Chilli Paneer

Chili Paneer

I have talked a lot about Indo Chinese cuisine. I am pretty passionate and emotional about this specific category of Indian food. Hot, spicy, tangy or a combination of all makes it the most wanted, lip smacking kind of food and I crave some more as I write.

My Asian friends snigger at the sound of Indo-Chinese. Since there is not much of “Chinese” to it other than the soy sauce, and the quick stir fry style of cooking, it might sound like a mockery to the Chinese cuisine. But it is not meant to be that way. Go ahead and read about the evolution of Indo-Chinese in a previous post I did. India has absorbed and amalgamated flavors and food with every foreign footsteps that left marks in the country. And the migration of the Chinese and their cuisine cannot be undermined. We have selectively picked the ingredients and flavors to pair them up with the Indian meat and vegetables.





There are a lot of Indo Chinese recipes with the “Chilli” prefix – Chili Chicken, Chilli Prawn, Chilli Gobi, & Chilli Paneer. The technique is the same in all; briefly marinate, and coat the main ingredient, be it be the chicken, or the prawn or the paneer and stir fry with hot green chili peppers in a spicy and tangy soy based sauce.

Chili Paneer

Chilli Paneer is one of the more popular dishes in this particular cuisine, since it is a vegetarian version and appeals to all. If you want to do a vegan “Chilli Paneer”, firm Tofu is undoubtedly the thing to use.  This recipes works the best as an appetizer, but is know to be thoroughly enjoyed as a side too, especially with Chinese (Indo) Fried Rice, or Singapore Fried Rice, noodles or even parathas.

A hunk of the flavor of this dish comes from the fresh hot chili peppers So do not skip these. If you cannot bear the heat/spice, remove the seeds and the membrane. Some recipes use capsicum/green bell pepper too. But for me this is an optional ingredient. If I have it, I will use it, but will not make a trip to the store if it is missing.


The soy sauce available in India is usually denser and darker than those we get off the shelves of the supermarkets here or even the ones available in Asian markets in US. The flavor of the Indian made soy sauce is slightly different and deeper. I have used the Indian soy sauce here (which I get from India, not Indian grocery stores here) and hence have this deeper/darker shade of paneer. If you use the regular soy sauce (use the dark one) and even after that do not panic if the color is not so dark.

The Chili Paneer or for that matter any Indian Chinese recipes, usually uses the Green Chili Sauce. I have not used it here. I usually use Sriracha. If you do not have Sriracha, use something similar with Asian flavors. Try to avoid the other hot sauces (like Tabasco) as they have strong vinegar content and the spices are different than the Asian ones and will change the taste.

Chili Paneer/Indo Chinese Cuisine

Chilli Paneer


  1. 14oz – 16oz  paneer, (homemade or store bought) cubed

for marination and coating:

  1. a dash of salt
  2. 1 teaspoon tamari sauce/or dark soy sauce
  3. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  4. 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled
  5. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  6. 2 small fresh green chili pepper
  7. 1.5 teaspoons vinegar
  8. 2 tablespoon corn starch

For the Sauce:

  1. 2 tablespoon oil + 2 tablespoon oil pure sesame oil
  2. 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  4. 2 medium onions, sliced into half moons or diced
  5. 8-10 fresh green hot chili pepper, sliced (remove seed and membrane if you want less hot)
  6. 1 green bell pepper/capsicum, (or poblano pepper), seeds removed and sliced into strips
  7. 3 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
  8. 3 tablespoons Sriracha, or Indian Chinese Green Chilli Sauce or any Asian flavored hot sauce (or adjust to taste and tolerance)
  9. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  10. 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
  11. 1 teaspoon sugar
  12. 1.5 tablespoon tamari or dark soy sauce
  13. salt
  14. 1 tablespoon corn starch/flour + 1/2 cup water
  15. 8-10 stalks of spring/green onion


Make a paste with the chili pepper, ginger and garlic. Combine the rest of the ingredients for the marinade with the paste and coat the paneer cubes with this paste. Let it sit for about an half an hour.

Separate the green and the white parts of the green onion and slice the white and the green parts.

Add the vinegar in the bowl of marinated paneer and toss well with a spoon. Toss the 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in the bowl and with a spoon gently stir them around so that the corn starch coats the paneer pieces. Set if aside for about 15 minutes.

Combine ketchup/tomato paste, sriracha/hot sauce, soy sauce/tamari, sugar, salt, white pepper powder, vinegar in a bowl and whisk to a smooth consistency.

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a skillet big enough to hold the paneer cubes in a single layer; (if the skillet is small, fry them in batches). Place the paneer cubes in a single layer and fry each side for a couple of minutes till each side is golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a thick bottomed flat skillet or wok. Add the minced ginger and garlic. After a minute, add the sliced green hot peppers. Cook for a minute and add the green onion and sliced half moon onions. Cook at high heat for a couple of minutes, just until the onions wilt. Add the sliced bell peppers/poblano. Add the fried paneer cubes. Toss every thing together gently and cook for about 2 minutes at high heat.

Add the combined sauce mix to the pan and stir it in. Cook at high heat, until the paneer and the onions are well coated with the sauce.

Combine the corn starch  and water and whisk well. Add this to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens just so to coat the contents in the pan, for about 2 minutes. There should be no runny sauce left here. (however if you want this as a side, you might want to add some extra water and simmer for a while to have some sauce to spoon).

Switch off the heat. Add the sliced green onions and toss.

Serve as a side dish or appetizer.

Chili Paneer - Indo Chinese Paneer Recipe

Related Posts:

Gobi Manchurian – Cauliflower Fritters in Spicy Sauce

Cauliflower Stir Fry in Ginger Soy Sauce

Hakka Noodles

Spicy Singapore Fried Rice

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38 comments to Chilli Paneer

  • soma…this is something i can eat at one go ! i love making this at home…will be posting a different version later. anything indo-chinese is always welcome 😉

  • Oh wow Soma!!! Chilli paneer is my favourite dish and you have cooked this to perfection. Wonderful 🙂

  • Reading and looking through the post it reminded me of Chinese food and then I went back to the title and sure enough Indo-Chinese that explains it. lol It’s funny I’ve been exploring from a different angle in recent months the influences of the sub continent on South East Asian cuisines. Mouthwatering as usual.

  • Oh Soma- I love Indo-Chinese recipes and the ast post you tagged about its history is quite an interesting read. I make a similar dish, but instead of paneer, I used cassava!!! Try it sometime- it’s yummy.

  • dewdle

    I LOVE burning my mouth with General Tso until I can’t stand it, then quenching it with Rangoons. I do the same burn, quench with dairy with Mexican and sour cream too. So this dish sounds utterly divine! Thanks!

    I found your site the other day and thought it was great, so I subscribed with Google Reader. But in the reader, there’s no pics at all, not even a reduced teaser pic to lure us in, from a site with an awesome food photographer?

    Thank you so much! made my day with those nice words. Frankly speaking, I never even thought about the addition of photograph in a reader. Now that you have mentioned, I will have to look into it and see if I can make that possible:)

  • Very nice fusion recipe! Looks amazing!

  • I am so sad that I was not there to taste it, looks super tempting. I am such a big fan of indo-chinese cuisine. Love it any time of the day and any day of the year 🙂

  • A very classic presentation of a mouthwatering dish.You made it so special SOma.

  • wow! this could easily be from a restarant, looks so perfect!

  • I love spicy tangy indo-Chinese dish . I too had made something on the similar line .. long back .. in my archive post (yukky pic but taste awsm). I too use dark soya sauce.. find it much better in flavor than the other one …

  • Deepa

    Yummy and stupendously tasty chili paneer. Already drooling over it. Excellent Indo Chinese preparation.


  • Hmm, it looks and sounds delicious I am not very familiar with Indo-Chinese, but it sounds really great…

  • Hi Soma, I just love chinese food and urs version is looking exciting. The chilli paneer platter is looking too GOOD. The recipe is so nicely made and presented. Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!

  • Soma, every ime I see a mouth watering recipe here, I think when the stars align for us to meet, I will ask you to make this for me, whether we meet at my place or yours. Now, I have a new favorite. The chili paneer has not touched my pallette in a long time. We have to make this happen, soon!

  • I can only dream that someday I could sit at your table and enjoy your beautiful food. Not only does this look so appealing, the flavors in this couldn’t sound better.

  • Wow this sound incredibly aromatic! I’m a real chilli wimp, but this does sound delicious!

  • Ivy

    This is new to me but looks delicious.

  • I haven’t tried any Indochinese food yet but the idea is fascinating. And wow, this dish looks positively addictive!

  • Looks delicious. I am not fond of paneer but even then this looks so very tempting.

  • oh my…indo chinese food is my fav kind of food..the chilly panner is absolutely gorgeous

  • Now, who wouldn’t love chilly panner! refreshing memories back in India lovely!

  • Wonderful presentation of a dish that looks simply delicious! Thanks for posting.

  • This looks absolutely stunning.

  • Same pinch, Soma..I love hot, spicy and tangy combo too!) Have tried making something similar with store bought paneer, but it hardens after cooking and the homemade one does not give a perfect cube. This time you better behave…Mr. Paneer, I need to make this recipe come what may 😉

  • Soma, I could live on this dish. It is new to me and familiar all at once. The Chinese also left their mark on Filipino cuisine so I can imagine the flavors of the sauce. And the Indian part, well, I just love Indian food so this dish offers the best of both worlds, I think. This is lovely! 🙂

  • Yum, yum, paneer looks so good! and I like your suggestion of using tofu, too. That is a great way to make tofu tasty and appetizing 🙂

  • I’m always drawn to any dish that starts with ‘chilli!’ The Indian soy sauce sounds so interesting. The sauce covered paneer looks fantastic.

  • anh

    This is one different recipe! paneer with the kind of sauce I would use for stir-fry 🙂

  • I love learning about new indo-chinese cuisines! This sounds too good to pass up! =)

  • Cham

    Quiet a different appetizer, they are irresistible ur pictures!

  • I love paneer but have never tried it this way.

  • Great recipe! Beautiful clicks as usual:-)…Mouthwatering! Keep up the good work!

  • This is a tasty looking recipe! I love paneer but have never seen it prepared this way. I love the marinade and the sauce. Delicious and your pictures gorgeous!

  • Rav

    I have to tell you, I made this dish and was a HIT! I dont normally sign up for ‘blogs’ but after trying 2 of your dishes, I was HOOKED!! Absolutely fantastic chef you are. Thank you SO much for sharing your great recipes!

    Thank a bunch!!

  • We tried Chilli Paneer at our kitchen this weekend and gobbled it with two mugs of beer, tell you guys next to the swimming pool this recipe was awesome. This can be as perfect it can get. Will come back to your blog for more adventure.

  • Mona

    OMG – this was fantastic! Didn’t have dark soy sauce, but it was delicious nonetheless. I did use Indian green chili sauce, fewer fresh chiles, and the tops from the red onions growing in my garden, but followed all of your steps. Definitely more time consuming with the marination than prior CP recipes I’ve made, but way better flavor too. We’ll definitely be making this again – thanks so much!

  • Authentic lovely mixture recipe. Looks great! Thanx….

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