Spicy paneer tikka skewered with vegetables and whopped on the barbecue, salty feta paired with sweet, juicy watermelon and a sort of deconstructed (or reconstructed) tricolore salad – they’re all lovely as part of a summery lunch and two of them you don’t even need to cook. Just grab the basic ingredients and a few wooden skewers and/or cocktail sticks and you’re off.
I based the paneer recipe mostly on one from Geeta Seth at North Indian Cooking; the inspiration for the other two came from Andie and Carol, who made them for my sister-in-law’s birthday party. Sticking them in a foil-covered potato to simulate a hedgehog is optional.
For the feta and watermelon, simply cut the melon and cheese into small cubes (removing the seeds from the watermelon) and, using cocktail sticks, sandwich a chunk of feta between a couple of pieces of watermelon. How easy is that?
For the tricolore-on-a-stick, cube some mozzarella (not the super-expensive buffalo mozzarella this time, it’s too wet and creamy), and spike each cube on a cocktail stick with a cherry tomato and a leaf of basil. Sprinkle with a little salt if you like.
The paneer tikka is a bit more time-consuming but once you’ve made the marinade it’s simple. Geeta suggests frying the peppers and onions briefly first, because they take longer to cook than the cheese.
The paneer breaks up easily so she also says it’s best to halve the paste and put the cheese and veg in separate bowls to marinate, and take the paneer out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature before you try to put it on skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for half an hour first, so they don’t burn.
I barbecued these but you can grill them or oven-cook – please see Geeta’s post.
Serve the paneer tikka with a fresh mint chutney.
30g of mint leaves, weighed after stripping from the stems, washed and patted dry on kitchen paper
15g fresh coriander
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 fresh red or green chilli
Juice of 1/2 a lime (or more, to taste)
1 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. This is quite a poky chutney, so if you’d like it milder, deseed the chilli.
It will keep in the fridge for a day or so but it’s best eaten as fresh as possible.
As this post is both seasonal and thoroughly cheesy, I’m entering it for this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge at Fromage Homage.