Chili Paneer and Indian-Chinese Cuisine


Chili Paneer by

My brother hated pretty much all food except Indian-Chinese when we were younger. Every time we were home alone for dinner, he’d call the local Chinese place for delivery. We’d happily eat our fusion meals together in front of the TV…not something we could do if our parents were home.

India’s small population of Chinese immigrants has given rise to a wonderful fusion cuisine. In the 1800’s a group of Chinese (mostly Hakka) came to India (mostly Kolkota) to work in the docks. Their influence lead to the creation of a cuisine that is very different from authentic Chinese food. It is closer to Indian food but often made with classic Chinese ingredients like soy sauce and noodles. Indian-Chinese food is extremely popular in India as both restaurant and street food.

Chili Paneer by

Chili Paneer by

There is a local restaurant in San Diego that serves Indian-Chinese. They even have a delicious chili-paneer on the menu but theirs is a drier version than the one I remember eating as a kid. So I’ve tried to recreate the version from my childhood.

Here’s my recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever tried Indian-Chinese and how you like it!

Chili Paneer by

Chili Paneer by

Chili Paneer: Fried cheese cubes in a spicy sauce

Chili Paneer

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Total time: 30 min
  • Yields 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 cup paneer, cubed (make it fresh or store bought works too)
  • 1 onion, sliced pole to pole
  • 2 medium bell peppers, cut into sticks
  • 1 serrano chili, chopped with seeds removed.
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch, separated
  • 3 tbsp oil, separated
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 tbsp chili paste (I like to use 3 tbsp because I like it spicy, use less if you don’t)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • salt


  1. Heat a skillet with 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cornstarch onto the paneer cubes. Toss until well coated.
  3. Pan fry the paneer until golden brown. Let drain on a paper towel.
  4. In the same pan (no need to rinse or wipe), add 1 tbsp of oil. Toss in the onions and a pinch of salt. Let cook until the onions are translucent.
  5. Add the bell peppers and green chili and another pinch of salt. Turn the heat to medium high and cook till the bell peppers start to soften.
  6. While the bell peppers cook, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water. Stir until all the lumps are removed and set aside for a couple minutes. **Don’t skip this step or you’ll end up with lumps of corn starch**
  7. Add in the ginger and garlic to the onions and bell peppers. Stir. Let cook for about 30 seconds.
  8. Turn the heat to low and add in the cornstarch slurry. Stir.
  9. Add the fried paneer cubes.
  10. then add in the chili paste, ketchup, soy sauce and vinegar. Stir.
  11. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined.


  • Serve with rice or noodles.
    I use Sambal Oelek fresh ground chili paste.
Nutrition Info
Serving Size 1/2 Cup Sodium 300mg
Calories 183 Trans Fat 0g
Carbohydrates 5g Fat 14g
Protein 9g Cholesterol 0g

Comments on "Chili Paneer and Indian-Chinese Cuisine"

  1. April 23, 2013
    Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons:

    Oh my gosh, this is beautiful! Great photography - my mouth is watering just looking at this! Pretty much anything that involves sambal oelek gets my heart going pitter-patter, but this especially :)

  2. April 23, 2013
    Puja Thomas-Patel:

    Thank you so much Lori! I love sambal oelek too! :)

  3. April 24, 2013

    This looks like such a great fusion dish! A lot of the Indian restaurant around here have an Indo-Chinese section to their menus so I've tried a few of the dishes and they're always delicious =)

    1. April 24, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Peggy! I love that more and more Indian restaurants in America are adding an Indo-Chinese section. :)

  4. April 24, 2013

    Looks delicious! Both Indian and Chinese restaurants are very popular in Berlin, but I have bever seen or tasted a fusion. Thank's for the inspiration.

    1. April 24, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thank you Claudia! Do let me know if you make some Indian-Chinese food.

  5. April 24, 2013
    Divya Pramil:

    Yum looks too appetizing and lovely clicks, esp the 1st one :)

    1. April 25, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Divya! :)

  6. April 30, 2013

    I just made this and it was SO good and really easy! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. April 30, 2013
      Puja Thomas-Patel:

      Thanks Caitlin! I am so happy you made the recipe and that you liked it. It's one of my all time favorites! :)

  7. June 22, 2014

    seems to be an interesting combination.. Never tried such a combo.. This recipe is added to TRY-IT-YOURSELF list. :)

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