Chilli Paneer

Cubes of paneer cooked in a chinese flavored sauce. This popular Indo-Chinese entree – Chilli Paneer is great with noodles or fried rice!

Chilli Paneer

How sad it is that this is only the 3rd Indo-chinese recipe that I am sharing on the blog, the other two being baby corn manchurian and vegetable hakka noodles. Indo-chinese is a cuisine in itself and hugely hugely popular back home. It’s the Indian version of chinese and as you can imagine has lot of vegetarian options and lots of spices too. In fact it’s so popular that we have a Indo-chinese restaurant here in Seattle too! I grew up loving indo-chinese, I actually thought this is how chinese food is supposed to be. It was only when I went to college in Scotland and tasted some real chinese food I realized how wrong I was! They aren’t even remotely similar, first of all the Indian version has tons of vegetarian options, like if you go to a Indo-chinese restaurant, half of the options on the menu will be vegetarian and then of course the spices!

Chilli Paneer Gravy

As much as I love it, I don’t make indo-chinese at home very often. I think I am just plain lazy ! Anyway I am really excited to share this recipe of Chilli Paneer with you guys today. Now two types of chilli paneer are popular in India – the dry version which is served as an appetizer and the gravy version which is eaten as a main course with rice or noodles. I am sharing the gravy version with you guys today.

I have to say that after making this a number of times, I think I have pretty much nailed this recipe finally. If you want to makeΒ that restaurant style chilli paneer at home – then look no further! If you follow all the instructions and use all the ingredients which I mention in the recipe, you will end up with restaurant style chilli paneer (minus the MSG!) and that is a promise! πŸ™‚

Chilli Paneer Gravy Recipe

So there are few things which you need to do and few ingredients that you need to use to get that restaurant taste

1. Use sesame oil: yes it does make a difference. I am not saying that if you won’t use it, your chilli paneer won’t taste good. But using sesame oil will make it taste more authentic.

2. Use celery: same as sesame oil. Using finely chopped celery really enhances the flavors.

3. Use scallions: this you cannot skip. You absolutely have to use green onions/scallions.

4. Cook on high flame: again super important. Your pan should constantly be oh high heat. You want all veggies to remain crunchy. Lower the flame only when you have added water and want the gravy to simmer.

5. Prep everything beforehand: chop the veggies, get the sauce ready – do everything before you start making the recipe. You can fry the paneer, set it aside and then do all the prep work before you start working on the gravy. Since we cook everything on high heat, there won’t be anytime to chop in between.

So keeping all that in mind, let’s see how we make chilli paneer!

 

Method

In a bowl toss paneer with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. Set aside for 10 minutes in the refrigerator while you make the paste for coating the paneer pieces.

In a pan make a paste by mixing together the remaining 3 tablespoons of cornflour, all purpose flour, salt and pepper. Add water to form a thick paste. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and add more as required. I used around 4 tablespoons. Transfer the paneer pieces to the pan and mix till all pieces are well coated with the paste.

Heat oil in a pan and once the oil is hot, shallow fry the paneer pieces.

Chilli Paneer Recipe-Step-1

Fry till paneer pieces turn golden brown from both sides. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together all the ingredients listed under “the chinese sauce”. We will add this sauce to the gravy.

In another small bowl, make a paste of cornstarch and water. We would add this to the gravy later to thicken it. Set aside.Chilli Paneer Recipe-Step-2

Now chop all your ingredients and keep everything ready to do. Heat sesame and vegetable oil in a pan on high heat. [The heat should be high throughout]. Once the oil is hot add minced ginger and garlic.

Saute for few seconds and then add chopped scallions (the white part only) and celery. Sauce again for few seconds and then add diced onion and bell pepper.

Cook for a minute or two at high heat (the veggies need to remain crunchy) and then add the prepared sauce. Cook for another minute.Chilli Paneer Recipe-Step-3

Add water and stir and then add the prepared cornstarch paste, stirring continuously.

Add salt and honey and reduce the heat to medium. Let the gravy come to a boil.

Add the roasted paneer pieces and mix. Switch off the flame and remove pan from heat.
Chilli Paneer Recipe-Step-4

Place the chilli paneer in the serving bowl and garnish with scallions/green onion (the chopped green part only). Serve hot with fried rice or vegetable hakka noodles.

Chilli Paneer Recipe

* It’s a good idea to use a wok when you are making this dish. I forgot to use mine ( I know!!) but if you have one, please use it.

* This dish tastes best when it’s freshly prepared.

* To make this vegan, replace the paneer with tofu and follow the rest of the recipe as it is.

Chilli Paneer

Chilli Paneer is a popular Indo-Chinese dish where cubes of paneer are cooked in a spicy chinese gravy. Tastes great with noodles or fried rice!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 423 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

For the paneer

  • 250 grams paneer, Indian cottage cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons +1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Β½ teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

the chinese sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon green chili sauce
  • ΒΎ teaspoon sugar
  • ΒΌ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • β…› teaspoon white pepper powder
  • β…› teaspoon black pepper powder

for the gravy

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons celery, minced/very finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, medium, diced
  • 1 big green pepper, diced [also known as capsicum]
  • 5-6 stalks of scallions, finely chopped
  • Β½ teaspoon honey
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 cups water

cornstarch paste for thickening the gravy

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

Cook the paneer

  1. In a bowl toss paneer with 1 teaspoon cornstarch, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. Set aside for 10 minutes in the refrigerator while you make the paste for coating the paneer pieces.
  2. In a pan make a paste by mixing together cornflour, all purpose flour, salt and pepper. Add water to form a thick paste. Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and add more as required. I used around 4 tablespoons.
  3. Transfer the paneer pieces to the pan and mix till all pieces are well coated with the paste.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and once the oil is hot, shallow fry the paneer pieces.
  5. Fry till paneer pieces turn golden brown from both sides. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.

Make the sauce and cornstarch paste

  1. In another bowl, whisk together all the ingredients listed under "the chinese sauce". We will add this sauce to the gravy.
  2. In another small bowl, make a paste of cornstarch and water. We would add this to the gravy later to thicken it. Set aside.

Make the gravy

  1. Chop all your ingredients and keep everything ready to do.
  2. Heat sesame and vegetable oil in a pan on high heat. [The heat should be high throughout]. Once the oil is hot add minced ginger and garlic.
  3. Saute for few seconds and then add chopped scallions (the white part only) and celery.
  4. Sauce again for few seconds and then add diced onion and bell pepper.
  5. Cook for a minute or two at high heat (the veggies need to remain crunchy) and then add the prepared sauce. Cook for another minute.
  6. Add water and stir and then add the prepared cornstarch paste, stirring continuously.
  7. Add salt and honey and reduce the heat to medium. Let the gravy come to a boil.
  8. Add the roasted paneer pieces and mix. Switch off the flame and remove pan from heat.
  9. Place the chilli paneer in the serving bowl and garnish with scallions/green onion (the chopped green part only).
  10. Serve hot with fried rice or vegetable hakka noodles.
Nutrition Facts
Chilli Paneer
Amount Per Serving
Calories 423 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 51%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 880mg 37%
Potassium 180mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 4g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 6.9%
Vitamin C 35.6%
Calcium 32.7%
Iron 4.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Chilli Paneer

Chilli Paneer Collage

16 thoughts on “Chilli Paneer

  1. Laura and I were just talking about paneer the other day, and I mentioned how you are always creating these amazing dishes with paneer. And then there you go again…talk about perfect timing! This looks amazing, Manali!

  2. Hell Mamali,
    Do you have book on vegetarian dishes without using onion & garlic.Pl let me know.
    Thanks,
    Geeta

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