Instant Pot Chilli Paneer Gravy

Instant Pot Chilli Paneer Gravy

Instant pot chilli paneer gravy is a Chinese style recipe of cottage cheese cubes in a spicy, sour, sweet, umami chilli sauce. This is a fusion recipe having the best of both Indian and Chinese cuisine. A widely popular dish in Chinese restaurants in India. Serve it with fried rice or noodles or roti to make for a delicious lunch or dinner.

instant pot chilli paneer served in an oval white bowl with wooden chopsticks on left side on a wooden board

This spicy cottage cheese dish is one of my favorite recipes too. I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Chinese food, but one dish that I really like is this one.

I remember going to any restaurant for dinner and without fail, I would order paneer chilli with some naan or tandoori roti.

Here is my version of making this famous fusion Indo Chinese recipe in the instant pot. This recipe comes together very quickly and is perfect for weeknight dinners or when you want to cook a delicious meal quickly.

There are two variants- a dry or semi-dry version and a sauce or gravy based version. If you want to make the stovetop dry version or semi-dry version then kindly check this recipe of Chilli Paneer where I have shared a restaurant style dry and semi-gravy version.

About This Recipe

  1. Paneer: It is best is to add homemade Paneer in the recipe. But if short of time then you can also use a good quality store brought paneer. Make sure the paneer is fresh and soft as it is the star ingredient in this recipe. You can even use malai paneer.
  2. No MSG (Monosodium Glutamate or Ajinomoto): I generally don’t add msg or ajinomoto to any of the Indo Chinese recipes I make at home. So the taste will be not restaurant-style or like the Chinese food we get at the Chinese food stalls in India. But the taste will be good.
  3. Thickeners: Potato starch, corn starch (known as cornflour in India) and tapioca starch are the three thickeners you can use in the recipe for thickening the sauce. All three are easily available in the market or online. I have used tapioca starch.
  4. Soy Sauce: It is best to use naturally fermented soy sauce. You can even replace soy sauce with bragg liquid aminos. I personally find bragg liquid aminos having a nice complex taste and flavor.
  5. Cooking Time: The recipe takes less time in the instant pot then when made in a wok or pan. Paneer cubes are fried separately. To save time you can skip frying paneer cubes and add them directly to the sauce.
  6. Vegan Options: To make the recipe plant-based, use seitan or extra firm tofu or tempeh.
instant pot chilli paneer served in an oval white bowl with wooden chopsticks on left side on a wooden board

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Instant Pot Chilli Paneer Gravy

Fry Paneer

1. In a bowl take paneer cubes (200 to 250 grams). Sprinkle 3 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn starch (cornflour) or potato starch.

Also add ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder, ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt or add as per taste and ½ teaspoon braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce.

In a bowl take paneer cubes, tapioca starch and spices for marination


2. Gently toss the paneer pieces in this mixture well so that the cornflour and seasonings coat the paneer cubes well. The tapioca starch or corn starch coating gives a nice white color to the paneer.

mix so that cornflour and seasonings coats the paneer cubes

3. Heat 6 to 7 tablespoons of oil for frying in a frying pan or kadai. When the oil becomes hot, add the paneer cubes. You can shallow fry or pan fry or deep fry the paneer cubes. Here we are shallow frying.

frying paneer cubes in oil in a pan

4. When one side is light golden, turn over and fry the second side.

frying paneer cubes in oil in a pan

5. Then turn over and continue to fry till light golden. Do not fry for too long as then the paneer becomes dense and hard.

frying paneer cubes in oil in a pan

6. Remove fried paneer cubes and place them on kitchen paper towels to absorb extra oil.

fried paneer cubes on kitchen paper towels

More Prep

7. In a small bowl add 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or corn starch or potato starch and 2 tablespoons water.

 In a small bowl add 1 tablespoon tapioca starch and 2 tablespoons water

8. Stir and mix very well.

mix tapioca starch and water

9. In another small bowl take the following ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons bragg liquid aminos or 1 tablespoon soy sauce or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon green chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
added sauces and vinegar in a bowl

10. Mix very well and keep aside.

mix the sauces and vinegar mixture

Sauté Aromatics

11. Press the saute button on the instant pot on normal mode. Set the timer to 5 minutes.

Press the saute button on the instant pot on normal mode

12. Add 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil and let the oil become hot (not smoking hot or sizzling hot). You can also use any neutral tasting oil.

Then add the following ingredients:

  • ¼ cup chopped spring onions or scallions
  • 1 to 2 green chillies (slit or diagonally sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
add spring onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic in oil in instant pot

13. Sauté for 1 minute.

 Sauté the mixture for 1 minute.

14. Then add ⅓ to ½ cup thinly sliced capsicum (green bell pepper). You can use any color bell pepper.

adding ⅓ to ½ cup thinly sliced capsicum

15. Sauté for 1 minute.

Sauté capsicum for 1 minute

16. You can press the cancel button if you want. Then add the premixed sauce mixture.

add the premixed sauce mixture

17. Stir and mix very well.

mix well

18. Add 1 cup water.

Add 1 cup water

19. Mix again and deglaze.

Mix again and deglaze

Simmer Chilli Gravy

20. Press the sauté button again on normal mode and set the time to 5 minutes.

Press the sauté button again on normal mode and set the time to 5 minutes

21. Let the entire mixture come to a boil.

bring mixture come to a boil

22. Add the tapioca starch paste or corn starch paste or potato starch paste.

Add the tapioca starch paste

23. Mix very well so that no lumps are formed. Stir and mix as soon as you add the paste or slurry so that lumps are not formed.

mix and stir

24. Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce thickens and becomes glossy. The raw taste of tapioca starch or corn starch should not be there.

Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce thickens and becomes glossy

25. Sprinkle ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar, salt and crushed black pepper as required. Mix again well. Do keep a check on the salt as the sauces already have salt in them. Thus add less salt.

adding sugar, salt and crushed black pepper and mix again

Add Paneer

26. Press cancel button and add fried paneer cubes.

Press cancel button and add fried paneer cubes

27. Then add and 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped spring onion greens or scallion greens.

adding chopped spring onion greens

28. Mix well.

mix again

Serving Suggestions

Serve instant pot chilli paneer gravy hot garnished with some spring onion green (scallion greens) as a side with noodles or fried rice or dinner rolls or bread or roti or paratha.

For best taste, it should be served hot. The recipe can be easily scaled to make a big or small batch.

Serve with Veg Noodles, steamed rice, Fried Rice, dinners rolls or naan bread. I usually serve with naan or roti as this combination is liked by my family. You can also pair it with plain paratha or garlic naan.

instant pot chilli paneer served in an oval white bowl with wooden chopsticks on left side on a wooden board

More Tasty Paneer Recipes

If you have made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my newsletter or you can follow me on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

instant pot chilli paneer served in an oval white bowl with wooden chopsticks on left side on a wooden board

Instant Pot Chilli Paneer Gravy

A spicy, sour and umami indo Chinese recipe of chilli paneer gravy made in the instant pot.

4.92 from 25 votes

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 30 mins

for frying paneer

for mixing sauces

for starch paste or slurry

other ingredients

Frying paneer

  • Mix, toss and coat the paneer cubes with the starch, red chilli powder, crushed black pepper, salt and bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce.

  • Heat 6 to 7 tablespoons oil for frying in a frying pan or kadai. When the oil becomes hot, add the paneer cubes. 

  • When one side is light golden, turn over and fry the second side. Then turn over and continue to fry till light golden. Do not fry for too long as paneer will become hard.

  • Remove fried paneer cubes and place them on kitchen paper towels.

  • Do not fry the paneer cubes for too long as then they will become dense and won’t taste good.

Making starch slurry or paste

Mixing sauces

  • In another small bowl take 2 tablespoons braggs liquid aminos or 1 tablespoon soy sauce or add as required, 1 teaspoon red chilli sauce , 1 teaspoon green chilli sauce, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

  • Mix very well and keep aside.

Sautéing

  • Press the saute button on the instant pot on normal mode. Set the timer to 5 minutes.

  • Add 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil and let the oil become hot (not smoking hot or very hot but just hot).

  • Then add spring onions or scallions, green chillies, finely chopped ginger and finely chopped garlic. Sauté for a minute.

  • Add ⅓ to ½ cup thinly sliced capsicum and sauté for a minute. If adding celery, then add at this step when adding capsicum.

  • You can press the cancel button if you want. Then add the premixed sauce mixture. Mix very well.

  • Add 1 cup water and stir well. Deglaze the inner pot.

Simmering Chilli Gravy

  • Press the sauté button again on normal mode and set the timer to 5 minutes.

  • Let the entire mixture come to a simmer or boil.

  • Add the tapioca starch paste or corn starch paste or potato starch paste.

  • Mix very well so that no lumps are formed. Stir and mix as soon as you add the paste or slurry so that lumps are not formed.

  • Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce thickens and becomes glossy. The raw taste of tapioca starch or corn starch should not be there.

  • Sprinkle ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar, crushed black pepper and salt as required. Mix again well. Do keep a check on salt as the sauces already have salt in them. Thus add less salt.

Adding Paneer

  • Press the cancel button and add fried paneer cubes and 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped spring onion greens or scallion greens. Mix well.

  • Serve instant pot chilli paneer gravy hot garnished with some scallion greens as a side with noodles or fried rice or dinner rolls or bread or roti or naan or paratha.

  1. Thick or thin sauce: To make the gravy or sauce more thick, add less water. if the gravy has become too thick, then add some veg stock or water to thin it down.
  2. Paneer: Best is to use homemade paneer. If short of time then use a good quality store brought paneer. Make sure the paneer is fresh and soft. You can even use malai paneer.
  3. Soy sauce: The best taste in the dish comes from either using Braggs liquid aminos or naturally fermented soy sauce.
  4. Cooking time: The recipe takes less time in the instant pot then when made in a wok or pan. Paneer cubes are fried separately. To save time you can skip frying paneer cubes and add them directly to the sauce.
  5. Chilli sauces: Both the red chilli sauces and green chilli sauce added in the recipe are spicy sauces and not sweet. You can even replace red chilli sauce with sriracha sauce. 
  6. Vegan options: Replace paneer with firm tofu or seitan or tempeh. 
  7. Gluten free variations: Use gluten free soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos and potato starch or tapioca starch in the recipe. 

Nutrition Facts

Instant Pot Chilli Paneer Gravy

Amount Per Serving

Calories 381 Calories from Fat 279

% Daily Value*

Fat 31g48%

Saturated Fat 12g75%

Cholesterol 44mg15%

Sodium 1022mg44%

Potassium 52mg1%

Carbohydrates 16g5%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 194IU4%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 19mg23%

Vitamin E 2mg13%

Vitamin K 20µg19%

Calcium 331mg33%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 7µg2%

Iron 1mg6%

Magnesium 3mg1%

Phosphorus 4mg0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This post contains amazon affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This recipe from the archives, first published in October 2012 has been updated on 10 January 2022.