Baking Recipes, Puff Pastry Recipes, Diwali Special
A fun and easy fusion appetizer for Diwali, inspired by the shape of Diwali fireworks! These Paneer Tikka Chakras are baked puff pastry pinwheels with a paneer tikka filling. With their spiral shape, gorgeous golden color, and flaky texture, they are sure to get you in the festive mood.
Growing up, Diwali was all about fireworks for me! I mean, I wasn’t into the loud crackers or fire bombs, but I loved the beautiful sparklers, flower pots, and of course, the Sudarshan Chakras, which were my absolute favorites! I adored them because they resembled rotating fireballs on the ground, or when you held them in your hand attached to the thin metal handle that they came with. I enjoyed watching them the most, even more than the rockets that would shoot up high into the sky and burst into pretty sparkles, disappearing while slowly falling down.
Inspired by those Sudarshan Chakras, I created these Paneer Tikka Chakras that are perfect for serving as appetizers for Diwali entertaining. With their festive spiral shape, gorgeous golden color, and flaky texture, they are sure to get you in the festive mood, especially when served on a decorative stick!
Quick and Easy Entertaining Idea
Paneer Tikka Chakras are essentially puff pastry pinwheels with spirals of crispy puff pastry and a soft, moist, fragrant, and deliciously spiced crumbled paneer filling. Quick and easy is my motto when it comes to entertaining, and making something semi-homemade that can be prepared ahead of time means I can also enjoy my own party! This is where puff pastry comes in handy, and I always tend to keep a box in my freezer so that I can make my life easier and whip up something quick and delightful with it. Puff pastry is like a blank canvas; you can use it for both savory and sweet recipes. The frozen puff pastry available in grocery stores is especially useful for those last-minute occasions or when you’re feeling a bit lazy. It’s such a versatile ingredient, and I love using it to create some of my most innovative “signature concoctions,” like this one!
The Paneer Tikka Filling
For these festive chakras, I follow the exact same process for preparing the paneer filling as in the original Paneer Tikka. The only difference is that the paneer is pulsed in a food processor instead of being cut into large cubes, allowing it to be stuffed and rolled inside the puff pastry. I season the crumbled paneer with the classic tikka spices – turmeric, garam masala, and Kashmiri red chili powder, which gives it a gorgeous orange color. Then, I mix in the typical aromatics like ginger and garlic paste, along with bell peppers and onions. Since the filling is spread onto the puff pastry and rolled into a log, the bell peppers and onions need to be finely chopped to create a cohesive mixture with the crumbled paneer. I also incorporate some Greek yogurt and a drizzle of mustard oil, as used in the classic paneer tikka marinade. Both of these ingredients help to keep the filling soft and moist as the pinwheels bake in the oven at a high temperature.
This is a versatile recipe that will work with any of these fillings or one of your signature fillings, so feel free to get creative and make it with whatever you like or have in your kitchen. The best part is that you can prepare it ahead of time by stuffing the pastry and refrigerating the roll for up to 2 days or freezing it for up to 6 months. To add a fun and festive touch, definitely serve them on a stick – chopsticks work amazingly well! I promise that your friends and family will be wowed when you present them, just like mine were!! I’ve linked a short video below that I put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.
8–10 sprigs of cilantro/coriander leaves, finely chopped, divided
salt, to taste
Preparing the Filling
Place the paneer in a food processor and pulse a few times till it’s crumbled.
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste and mustard oil till everything is combined well. Add the crumbled paneer, chopped onion, green pepper and half of the chopped cilantro/coriander leaves, reserving half for garnishing.
Using a spoon or a spatula, combine till everything is mixed well. Set aside.
Preparing the Pastries
Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold the sheet of thawed puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, thin out the sheet of puff pastry along its length, by about an inch on each side.
Spread the sheet of puff pastry evenly with the filling, leaving about 1 inch strip along its length on one side.
Carefully lift the opposite edge of the sheet from the empty strip and roll it to form a long roll by sealing the edge with a little water.
Wrap in the plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for about 15-20 minutes (see Notes).
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the prepared rolls in ½-inch thick slices and place them about an inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, as they will expand during baking.
Bake for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.
Sprinkle with the reserved half of the chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and serve warm or at room temperature.
Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.