Paneer fried rice is savory, spiced and delicious stir fried rice variant made with soft paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese), long grained rice, healthy veggies, fragrant herbs and spices. There are many ways this recipe is made. I share an Indian inspired mildly spiced stir fried rice loaded with mixed vegetables, paneer, aromatics and ground spices that will perfectly suit the Indian taste buds.
Table of Contents
About This Paneer Fried Rice
Rice and roti are a staple in most Indian homes. And so it is in our home too. There are various ways rice can be featured in any dish. While most of the times steamed rice pairs well with most Indian curries and lentils, sometimes you want to make something different and unique with rice.
It is here that this paneer fried rice recipe fits in. It is similar to the way a classic Chinese Fried Rice is made. Just that the recipe has Indian flavors featuring the usual Indian spices and herbs.
The dish has a comforting savory taste, is mild, not spicy and even kid friendly. You can pack it in the tiffin box too. I also make a similar fried rice variant with button mushrooms and you can check it here Mushroom Fried Rice.
For a vegan option, swap firm tofu with paneer in the recipe. Pan fry the tofu before you mix it with the prepared fried rice.
If you have leftover rice, then the recipe is a breeze to make as you only need to stir fry the ingredients. But for health reasons, I always prefer and suggest to include freshly cooked rice to make the dish
In the recipe, I have added some mixed vegetables like carrots, french beans (green beans) and capsicum (bell pepper). Feel free to swap these vegetables with your choice of veggies.
I would not recommend to omit the vegetables, as they give a good crunch and texture to the entire dish apart from making it more nutritious, hearty and healthy.
How to make Paneer Fried Rice
1. Rinse 1 heaped cup regular or long-grained rice rice or basmati rice very well in water. Then soak the rice grains in water for 20 to 30 minutes.
You can include any non-sticky medium grained rice if you do not have basmati or long-grained rice.
2. After 20 to 30 minutes, drain all the water. Add the rice in a 2 litre pressure cooker with ¼ teaspoon salt or as required.
Note that the rice can be cooked or steamed in a pan on the stove-top or in an electric pressure cooker or instant pot. Just add water as needed to cook the rice using whichever method you follow.
3. Pour 1.75 cups water and drizzle ½ teaspoon oil. Stir and mix. Use any neutral flavored oil.
4. Stir and pressure cook the rice for 2 whistles or for about 8 to 10 minutes on medium to medium-high heat. This much cooking time will make for an almost al-dente texture in the rice.
When the pressure falls on its own in the cooker, then remove the lid. Gently fluff the rice with a fork.
5. Then remove the cooked rice in a large plate or tray. Let the rice grains cool completely. Do allow the grains to cool completely before you add them to the stir-fried veggies.
6. Meanwhile, when the rice is soaking, you can do the prep by grating or shredding the carrot, thinly slicing the french beans, finely chopping the capscium (green bell pepper) and chopping the onion and tomato.
Making Paneer Fried Rice
7. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan or kadai (wok) and add ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera) or cumin seeds. Sauté till they splutter.
You can use any neutral flavored oil.
8. Then add 1 medium sized finely chopped onion (or about ⅓ cup finely chopped onions). Sauté the onions stirring at regular intervals until they turn translucent.
9. Add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and sauté for some seconds until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
10. Next add 1 medium to large sized chopped tomato (or ½ cup chopped tomatoes).
11. Mix well.
12. Sauté until the tomatoes soften and turn mushy.
13. Now add 7 to 9 thinly sliced french beans (about ⅓ cup thinly sliced french beans).
14. Stir fry on a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
15. Then add 1 grated/shredded/finely chopped carrot (about ⅓ cup shredded carrots) and 1 finely chopped capsicum (about ⅓ cup finely chopped bell pepper).
16. Mix and continue to stir fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
17. Then add the paneer cubes (250 grams). Also sprinkle some ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper or pepper powder, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Stir and mix very well.
For the best texture, I recommend adding soft, tender homemade paneer cubes. If using packaged paneer, ensure that they are fresh and do not taste sour or tangy.
To get a spicy taste, add some more crushed black pepper and red chilli powder. For some light sour and umami flavors, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of naturally brewed soy sauce.
18. Then add the cooked rice which is cooled completely. Season with salt as required. If using leftover rice, add about 3 to 3.5 cups of cooked rice.
19. Gently stir and mix everything very well. You can add the cooked rice in parts if you prefer.
20. Check the taste and add more of the spice powders or salt as per your taste preferences.
21. Serve paneer fried rice with a side veggie salad or raita variety like boondi raita or onion tomato raita or cucumber raita. It tastes good as it is also and can be served plain without any accompaniment.
For more delicious paneer recipes you can check this collection of Paneer Recipes.
More Rice Recipes
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Paneer Fried Rice
For cooking rice
- 1 cup rice – heaped, regular or basmati rice or long grained rice – 200 grams or 3 to 3.5 cups leftover cooked rice
- 1.75 cups water
- ½ teaspoon oil – any neutral flavored oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt or add as required
- 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral flavored oil
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera) or cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
- 1 teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste or 3 to 4 small to medium garlic cloves + ½ inch ginger – crushed to a paste in a mortar
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes or 1 medium-sized
- ⅓ cup shredded carrots or 1 small to medium-sized, shredded or finely chopped
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced french beans or 7 to 9 french beans- thinly sliced or finely chopped
- ⅓ cup finely chopped capsicum (green bell pepper) or 1 small-sized bell pepper
- 250 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – chopped in cubes
- ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper or pepper powder, add as required
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder or add as per taste
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala
- salt as required
- Rinse the regular rice or basmati rice very well in water for a few times. Then soak the rice grains in water for 20 to 30 minutes.
- After 20 to 30 minutes, drain and add the rice in a pressure cooker. Add salt.
- Pour 1.75 cups of water and oil.
- Stir and pressure cook the rice for 2 whistles or for about 8 to 10 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.
- When the pressure falls on its own in the cooker, remove the lid and gently fluff the rice. You can also cook the rice in a pot. If using leftover cooked rice, add 3 to 3.5 cups.
- Transfer the cooked rice grains in a large tray or plate and let them cool completely at room temperature, before you proceed further with stir-frying.
- Meanwhile, when the rice is soaking, you can do the prep work by grating or shredding the carrot, thinly slicing the french beans, finely chopping the capsicum, onion and tomato.
Making paneer fried rice
- Heat oil in a deep pan or kadai (wok) and add caraway seeds or cumin seeds. Fry till they splutter.
- Then add the finely chopped onions and sauté stirring often till they turn translucent.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and sauté till the tomatoes soften and turn mushy.
- Now add the thinly sliced french beans. Stir fry on a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Then add the grated carrots and finely chopped capsicum. Mix and continue to stir fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Then add paneer cubes. Also sprinkle some the crushed black pepper or pepper powder, red chili powder and garam masala powder. Stir and mix very well.
- Then add the cooked rice. Season with salt as required.
- Gently stir and mix everything very well. You can add the rice in parts if you prefer.
- Check the taste and add more of the ground spice powders or salt according to your taste preferences.
- Serve paneer fried rice hot or warm with a side veggie salad or raita. I usually serve this dish with raita varieties like onion raita or boondi raita or cucumber raita. However it also tastes good even without any accompaniments or sides.
- The rice grains have to be cooled completely before you stir fry them or else they end up in a mush. You can refrigerate the rice for about 30 minutes if you prefer.
- You can use any variety of capsicum (bell pepper) – yellow, green or red.
- For best results, use homemade paneer. For frozen paneer, follow the prepping instructions listed on the pack.
- For a vegan option, replace paneer with tofu. In another small skillet, lightly pan fry, pressed and firm tofu in a bit of oil and then mix it with the stir fried rice.
- The amount of ground spices can be varied according to your taste preferences.
- For some light tangy and umami flavor add 1 to 2 teaspoons of naturally brewed soy sauce.
- Include vegetables like cabbage, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, steamed or cooked edamame beans. You can omit the tomatoes if you don’t prefer them, but they do add some tang to the dish.
- The recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Paneer Fried Rice recipe post from the blog archives (first published in September 2015) has been updated and republished on 30 June 2021.