This Schezwan Paneer is delicious, bursting with flavors and is ridiculously easy to make. This dish features crisp Paneer tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce, it’s delicious! Serve it as an appetizer or as a side with some Noodles, or Chinese Fried Rice, and you’ve got yourself a complete Indo-Chinese Meal! In this post I share the recipe from scratch including making the sauce. If you have some store bought Schezwan Sauce you can skip making it.
I also share tips to air fry and pan fry the paneer for a healthy dish.
About Schezwan Paneer
Schezwan Paneer is a lesser known Indo-Chinese appetizer where crisp batter fried paneer is tossed in a super aromatic and spicy schezwan sauce. Like any other Indian Chinese appetizer, schezwan paneer also comes in 2 versions – semi dry and gravy.
You will find this dish most often on the Indian-Chinese restaurant menus and Chinese fast food places.
Schezwan sauce forms the base of this dish and is made with a paste of red chilies, which is sautéed along with oil, ginger, garlic, onions, soya sauce and sichuan peppercorn. This sauce is used in a lot of dishes like fried rice, schezwan chicken and noodles.
Paneer being a bland cheese goes so well in this spicy sauce. The restaurant version of schezwan paneer is deep fried but you can also air fry or pan fry the paneer or even skip the frying part.
You can also toss the paneer in the sauce directly without frying. In the end you will have soft white paneer coated with delicious schezwan sauce.
How to Make Schezwan Paneer (Stepwise photos)
1. Soak 7 to 8 dried red chilies in half cup hot water until softened. I have deseeded the chilies as we do not like the seeds in the sauce. For low heat, use Kashmiri red chilies.
2. Add the chilies along with 2 tbsps of water. You can also use fresh water to make the paste less spicy.
3. Make smooth or slightly coarse paste. Set this aside.
4. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons corn flour, 3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida), salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
5. Pour water and make a free flowing batter. The batter must be of medium thick consistency. If the batter is too thick, the paneer bites will turn hard.
6. Transfer the paneer cubes.
7. Coat them.
8. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. When the oil is hot enough, drop a small portion of batter to check if the oil is hot enough. The batter will rise if the oil is hot.
9. Gently drop the batter coated paneer bites to the hot oil. Do not disturb them as soon as you drop them in the oil. Let them fry for 2 to 3 mins, then stir and fry on a medium high flame.
10. Remove them to a kitchen tissue or a cooling rack when they turn crisp. Do not over fry as they turn hard. Set these aside.
Make Spicy Sauce
11. Heat 1½ tbsp of fresh oil in a pan or wok. Next add ½ tablespoon ginger and ¾ tablespoon garlic too. Saute for a min. Add 2 tablespoons chopped spring onions, 2 to 3 tablespoons celery and slightly crushed ½ teaspoon schezwan peppers as well. Saute for 2 to 3 mins.
12. Add 2 tbsps of red chili paste. Do not use more than that otherwise it may make the dish very spicy. Add salt and sugar.
13. Saute for 2 to 3 mins. Remove the schezwan peppers if you have used. I prefer to remove them before adding water as the cooked peppers flavor do not go well with us. Pour water.
14. Mix and cook until the oil separates.
15. The moisture evaporates and the sauce thickens. Add ½ to ¾ vinegar or tomato sauce.
16. Pour ¾ tablespoon soya sauce. Saute for just a minute.
Make Schezwan Paneer
17. Add ¼ cup sliced capsicums. You can also skip if you do not have. Saute for a minute.
18. Mix 1 teaspoon corn flour with ½ to ¾ water and pour it to the pan.
19. Mix well and taste test. The gravy has to be spicy, sweet and slightly sour. Next when the sauce turns thick, then turn off the stove.
20. Allow the sauce to cool down a bit. Then add the fried paneer bites. Coat the paneer well in the sauce.
Serve schezwan paneer as a starter or side with fried rice or noodles.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 tablespoons red chili paste (or 7 to 8 red chilies)
- ½ cup Hot water to soak chilies
- 3 to 4 tablespoons corn flour
- 3 to 4 tablespoons all purpose flour (Organic maida)
- salt as needed
- ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper
- water as needed to make the batter
- 200 grams paneer
For the Sauce
- oil for deep frying
- 1 to 1½ tablespoons oil for seasoning
- ¾ tablespoon garlic chopped finely
- ½ tablespoon ginger chopped finely
- ½ teaspoon schezwan peppercorn or 3 to 4 crushed (optional)
- 2 tablespoons spring onion whites chopped
- 2 to 3 tablespoons celery chopped (optional)
- salt as needed
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ tablespoon soya sauce
- ½ to ¾ tablespoon vinegar ( or tomato sauce)
- 4 tablespoon water
- ¼ cup capsicum (optional)
- ½ to ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon corn flour or corn starch or arrow root powder
- Deseed & soak red chilies in hot water. Set aside until soft.
- Blend them well with just 2 tbsps of water to a smooth paste. Discard the rest of the soaked water.
- You may skip this entire section and simply add the paneer without frying to the schezwan sauce. To a mixing bowl, add corn flour, maida, pepper and salt.
- Pour water just enough to make a free flowing batter of slightly thick consistency.
- Add the paneer bites and coat them in the batter well.
- Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying or shallow frying.
- When the oil turns hot, gently drop the batter coated paneer in the hot oil, spacing them apart so they don't touch. Do not disturb them for 2 to 3 mins.
- Stir and Fry them on a medium high flame until the paneer bites turn crisp. To pan fry turn them to the other side and fry until crisp. Remove to a cooling rack or steel colander.
How to Make Schezwan Paneer
- Heat oil in a pan or wok. Fry ginger garlic for a minute.
- Add spring onions, celery (optional) and schezwan peppercorn. Saute for 2 mins.
- Add red chili paste, salt and sugar. Fry for 2 to 3 mins. Remove the schezwan pepper as many as possible (optional).
- Pour water and cook until the mixture leaves oil. Pour soya sauce and vinegar or tomato sauce.
- Mix and saute for a minute. Add capscium and fry for 2 mins.
- Mix corn flour with water. Pour that to the pan. Mix well and cook until the sauce thickens. Taste test and adjust the spice and vinegar as desired.
- Turn off the stove. Cool this sauce a bit. Add the paneer and mix well to coat the sauce.
- Serve the schezwan paneer hot with noodles or fried rice.
To Air fry
- To air fry paneer, make the batter slightly thicker. These won't turn golden but will be white in color. If you want you may add some chilli powder to the batter for color.
- Place the batter coated paneer in a greased, preheated air fryer basket or tray. Air fry for 6 to 7 mins at 400 F or 200 C. Turn them to the other side and air fry for another 3 to 4 mins until crisp. The timing may vary depending on your air fryer.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Schezwan Paneer Recipe First published in January 2018. Updated and republished in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
Follow Swasthi’s Recipes