Whip up this chilli paneer fry, a speedy meal from Maunika Gowardhan, then check out our saag paneer, spiced paneer with chilli green lentils and more quick vegetarian recipes. Also read our guide on what is paneer and where to buy it for advice on sourcing this ingredient. Now find out from Maunika how to celebrate Holi.

How to make chilli paneer… step-by-step video

Maunika says, "Indian Chinese food is loved across the sub-continent and takes its influences from the east of India, with the community migrating east to the city of Kolkata for better job opportunities. With the Hakka Chinese community came their wonderful cuisine, culture, eating habits and dishes that satiated the local appetite. Leading to setting up the Chinatown within the city with dishes that were tailor-made to suit the Indian palate. Think chilli garlicky dishes, crispy fried, stir fried and coated in a delicious gravy. Having grown up in Mumbai, one of my favourite places to visit was always China Garden for my indo Chinese food fix. Set up by the legendary Nelson Wang, it created a brand that made this cuisine widely popular. From Hakka noodles, Manchurian chicken, chilli chicken and gobi Manchurian. There was so much to choose from. Chilli paneer is a vegetarian dish, popular at street carts in India. It is coated in a batter and fried. The paneer is then tossed in a garlic and chilli flavoured sauce. Perfect to eat with egg fried rice or even some noodles."

Chilli paneer fry recipe


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
  • 3 tbsp rice flour
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic paste (shop-bought or fresh)
  • 226g block paneer, chopped into cubes
  • 2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely diced
  • 90g red onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 green chillies, slit lengthways
  • 3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced for garnish
  • noodles or fried rice, to serve


  • STEP 1

    To start, heat a couple of inches of oil in a wide pan or a wok. Mix the flours, chilli powder, black pepper and garlic paste in a large bowl with 100ml of cold water and a pinch of salt to make a batter. Toss the paneer cubes in the bowl to coat the pieces evenly. Fry the coated paneer in the hot oil in batches for 20-30 seconds. They should have a light brown crisp coating on all sides. Drain the paneer on kitchen paper and set aside.

  • STEP 2

    Make the sauce by heating 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat. Cook the garlic and ginger for 20 seconds. Add the red onions and fry for a further 3 mins until they begin to soften, then tip in the red pepper along with the slit chilli and fry for an additional 2-3 mins.

  • STEP 3

    Add the chilli garlic sauce, ketchup and soy sauce, stirring well. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour in 70ml of water to thin the sauce slightly. Add the fried paneer cubes, stirring well to coat all the pieces. Simmer for 1 min, seasoning to taste. Serve warm with noodles or fried rice, with a garnish of spring onions.

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