Chilli Paneer Gravy Restaurant Style Masala Recipe

Chilli Paneer Gravy is our favourite vegetarian masala recipe to order at Indian restaurants.

Chilli Paneer Masala is quick and easy to make in your kitchen. Treat your family to homemade Indian takeout dinner tonight!

Our sweet & sour Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe features simple ingredients like Indian cottage cheese, cornstarch, dried chillies, garlic, ginger, onion, sweet bell peppers, ketchup, tomato paste, lemon juice, soy sauce, scallions and sesame seeds.

This healthy vegetarian Indo-Chinese dish is best served with rice or flatbread. Enjoy it for lunch or dinner alongside your favourite curries, salad and chutney.

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Save our Chilli Paneer Gravy Masala recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Chilli Paneer Gravy Masala recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Chilli Paneer Masala?

Chilli Paneer is a popular Indo-Chinese dish that can be served as an appetizer or main dish.

Chunks of Indian cottage cheese are tossed in flour and deep fried until browned and crispy. A homemade Chilli Paneer Gravy is prepared similarly to Chinese sweet & sour sauce, featuring garlic, ginger, chillies, ketchup and sweet red bell pepper.

Once thickened with a cornstarch slurry, the glossy and shiny bright red sauce is tossed with the fried paneer cubes.

Restaurant-style Chilli Paneer Gravy is typically served over rice with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

Easy homemade Chilli Paneer Gravy vegetarian recipe ingredients.
Easy homemadeChilli Paneer Gravy vegetarian recipe ingredients.

Travel to India by CookingChilli Paneer Gravy at Home

I love traveling through Asia.

My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodiaLaosMyanmar, ThailandVietnamThe Maldives and India.

I spent over a month traveling through India. I started in the capital, eating my way through the bustling markets and fine dining restaurants in Delhi. I then embarked on a magical weekend getaway to awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra. In India’s north you’ll find plenty of barbecue,Chilli Paneer Masala and wheat-based flatbreads.

For the second half of my Indian adventure I explored the southern state of Kerala. The south is famous for its seafood, coconut, tropical fruits, and rice based side dishes like crispy dosa. The colonial capital of Cochin was formerly run by the Portuguese. It’s also one of the only places in India you can find beef on a menu.

After enjoying a jaunt to the Maldives my India trip came to a close in the Bollywood capital, bustling and cosmopolitan Mumbai. The city is famous for its specialty street foods and fine dining restaurants at opulent luxury hotels. The Taj Mahal Palace in particular serves one of the world’s most famous Afternoon Teas.

What I found most fascinating is India’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in FranceGermanyItaly or Spain, each city in India had its own local speciality.

After you’ve traveled to India, return home to prepare a fragrant feast for friends and family featuring our flavourfulChilli Paneer Gravy recipe!

Deep fry paneer cubes in oil until browned and crispy.
Deep fry paneer cubes in oil until browned and crispy.

Where To EatChilli Paneer Gravy

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to local Indian restaurants that serve traditionalChilli Paneer Gravy.

Haven’t traveled to India before? It may be helpful to first sampleChilli Paneer Gravy at a local Indian restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can assess the desired chilli gravy to paneer ratio, ideal spicy heat level and perfect complimentary side dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, popular Indian restaurants that may serve Vegetarian Chilli Paneer Masala include Udupi PalaceLahore Tikka House and Kothur Indian Cuisine.

Join Dobbernationloves founder Andrew Dobson in the kitchen by signing up for a fun virtual cooking class! Classes begin with a cocktail that you can sip while preparing 2-3 recipes that are curated around a unique culinary theme. Check out our current Cooking Class Schedule!

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Prepare the Chili Paneer gravy sauce in a large pot or wok.
Prepare the Chili Paneer gravy sauce in a large pot or wok.

My Family LovesChilli Paneer

I’ll never forget my first experience eatingChilli Paneer Masala.

On my final day in Delhi I enjoyed a fabulous feast at Nom Nom Restaurant at the luxurious Ashok Hotel.

The waiter asked me if I’d like to try the chef’s signature specialities, a selection of Indo-Chinese dishes. The table soon filled with steaming dim sum, plump prawns, chicken curry noodles, duck pancakes and glistening Chilli Paneer Gravy.

My eyes bulged as I chewed through crunchy deep fried paneer with a sublime soft and tender interior. The chunks were tossed in a bright red sweet and sour sauce. Slices of tender onion and red bell pepper floating in the bowl.

After traveling throughout India and eating at some of the world’s best Indian restaurants I was excited to share my love for Chilli Paneer Gravy with family.

I’ve hosted many Indian-themed feasts, showcasing dishes from Kerala to Bengal via fragrant curries, fresh salads and hearty soups.

When I finally made my parents this Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe they practically licked the bowl clean. I knew they’d both enjoy the vegetarian dish because they love Indian cottage cheese and classic Chinese sweet and sour sauce.

If you’ve traveled to India on holiday there is no better way to share your adventure at home with family and friends at home then by serving our homemade Chilli Paneer Masala at home!

Toss deep fried paneer chunks in chilli masala gravy.
Toss deep fried paneer chunks in chilli masala gravy.

Health Benefits

Our healthy vegetarian Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

Chilli has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss. 

Bell Peppers are an incredible source of vitamins C and A, which support your skin and immune system. They also provide beneficial carotenoid compounds such as beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system. 

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

A useful source of copper, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, sesame seeds help support circulatory, digestive and skeletal health.

Simmer to heat through before serving. Chilli Paneer Gravy should have a glossy and shiny appearance.
Simmer to heat through before serving. Chilli Paneer Gravy should have a glossy and shiny appearance.

Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time cooking Indian Chilli Paneer at home be sure to review our recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.

  • We suggest using a large wok when preparing Chilli Paneer Masala as it allows you to distribute the heat evenly and offers plenty of space to toss and stir the ingredients together without splatter.
  • If you like spicy food feel free to add additional dried red chilies or green serrano chilies.
  • We’ve used canola oil in this recipe as it has a high smoking point and performs well when deep frying.
  • We’ve used a red onion in this recipe but you can substitute with shallots, cooking onions, sweet Vidalia onion or white onion.
  • We’ve used a red bell pepper in this recipe as it’s traditional but you can substitute for yellow or orange bell pepper.
  • We’ve added lemon juice as an acid to for the Chilli Paneer Gravy but you can also use orange juice or pineapple juice.
Our vegetarian Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe features cornstarch, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, ketchup, tomato paste, soy sauce and lemon.
Our vegetarianChilli Paneer Gravy recipe features cornstarch, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, ketchup, tomato paste, soy sauce and lemon.

What To Serve withChilli Paneer Gravy

Chilli Paneer is one of our favourite Indo-Chinese dishes to cook at home.

The healthy vegetarian recipe can be served as starter or main course entree at a Chinese or Indian dinner party.

If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed buffet you may want to serve the dish alongside these popular recipes:

Serve Chilli Paneer Masala with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
Serve Chilli Paneer Masala with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

You May Also Enjoy These Vegetarian Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe!

How To Make Vegetarian Chilli Paneer Gravy Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Chilli Paneer Gravy

How to make the best Chilli Paneer Gravy recipe. Our vegetarian Indian entree features deep fried paneer tossed in a sweet & sour masala.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chilli Paneer Gravy
Servings: 6
Calories: 302kcal


  • Wok
  • Metal slotted spoon
  • French knife
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Mortar and Pestle or Blender
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon


  • 400 g Paneer cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • 4 tbsp Cornstarch separated
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3 Dried Chilies soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Ginger minced
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Green Chili
  • 1 Small Red Onion chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Scallion sliced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds


  • Slice paneer into cubes. In a small bowl mix together flour, 3 tbsp cornstarch, pepper and salt. Add a little bit of water at a time and slowly stir until the mixture becomes a thin pancake batter in consistency.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large, wide frying pan or wok over medium heat. Toss paneer cubes in the batter then gently lower into the hot oil. Using a metal slotted spoon gently toss to ensure all sides of the paneer pieces cook and brown. Take crispy paneer out of the pan and place on paper towel to blot out excess oil. Set aside.
  • In a small blender or mortar and pestle, blitz together soaked dried chilies, garlic and ginger until it forms a smooth paste.
  • In a large wok add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and sliced green chili. Saute for 1 minute then add the chili paste. Mix with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, after the oil separates. Scrape contents into a bowl and set aside.
  • In the wok add 1 tbsp vegetable oil, sliced onion and bell pepper. Stir fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add the chili paste, ketchup, tomato paste, lemon juice and soy sauce. Stir for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
  • In a small bowl mix together 1 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp water. Add cornstarch slurry to the sauce and stir until combined. Stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add 1- 1 1/2 cups of water to the thickened sauce until it thins out to your desired consistency.
  • Add chopped scallions and fried paneer pieces to the simmering sauce. Toss to ensure all paneer pieces are covered in chili sauce.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with naan or basmati rice.


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.7g | Protein: 14.4g | Fat: 18.9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 424mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 1.4g | Sugar: 3.6g | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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