Paneer tacos are an Indian-Mexican fusion dish incorporating Indian and Mexican flavors with paneer and a spiced yogurt marinade. The marinade is very fusion, with tomato paste, oregano, and Indian-style yogurt.
As someone who mostly eats vegetarian foods, I’m always looking for taco fillings that are not meat. And I often feel like there are not enough options for me at taco spots, where I often end up eating bean tacos.
I make paneer tacos often, always switching things up. I’ve tested this with both a wet marinade and a dry marinade. They both work, and if you don’t have tomato paste or yogurt, you can still make a version of this taco that tastes great. I really like the wet marinade that coats the taco and is reminiscent of achiote chicken.
We serve this as a family meal in my house, but it could do well in a taco bar. You could set up the different ingredients to be assembled by your guests. It’s a great way to provide a vegetarian option in a taco bar spread.
Paneer – the main cheese of Indian food
Tortillas – prefer street-style tortillas. The tortillas were a recent update, something I’ve discovered at Trader Joe’s recently.
Indian Mexican fusion is growing in popularity. In fact, we have a Mexican Fusion restaurant fairly close by, in Los Angeles. Mexican food has also become very popular in India.
It makes a lot of sense. Indian food and Mexican food have a lot of similarities, with a shared love of cumin, chili, tamarind, tomato-based sauces, and the use of raw onion. When you think about it, tortillas are not that different from rotis.
- Instead of chili oil, use a hot sauce or salsa.
- Use sour cream or Mexican crema, chop up the cilantro and jalapeno separately.
- If you don’t like cilantro, leave it out
- Sprinkle on some oregano, or Mexican oregano
- Pickled onions instead of raw
- Pickled radishes
You can make everything ahead of time. The only thing that will need to be reheated is the paneer. The rest is served cold or at room temperature.
For the Paneer
- 1 Tbsp yogurt
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ tsp Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp granulated garlic or 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 8 oz paneer
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil like avocado
For the Cilantro Crema –
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 green chili
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp almond flour or pepitas
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- ¼ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
For the tacos
- 1 red onion thinly sliced or finely chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
For the Paneer
- Cut the paneer into ¼ inch cubes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together into a smooth paste.
- Add the paneer and stir to coat the paneer cubes in the marinade evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes upto overnight.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 Tbsp of oil. When hot, add the paneer cubes and cook until the paneer is crisp and golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
For the Cilantro Crema
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
For the tacos
- Heat the tortillas on a dry pan until warmed through.
- Add paneer, cilantro crema, onions, cilantro, and chili oil
- Fold and enjoy