Indo-Chinese Chilli Paneer (Dry)


Chilli paneer is a famous Indo-Chinese dish that’s sweet, spicy, and tangy! My version is healthier than what you’ll find in restaurants, and it’s also much easier to make (no need to deep-fry anything!). This recipe calls for my pre-made Onion Masala sauce, which adds loads of flavor. This simple stir-fry dish is easy to throw together on a busy weeknight!

This tangy chilli paneer is easy to make and delicious too! It’s also much healthier when you make it yourself – there’s no msg, and you know exactly what’s in the dish. You can also easily make it gluten-free by using tamari sauce or paleo-friendly by using coconut aminos. Nowadays, it’s also easy to find organic sauces like sweet chilli sauce or organic rice vinegar, which I like to use – though you can use the brand of your choice.

Restaurant-style chilli paneer typically calls for coating paneer in flour and then deep-frying it. While you can easily do that with this recipe, too – I prefer to make my homemade chilli paneer a little healthier and easier so we can enjoy this as an everyday type of dish. I like to pan-fry the paneer, make the sauce, and stir-fry it all together. It takes minutes to make! I do have a gluten-free/healthier Chilli Chicken that calls for deep-frying if you want to get an idea of how you can do that with the paneer too.

This is an onion masala recipe!

This dry chilli paneer dish is part of my Onion Masala Series, where I share recipes that call for exact amounts of Onion Masala, which you can make in bulk in advance. Having this masala ready to go makes it so easy to cook Indian meals! I’m talking minutes. It’s meal prepping at its finest!

The Onion Masala in this stovetop chilli paneer recipe adds a lot of flavor to the dish.

I have more paneer recipes calling for onion masala if you’re interested in making those too! This Paneer Makhani and this Tawa Paneer Stir-Fry.

What is Indo-Chinese cuisine?

Indo-Chinese cuisine, developed by a small Chinese community in India, is incredibly popular all over India. While Indo-Chinese recipes are not quite Indian and not quite Chinese… the combined flavors are out of this world tasty. It may just be the best fusion ever.

I already have a recipe for a gluten-free and paleo-friendly Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken on my blog and will be sharing several more Indo-Chinese recipes soon!

Indo-Chinese Chilli Paneer (Dry)

Indo-Chinese Chilli Paneer (Dry)

4.86 from 7 reviews
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Cuisine Indo-Chinese


  • 1 14 ounce block of paneer, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ serrano pepper minced
  • ½ cup onion masala
  • 1 onion chopped into large pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper



  • Cut the paneer into cubes and place them on a paper towel lined plate to dry (you don’t want it to be wet or it will splatter in oil).
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the paneer cubes in a single layer. Shallow fry them on all sides until golden brown, adding more oil if needed (I find it easiest to do this in a non-stick pan. If using stainless you will need more oil).
  • Remove the paneer onto a plate and set aside.
  • Add garlic, ginger and serrano pepper, stir, then add the remaining ingredients and cook until the bell peppers are tender.
  • Add the paneer back to the pan and mix well.
  • Add the toasted sesame oil and garnish with scallions. 


You can add cayenne or red pepper flakes to make this spicy.
This recipe is part of my onion masala series.
Some Costco stores sell Paneer (Gopi brand) for a great price – that’s normally where I buy mine though you can easily find paneer at your local Indian grocery store. 
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Sara says

    5 stars
    Amazing blend of flavors. I made it with cumin rice and it was so so good! Will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

  2. Kate says

    5 stars
    My husband is from Delhi, and he says this tastes like dishes from the Indo-Chinese restaurants there. Even the smell transports him! I’ve made this a couple of times, once with onion and a red and an orange pepper. Another time with just orange and red pepper (because I used all my onion making OTM!). Both times, so good.

  3. Gabbi says

    Hi Ashley! I try to avoid bell peppers when possible. Is this a recipe that I could substitute another vegetable for the bell pepper? Or does the flavor really call for the pepper? I made your onion masala last night and I’m choosing recipes now 🙂

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Gabbi! You can definitely leave them out of the recipe altogether and just have it as a paneer and onion dish or you can add whatever veggie you like to it 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

  4. Lee says

    5 stars
    I made this last night… it ROCKED. The flavor is really unique — it’s got sweetness from the sweet chili sauce and onion masala, it’s got spicy from the chili and serrano, it’s got savory from the soy sauce, and it’s got great texture from pan-crisping the paneer. I’m realizing now I forgot to garnish with sesame oil, and honestly, it was amazing even without.

    I used a little extra of all the sauce ingredients because I was a bit sloppy with measuring (whoops!), and we only had a 14oz block of paneer on hand, which I found to be plenty. Can’t wait to make this again! It’s a real winner.

paneer lababdar

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