Schezwan Paneer

5 from 1 vote

Schezwan Paneer is an Indo Chinese dish where crispy paneer is tossed with a spicy schezwan sauce. It can be served as such as an appetizer or with noodles and fried rice.

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Schezwan paneer is an Indo-Chinese dish where crispy paneer is tossed in a sauce made with schewzan chutney/sauce. It’s tangy, spicy with a hint of sweetness. Serve it as an appetizer or with hakka noodles or fried rice for a complete meal.

paneer cubes tossed in sauce garnished with green onions

Paneer based Indo-Chinese dishes are very popular. If you are a vegetarian, they are your go to when eating out Indo-Chinese. While Chilli Paneer is the most popular, another crowd favorite is the Schezwan paneer.

This dish uses schezwan sauce/chutney for that depth of flavor in the sauce. Schezwan sauce is a condiment made with Kashmiri red chili chilies and the sauce is spicy, tangy and sweet. In the past I have shared recipes using my homemade schezwan sauce like Schezwan Noodles and Schezwan Paneer Momos.

For this recipe paneer is coated in cornstarch slurry first and then deep fried to make it crispy. It’s then tossed in a flavorful sauce along with onions, bell peppers. I have also included directions to air fry the paneer in case you don’t want to deep fry and are looking for a healthier version of this dish.

Ingredients

Paneer (Indian cottage cheese): for this recipe, I have used store-bought paneer. Since the paneer that we get here isn’t as nice as the paneer we get in India, I always recommend soaking it in warm water for 20 minutes and then using it in the recipe.

Schezwan chutney/sauce: you can use homemade schezwan sauce or store-bought. For this recipe, I have used Ching’s schezwan chutney and it works really well here. It especially comes in handy when you don’t have homemade schezwan sauce and have no time to make it either. You can find it at Indian grocery stores usually in the same aisle as ketchup, vinegar etc.

Seasonings: to give the sauce more depth of flavor, we also use soy sauce, vinegar and ketchup. And there’s lots of garlic, ginger too.

ingredients for making schezwan paneer arranged on a board

How to Make Schezwan Paneer – Step by Step Instructions

1- In a large bowl add the following:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or corn flour, it’s the same thing)
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder.

Stir with a whisk to mix everything. Then add water to form a thick flowing paste. You would need a little less than 1/4 cup for this.

2- Add 200 grams cubed paneer to the batter and stir until all the paneer pieces are coated with the batter.

3- Heat oil in a kadai or wok on high-medium heat. You can also pan fry if you want. Once the oil is hot, add the coated paneer cubes.

4- Fry until they turn golden-brown in color and crisp, around 3 minutes. Remove paneer pieces on a paper towel. And set aside. The crispy paneer is now ready.

step by step picture collage of making schezwan paneer

5- Now, make the sauce. Heat a wok or cast iron pan on medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil to it and then add the following:

  • 3/4 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 3/4 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
  • 2 dried red chilies.

Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic and ginger start to change color.

6- Then add 1/2 cup quartered onions (1-inch cubes) and 1/2 cup green bell pepper cubes (1-inch cubes). Cook the veggies for 2 minutes.

7- Now, add the following:

  • 3 tablespoons schezwan chutney
  • 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Stir everything until combined and then add 1 tablespoon of water and stir.

8- Now, add the fried paneer and toss until all the paneer pieces are well coated with the sauce, around 1 minutes. Sprinkle some chaat masala if you like. Garnish with spring onions and serve.

step by step picture collage of making schezwan paneer

Air Fryer Version

If you don’t want to deep fry the paneer, you can air fry it. Preheat your air fryer according to manufacturer instructions. Make the batter and dip paneer cubes into it. Spray the air fryer with an oil spray and then place the paneer cubes inside. Air fry at 380 F degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown in color. Every air fryer is different so you might need more or less time accordingly.

In my opinion, the paneer in air fryer becomes a little hard compared to deep frying where it’s more crispy than hard.

Tips & Notes

  • If you want to make this vegan, simply replace the paneer with extra-firm tofu. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
  • This schezwan paneer is spicy. If you want to tone it down, skip the dried red chilies and also use less of the schezwan chutney (use 2 tablespoons for a milder version).
  • You would notice that there’s no salt added in the sauce. This is because there’s already enough salt in the schezwan chutney, in soy sauce, and ketchup so there’s no need for extra salt. However, taste test and add more if needed.
  • Toss the crispy paneer with the sauce just before serving. You can make the sauce first and keep it ready. Deep fry the paneer and immediately toss it with sauce and serve. This way the paneer remains crispy when you serve it.
  • This is like a stir fry version of schezwan paneer. You can definitely make this dish saucy if you want. Add more onions, more peppers and more water to the sauce. Make a cornstarch slurry with cornstarch and water and add it to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce thickens up a bit, then add the fried paneer.
  • This recipe is not gluten free since there’s soy sauce which has gluten in it. But you can use tamari in place of soy sauce to make it gluten free.
paneer cubes tossed in sauce garnished with green onions

Schezwan Paneer

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 as an appetizer
Schezwan Paneer is an Indo Chinese dish where crispy paneer is tossed with a spicy schezwan sauce. It can be served as such as an appetizer or with noodles and fried rice.

Ingredients 

For the paneer

  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 200 grams paneer cut into cubes
  • oil to fry

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oil use any oil of choice
  • 3/4 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon celery finely chopped
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1/4 cup onion quartered and petals separated
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoon schezwan chutney add 2 tablespoon for a less spicy version, I have used Ching's schezwan chutney
  • 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • chaat masala to sprinkle, optional
  • green onions chopped, to garnish

Instructions 

Fry the paneer

  • Make the batter in a large bowl. To a bowl add cornstarch, flour, salt, pepper and Kashmiri red chili powder. Add water (around 1/4 cup) to make a smooth, free-flowing thick batter. The batter should coat the paneer cubes.
    Add the paneer cubes and toss to combine until all the paneer cubes are well coated with the batter.
  • Heat an inch of oil in a small kadai or wok on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the paneer into the hot oil and fry until they turn crisp and golden brown in color. Drain on a paper towel.

Make the sauce

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped ginger, garlic, celery and dried red chilies. Cook for 1 minutes until the ginger and garlic start changing color.
  • Then add the onions and green bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the schezwan chutney, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir to combine everything.
  • Add in the fried paneer cubes and toss until the paneer cubes are coated with the sauce. Sprinkle some chaat masala if you like. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve hot!

Air Fryer Instructions

  • To air fry the paneer, preheat your air fryer according to manufacturer's instructions. Then spray with an oil spray and place the paneer in the air fryer. Air fry at 380 F degrees for 10 minutes or until the paneer is crisp and golden brown. The rest of the recipe remains same.

Notes

  • Use tamari in place of soy sauce to make this gluten free.
  • This schezwan paneer is on a spicy side. Use 2 tablespoons of the chutney for a less spicy version.

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 258mg, Potassium: 65mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 135IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 249mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indo-Chinese
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Hi, I’m Manali!

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