Indo Chinese chilli paneer

Guest chef recipe

Chilli Paneer is a popular Indo-Chinese dish where cubes of fried crispy paneer are tossed in a spicy sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce! Goes well with rice or noodles!

Preparation time
less than 30 mins

Cooking time
10 to 30 mins

Serves 4–6


By Vivek Singh
From Saturday Kitchen


For the naan bread

  • 750g/1lb 10oz plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 400ml/14fl oz whole milk
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 35g/1¼oz caster sugar
  • 50ml/2fl oz vegetable oil

For the deep-fried paneer

  • 500g/1lb 2oz paneer, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
  • 10g/⅓oz dried red chilli flakes
  • 40g/1½oz cornflour
  • vegetable oil, for frying

To finish the chilli paneer

  • 60ml/4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 40g/1½oz garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 20g/¾oz fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 30g/1oz celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies, sliced lengthways
  • 10g/⅓oz chilli powder
  • 70g/2½oz tomato purée
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 10ml/2 tsp white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced into 1cm/½in
  • pinch crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  • 20g/¾oz cornflour
  • 30g/1oz spring onion, chopped


  1. To make the naan bread, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Whisk together the milk, egg and sugar in a jug, then add this to the flour mixture and knead lightly to make a soft dough. Take care not to overwork the dough or it will become too stretchy. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

  2. Pour the vegetable oil over the dough and turn it a few times so it is evenly coated. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, then roll each one out into a 9cm/3½in circle. Gently stretch out one side to form the traditional teardrop shape. Alternatively, just roll them into 10cm/4in circles.

  3. Although naans are traditionally cooked on the side of a hot tandoor oven, they also cook well in an ordinary domestic oven. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7, putting a baking tray on the top shelf to heat up.

  4. Place the naan breads on the hot tray and bake for 4–5 minutes, until they are starting to brown on both sides. You might need to turn the bread to make sure it colours on both sides. Alternatively, heat several heavy-based flameproof frying pans on the hob until they are very hot. Place one naan bread on each pan and cook for a couple of minutes, until it starts to get slightly coloured. Turn the naans over and transfer the pans to a hot grill for a minute or so, until the bread puffs up and gets lightly coloured. Once cooked, wrap the naans in a tea towel to keep warm.

  5. To make the deep-fried paneer, add the paneer, red chilli flakes and cornflour to a bowl and mix together. Add a little bit of water, if needed.

  6. Fill a deep, tall-sided saucepan two-thirds full of vegetable oil and heat to 175C. Alternatively, heat a deep-fat fryer to the same temperature. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Deep-fry the paneer cubes for around 2–3 minutes until they are crisp on the outside. Remove from the oil using a metal slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

  7. To finish the chilli paneer, place a saucepan over a medium heat, add a drizzle of oil then the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add in the chilli flakes, ginger, celery and green chillies and sauté until fragrant.

  8. Add in the chilli powder, tomato purée, salt and sugar and cook for 1 minute, then add the white vinegar or lemon juice and cook for 1–2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and mix well, then add the fried paneer cubes and peppers and cook for 2–3 minutes. Finally, add a pinch of Sichuan pepper.

  9. Garnish the paneer with chopped spring onions, and serve with the naan bread for a substantial main course or on its own as a snack.

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