Recipe: This almond pesto and paneer tikka is bursting with flavour

And it is so simple to put together

Popular chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent fame is known for creative flavour combinations you might never pair together. Beet and peanut butter, anybody? Emailing us from Delhi, where he is hard at work on new menus for his restaurants in Delhi and New York, including a new line-up for the summer — the 47-year-old shares another nut-inspired recipe, this time with the goodness of almonds. And given we are all working on our summer bodies right now, we took the opportunity to ask the chef how to enhance the flavour of almonds while not compromising on their nutritional quotient.

He responded, “Almonds can be consumed in various forms: roasted, plainly salted or even flavoured. They are also an excellent addition to traditional sweets or savouries. For example, you could add almonds to your kheer, gujiya and barfi. Almonds also offer a crunchy and nutty taste.”

Almond Pesto And Paneer Tikka

For paneer
 cottage cheese 250 gms
 almond flakes ¼ cup
 fresh coriander leaves ¼ cup
 basil 8-10 leaves
 chopped ginger 2 tsp
 chopped green chilli 1 tsp
 salt to taste
 grated parmesan cheese 2 tbsp
 chaat masala ½ tsp

For marination
 fresh cream ½ cup
 chopped fresh coriander roots ½ tsp
 green cardamom powder a pinch
 turmeric powder a pinch
 salt to taste
 refined oil 1 tbsp

• Roast the almond flakes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 4 minutes and crush it to
powder form once cooled.
• Blend fresh basil, coriander leaves, chopped ginger, chopped green chilli, chaat masala, and salt to
coarse paste.
• In a bowl; take out the blended mix and add grated parmesan cheese, crushed almonds and mix it well.
• In a bowl, mix fresh cream, chopped fresh coriander roots, green cardamom powder and a pinch of
turmeric powder to get a pale yellow colour. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
• Cut the paneer in 2'x2'; size with 1' of thickness. Slit paneer pieces from centre to fill it with pesto.
• Fill in pesto mix inside the slit. Coat the paneer with yellow marinate.
• Heat refined oil in a pan, sear marinated paneer evenly on both sides to get golden brown colour.
• Once done, take off paneer from pan and serve hot with chutney.

Perfect pairings

The chef tells us that when it comes to pairing with other ingredients to create healthy recipes, almonds make for a great choice, as they are easy and quick to flavour and go with just about any Indian spice. 

■ Almonds go well with cinnamon, so you can choose to use them in your apple pies; they go well with apricots as well. Summers are great for fresh apricots, so use them with salads or desserts. 

■ Almonds are a wonderful taste enhancer; you can pair them well with asparagus too as they both have a nutty flavour.

■ Another delightful pairing is with chicken. You can add almonds to grilled chicken, it turns bland chicken into rich flavourful meat.

Shared by Chef Manish Mehrotra

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