Indo-Chinese recipes are loved by most people mainly for it’s peppy flavors and addictive umaminess. They are a big hit at my place and I often make them on weekends; fried rice, noodles, or just a stir-fry. Today’s recipe is a vegetarian Indo-Chinese appetizer, Chilli Paneer Recipe (चिल्ली पनीर रेसिपी). It’s a very easy recipe that doesn’t really need a lot of preparation. There are two kinds of chilli paneer recipes – dry and with gravy. The dry one is had as an appetizer. The one with the gravy is had as a side-dish with fried rice or noodles.
Batter-Fried Paneer for Paneer Chilli Recipe
Unlike chicken, paneer cannot absorb the flavors of the gravy. So the paneer must be batter-fried so that the coating of the batter will absorb the flavors of the sauce. Deep-frying the paneer will also make the coating crispy. Shallow-frying the paneer won’t yield the same results. So deep-frying the paneer is highly recommended. Besides, do not fry the paneer for very long, else the paneer will become chewy.
Umaminess Vs. Zest
Chilli paneer recipe focuses more on a zingy taste rather than deep umami flavors. It should predominantly taste tangy; hot and slightly sour. So the sauces have been used accordingly. The dark soy sauce is very important part of this chilli paneer recipe, which is why it turns out darker in color. Green chilies and black pepper bring in the heat from which the paneer chilli gets it’s distinct hotness.
Do Not Use Frozen Paneer
Freshly made paneer is a must for this recipe. Ice crystals tend to develop in the frozen paneer, which melts when the paneer is defrosted. Due to all the water content, the frozen paneer causes the oil to splutter when your fry it. Also, the paneer will absorb a lot of oil, making the dish inedible. Here is the recipe of homemade paneer using milk and vinegar or lemon juice – How to Make Paneer at Home.
Here are some more Indo-Chinese recipes that you might like.
- Restaurant-Style Chilli Chicken Recipe
- Restaurant-Style Schezwan Chicken Recipe
- Gobi Manchurian Recipe
- Schezwan Veg Fried Rice Recipe
- Chicken Fried Rice Recipe
- Chicken Lollipop Recipe
- Schezwan Sauce Recipe
Now let’s take a look at the ingredients and preparation of chilli paneer recipe.
How to Make Chilli Paneer Recipe at Home
- Homemade paneer/Indian cottage cheese - 250 grams, cut into ½ inch pieces (recipe here)
- All-purpose flour - ½ cup
- Cornstarch - ¼ cup +2 tbsp
- Salt - to taste
- Black pepper - ½ tsp, freshly ground
- Baking powder - ⅛ tsp
- Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp, freshly ground
- Water - ⅓ cup
- Oil - 2 tbsp
- Spring onion whites - ½ cup, finely chopped
- Onion - 1 medium, cubed and layers separated
- Capsicum - 1 large, cubed
- Green chilies - 10 or to taste, split lengthwise
- Spring onion greens - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
- Garlic - 2 tbsp, minced
- Ginger - ½ tbsp, minced
- Cornstarch slurry - 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with ½ cup water
- Dark soy sauce - 1 & ½ tbsp
- Teriyaki sauce - ½ tbsp
- Chili garlic sauce - ½ tbsp (I used Lee Kum Kee brand)
- Vinegar - 1 tsp
- Salt - to taste
- Black pepper - ½ tsp, freshly ground
- MSG/Ajinomoto - ½ tsp
- Roasted sesame seeds - for garnish
- First off, sprinkle 2 tbsp cornstarch on the paneer and give it a toss to coat it evenly. Let the paneer rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Combine all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, freshly ground black pepper, baking powder, and ginger-garlic paste in a bowl. Give it a mix.
- Add water and whisk well to make a thick batter.
- Dip the paneer pieces in the batter and let the excess batter drip.
- Carefully drop the paneer pieces in the hot oil. When the batter on the underside of the paneer sets, flip the paneer.
- Turn the heat to low and fry until golden. Do not fry for very long, else the paneer will become chewy.
- Drain the fried paneer and take it out onto a plate, Set it aside.
- Now to make the sauce, heat oil in the skillet or wok on high flame. Add in the spring onion whites and saute it for a minute.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and green chilies. Saute for a minute.
- Next, toss in the diced onions and capsicum and saute for another minute. Do not overcook the veggies. They should be crunchy.
- Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and MSG/ajinomoto. Mix.
- Now add the vinegar, dark soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Give it a quick mix.
- Add the cornstarch slurry and mix. Bring the sauce to a boil.
- When it thickens, turn the heat off.
- Add the fried paneer and give it a toss.
- Garish with spring onion greens.
- Chilli paneer recipe is ready. Serve hot. Garnish with some roasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Chilli Paneer Recipe with Step by Step Pictures
These are the ingredients for making the fried paneer.
First off, cut 250 grams of paneer into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle 2 tbsp cornstarch on the paneer.
Give it a toss to coat the paneer evenly with the cornstarch. Let the paneer rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, salt to taste, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste in a bowl. Give it a mix.
Add 1/3 cup water and whisk well to make a thick batter.
Dip the paneer pieces in the batter.
Let the excess batter drip.
Carefully drop the paneer pieces in the hot oil. When the batter on the underside of the paneer sets, flip the paneer.
Turn the heat to low and fry until golden. Do not fry for very long, else the paneer will become chewy.
Drain the fried paneer and take it out onto a plate, Set it aside.
These are the ingredients for the chilli paneer sauce.
Now to make the sauce, heat 2 tbsp oil in the skillet or wok on high flame. Add in 1/2 cup spring onion whites and saute it for a minute.
Add the 1/2 tbsp minced ginger, 2 tbsp minced garlic, and 10 green chilies split lengthwise. Saute for a minute.
Next, toss in 1 medium onion and 1 large capsicum, diced. Saute for another minute. Do not overcook the veggies. They should be crunchy.
Season with salt, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp MSG/ajinomoto. Mix.
Now add 1 tsp vinegar, 1 & 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce, and 1/2 tbsp teriyaki sauce. Give it a quick mix.
Add cornstarch slurry that has been prepared by mixing 1 tsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Mix. Bring the sauce to a boil.
When it thickens, turn the heat off.
Add the fried paneer and give it a toss.
Garish with 2 tbsp spring onion greens.
Chilli paneer recipe is ready. Serve hot. Garnish with some roasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!