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Trisha Atluri

Chili paneer is an Indo-Chinese favorite. This recipe borrows characteristics of South Indian cooking to yield a dish that is packed with flavor and spice. Enjoy with plain white rice for a complete meal.

Chili Paneer

After a 20 hour flight from Dallas to Hyderabad, India, I would want nothing more than to fall into bed and sleep. The only thing that could stop me from succumbing to jetlag was my grandmother’s cooking. 

Every time I traveled to India, my grandmother would make a paneer dish to welcome us. In times when my world feels shaken up and turned upside down, cooking this recipe replaces my longing for her with the nostalgic flavor of home.

Chili paneer is the first family recipe my mother passed on to me. As a popular ingredient in India, paneer holds cultural value as well as sentimental value. South Indian cooking is not afraid of spicing things up, so be prepared for the rich flavor in this recipe.

Serves 4

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 3 large bell pepper
  • 1 lb paneer
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 chopped green chilis
  • 6 diced garlic cloves
  • 3 tomatoes 
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Oil
  • Salt


  1. Slice bell peppers lengthwise and halve the slices.
  2. Chop paneer into one inch cubes.
  3. Add a teaspoon of oil and pinch of salt to a nonstick wok on the stove on high heat.
  4. Stir fry sliced bell peppers in the wok for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate plate.
  5. Slice onions and stir fry until brown. Transfer to the plate with bell peppers.
  6. Fry paneer in the wok on low heat while covered, stirring occasionally.  
  7. Chop the tomatoes and blend in a food processor.
  8. Add 3-4 tbsp oil to a separate nonstick pan and heat on medium. After the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and chilis. Stir for a minute before adding black pepper powder and puréed tomato.
  9. Stir, then cover the pan. Heat for eight minutes, stirring again after five.
  10. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt and ketchup.
  11. Add the vegetables and paneer to the tomato mixture and place on high heat, stirring intermittently.
  12. Remove from heat and cover the paneer. Let stand for a few minutes.
  13. Garnish with cilantro.
  14. Serve warm with rice.

Follow Trisha (@trishatluri) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.