This hariyali paneer is a perfect addition for grilling and barbecue season. It’s spicy and herby, yet fresh from the abundance of mint.
Honestly I’m here for all things grilled. And to be fair I’m also here for all things paneer.
You will find me with a plate of grilled paneer anytime I eat out. Be it paneer tikka, tandoori paneer, or hariyali paneer. They are hands down some of my favourite dishes to order and to eat.
If you’re a fan of of spicy grilled paneer that’s also fragrant fresh, and packing an abundance of flavour. Then you’re in the right place. This is one recipe you need to add to your repertoire for grilling season.
Grilled Hariyali Paneer
Hariyali is a dish originating from North India that’s essentially made from a base of a fragrant green chutney and yoghurt. It can be served as a curry or used as a marinade and grilled in the way that I’ve done here.
The first time I tried a hariyali dish was around 3 or 4 years ago and I have been hooked on it since. I haven’t seen it on menus as frequently as I’ve seen tikka dishes but it really deserves more appreciation and credit.
It’s hugely underrated and if you’ve never tried it before then you really have to make this one.
This hariyali paneer uses one of my all time favourite marinades and it’s grilled and charred to perfection. Hariyali paneer and hariyali soya are 2 dishes I’ve ordered frequently in the past and grilled up whenever it’s barbecue season.
This dish is so incredibly fragrant and flavourful, it’s also spicy and fresh. It’s a guaranteed hit for any barbecues and I’m going to show you how to make this in an oven so you can enjoy it any time of the year.
My family love this dish and we prefer it grilled rather than served as a curry. The smoky charcoal element is completely unparalleled and enhances the spices within the marinade.
What you’ll need for hariyali paneer
- Greek yoghurt
- Green chillies
- Garam masala
- Coriander power
- Cumin powder
- Dried kasuri methi – dried fenugreek leaves which add flavour and fragrance. Will be found in the world foods aisle in supermarkets or in specific south Asian supermarkets
- Dried mango powder – adds sourness. Substitute with tamarind powder or lemon juice if not available
- Black salt – adds a touch of umami-ness and a chaat vibe. This will be also be available in south Asian supermarkets
- Gram flour (chickpea flour)
- Corn flour – a mix of corn flour and gram flour will help to retain the vibrant green colour whilst still binding the marinade vs using gram flour alone
What is paneer?
Paneer is an Indian cheese that’s made by curdling milk with some form of acid. The whey is then strained out and the curds are compressed to form a cohesive block.
Because it hasn’t been seasoned, it’s pretty flavourless on its own. It also has quite a rubbery texture – though fresh paneer is much softer and more creamy.
Most large supermarkets will stock paneer in the refrigerated section, however it can also be found in Indian supermarkets. You’ll normally find it sold in blocks, but if you really struggle then make your own.
There are some great recipes online and plenty of videos on Youtube. The only risk with making fresh paneer is that it can sometimes be crumbly and hence will be difficult to skewer.
Can I make this vegan?
Yes definitely. Substitute the Greek yoghurt for a vegan alternative and use tofu/soya/seitan instead of paneer. If you’re using tofu make sure it’s extra firm and not silken. Skewering tofu can be tricky so it’s better to cut the tofu into slabs and grill it like that.
These vegan substitutes won’t be hariyali paneer but they’ll be just as good! If your yoghurt isn’t as thick as traditional Greek yoghurt then add additional gram flour and corn flour to help this bind. The last thing you want is for the marinade to drip off during grilling.
I have seen vegan paneer in the supermarkets recently so that might work well here. I haven’t tried it myself so please let me know how that works for you guys. It sounds promising!
How do I make hariyali paneer without a barbecue/grill?
Preheat your oven to 220’C fan/240’C conventional. Skewer your paneer as normal and rest the ends of the skewers on a roasting tray so that the paneer isn’t touching the base of the tray.
Just make sure to place some baking paper at the base of the tray to catch any drippings – makes for a much easier clean up.
Turn your skewers half way through if you feel like it’s not cooking evenly on all surfaces. Then use a kitchen blow torch to char the paneer for that barbecue effect.
It’s an inexpensive gadget and really handy for charring without a gas-hob or barbecue. I use mine a lot and it’s one of my favourite kitchen gadgets. Just be careful not to leave it anywhere that’s accessible to children.
I’ll link the one that I use below:
(The gas has to be purchased separately)
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Can I make the hariyali paneer in advance?
Yes and I actually advise it. Let the paneer marinate for a minimum of 1 hour, but 12-24 hours will provide the best results. In terms of grilling, they’re best served fresh so I wouldn’t grill them in advance.
Make sure to skewer them after they’ve marinated and then you’re good to grill. This means you can prepare the marinade and paneer the day before so it’s just a case of skewering on the day of the barbecue.
How long will the marinade keep?
As the hariyali marinade is dairy based, 3-4 days refrigerated is a safe measure. It can discolour if left exposed to air as the top surface will oxidise – simply stir this again and it will go back to it’s normal colour.
There won’t be any impact to flavour.
Leftover marinade is a great addition for roast potatoes. You can simply par boil your potatoes till knife tender, toss in the marinade and roast until perfectly crisp. It’s honestly delicious! It even goes well with pasta so feel free to use it however you please.
- Marinate, marinate, marinate – it’s the only way to to maximise the flavour as paneer itself is quite bland
- Use metal skewers rather than wooden ones. They’re more durable and don’t burn and break whilst grilling
- Grease metal skewers with oil to allow for easy paneer removal after grilling
- Adjust the spice level to your preference by using fewer/omitting the green chillies
- Allow some space between each paneer on the skewer to ensure that all surfaces are in contact with the heat
- After barbecuing or charring with the blow torch, brush with melted butter/ghee for flavour and a lovely shine
How to make the hariyali marinade
1) Blend yoghurt with herbs and aromatics
2) Add in ground spices and salt
3) Add gram flour and corn flour, mix to combine
4) Toss paneer in marinade. Refrigerate in a sealed contained and marinate
5) Skewer paneer and rest on a roasting tray if using an oven
6) Roast or grill
7) Then char with a blow torch (not required if using a barbecue)
How should I serve this?
I’ve served this with my simple mint sauce and with some pickled red onions. For the pickled red onions just slice them finely and either marinate in lemon juice with a pinch of salt (overnight if you can) or make a quick pickling liquid.
For the quick pickling just simmer water, white vinegar and sugar in a ratio of 3:2:1 along with a pinch of salt. Simmer this till just bubbling and then pour directly over your red onions in a heat resistant jar.
E.g. 60g water to 40g vinegar to 20g sugar, and a pinch of salt.
Allow this to cool to room temperature and then cover with a lid to seal. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins. The colour change and the softening of the red onions is a good sign to know when it’s pickled.
Grilled Hariyali Paneer
- 140 g Greek yogurt
- 75 g coriander
- 60 g mint
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 1 or 2 green chillies
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried kasuri methi crushed (also known as dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1 tsp dried mango powder (amchoor)
- 1/2 tsp black salt
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 4 tbsp gram flour
- 1 kg paneer cut into 1cm thick slices
- Blend the yoghurt, coriander, mint, garlic, ginger and chillies until completely smooth
- Then add all the ground spices, salt and kasuri methi (crush the kasuri methi between your palms)
- Add corn flour and gram flour, then mix to combine
- Mix your marinade and paneer pieces and marinate for a minimum of 1 hour. 12-24hours gives the best results so you can definitely prepare this the day before
On the day of grilling:
- Preheat your oven to 220’C fan/240’C conventional (if using an oven) or get your barbecue set up and running
- Place each piece of paneer on a skewer allowing some space between each one. This allows the heat to evenly cook the marinade on all surfaces
- If using a home oven, allow to roast for 11-12 mins, turning the skewers over half way if needed. Alternatively barbecue until lightly charred
- If you used a home oven, use a kitchen blowtorch to char after roasting
- Brush the paneer with melted butter or ghee straight off the grill
- Serve with mint yogurt and pickled onions