This sweet chili paneer recipe is totally addicting. The paneer is lightly battered, pan-fried until golden then mixed with stir-fried onion and green pepper and the most delicious sweet and sticky sauce.

If you love sweet and sticky dinner recipes, also try our sticky sesame honey shrimp with ginger broccoli and our sweet and sticky mango chutney chicken.

Sweet chili paneer on a white plate with rice.

What is chili paneer?

Chili paneer is a little like a stir fry with a sweet and sticky sauce made with Asian flavors and Indian paneer. It's an Indo-Chinese dish that's popular for good reason. We think that it's the very best way to eat paneer.

Chili paneer is often served as a starter, but we like it best served as a main course with a side of rice.

Sweet chili paneer in a pan with green onions and red peppers.

What is paneer?

Paneer is a soft, Indian-style cheese. It has a very mild flavor and is similar to (but not exactly like) halloumi.

Medium-firm tofu is a reasonable vegan substitute for paneer.

You'll find paneer in many grocery stores. It's usually sold in plastic wrapped packages and looks similar to tofu.

How to make this chili panner recipe

There are three parts to making chili paneer, and each are very simple.

  1. The Paneer. Make a simple batter with flour, water, salt, and pepper then mix in the paneer. Now pan-fry the battered paneer in a little bit of oil.
  2. The Sauce. Mix the sauce ingredients together. So easy!
  3. The Veggies. Quickly stir-fry the veggies then mix in the paneer and the sauce.

Can I make chili paneer without the batter?

While you can fry the paneer without the batter (like we do in our easy palak paneer), it will change the recipe. The batter makes the paneer crispy and gives the sauce something to hold onto.

So we recommend that you batter the paneer. You can see in the picture below just how deliciously crispy it gets. You won't be disappointed!

Crispy paneer on a plate.

Complete the delicious meal

Chili paneer is a one-pan recipe and all it needs to make it a complete meal is a side of perfect basmati rice or cauliflower rice.

If you'd like a few more vegetables with dinner, here are our favorites:

A closeup of chili paneer on a plate.

More paneer recipes

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Sweet chili paneer on a white plate with rice.

Sweet Chili Paneer

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

This sweet chili paneer recipe is totally addicting. The paneer is lightly battered, pan-fried until golden, then mixed with stir-fried onion and green pepper and the most delicious sweet and sticky sauce.


Scale

Ingredients

The Paneer

  • ⅓ cup cold water
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (gluten-free, if needed)
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) paneer (cut into 1″ pieces)

The Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

Everything Else

  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil (avocado works well)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Optional: spicy green chili pepper, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • Minced cilantro, to serve

Instructions

  1. Whisk the water, flour, salt, and pepper together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the paneer and mix it so that it is coated lightly in the batter. 
  2. Add the cornstarch and soy sauce to a small bowl and mix well. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and mix once more. 
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pieces of paneer then discard the remaining batter. Fry the paneer until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Once brown, remove the paneer from the pan and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. 
  4. Add the ginger, garlic, and (if using) the spicy pepper to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or just until the veggies begin to soften. 
  5. Return the paneer to the pan and pour in the sauce. Mix everything together and let it thicken for 1 minute. Serve with a little cilantro sprinkled on top. 

Notes

To save time, prep the veggies while the paneer cooks. 

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Sweet chili paneer on a white plate with rice.