green chutney as well. For green chutney, you need 1 tightly packed cup of coriander leaves, ½ cup of mint leaves, 2-4 green chillies, juice from ½ lime and salt to taste. Grind them all to fine paste by adding about ¼ - ½ cup water.


  1. Mmm This looks YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. This looks delicious and judging by your photos, smells amazing too! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the spice mix you use and such a satisfying dish for vegetarians or meat eaters alike

  4. I'm so intrigued by this and am definitely bookmarking it to try. Not only does it sound so tasty, but it's absolutely stunning! Your photographs are gorgeous. Truly beautiful!

  5. This looks SO good and such great timing as I have a block of paneer in the fridge!!! I never get the crispy edges quite like you have done. will follow the recipe and hopefully get that tasty texture. Thanks!

  6. Hi Sia..this looks yumm! Just in case I want to follow the same recipe for Tawa veg..what veggies can I add & which ones do I give a skip?

    Am also looking for healthier and tastier version of cooking veggies..can you give me some options/ recipe titles?

    Much Love,
    Viji Deshik.

  7. Like the versatility of this dish Sia, will try it as a filling in a wrap. The pictures here are stunning!!


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