Paneer Manchurian is a savory, satisfying dish that features (shallow or deep) fried paneer cubes. This Indo-Chinese fusion Paneer Manchurian recipe can be prepared either dry with a light sweet, salty, and tangy sauce. Or, make a saucy version with a heavier gravy that’s perfect to enjoy over fried rice. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions with photos to make both of these tasty variations!
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More on Paneer Manchurian
Paneer Manchurian is a popular dish that beautifully combines Indian and Chinese flavors and cooking techniques.
Sweet paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cubes are dusted with corn starch and spices, and are then either shallow fried or deep fried – depending on preference. Deep fried cheese tends to be a bit crispier on the outside, while pan fried cubes are less crispy and a bit healthier.
This main dish or snack can be made with either frying option, and can also be prepared with your choice of a thin sauce or a thick, rich gravy. I share these two versions:
- Paneer Manchurian Dry (Restaurant Style) – A dry snack version that’s tossed in a light sauce.
- Paneer Manchurian Gravy – A version with a rich gravy-like sauciness.
Both versions are delicious! They include a mixture of soy sauce, ketchup, chilli sauce, fresh veggies and bright aromatics for a just the right balance of sweet, salty, and umami flavors.
The addition of tomato ketchup is what makes the Manchurian sauce different from the familiar chilli sauce which is used for Chilli Paneer or Chilli Mushroom. This paneer Manchurian recipe also has less green chillies for a more mild taste that lets the other ingredients shine.
Below you’ll find step-by-step recipes with photos to make Paneer Manchurian using whatever method you like!
Tip: You can even make this a vegan recipe by swapping the paneer with cubes of firm tofu.
For more delicious paneer recipes, check out this collection of 90 Paneer Recipes.
Dry Paneer Manchurian Recipe
This dry Paneer Manchurian recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. As you don’t require to chop many veggies. All you need is fresh and soft paneer. I do suggest to use homemade paneer but you can use a good brand of packaged paneer.
In this slightly healthier recipe, I have pan fried the paneer cubes, instead of shallow frying or deep frying. If you like a crispy version, then deep fry the paneer cubes. Alternatively you can even grill them on a pan.
1. First, prep the fresh ingredients. Chop the onions and bell pepper into 1 inch squares. You can use red or green pepper (capsicum).
Finely chop the ginger, garlic, green chilies and celery. Set aside. Skip celery, if you don’t like it. You can also use spring onion/scallions instead of onions.
2. Then chop the cottage cheese in cubes. Pat dry them completely with a clean kitchen towel. Then add them to a large mixing bowl.
3. Now add ½ teaspoon red chili powder (or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper), ½ teaspoon black pepper powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons cornstarch to the paneer cubes.
You can also combine all of the dry ingredients together first, and then add to the bowl.
4. Gently shake and toss to mix and thoroughly coat the cheese.
Pan Fry Paneer
5. Heat 3 tablespoons of preferred neutral-flavored oil in a pan, kadai or wok. The heat should be medium hot for frying.
6. Carefully add the paneer cubes. Make sure they do not touch. You might need to work in batches if the pan isn’t quite large enough.
7. Cook for a few minutes until browned on one side. Then flip and continue to fry all sides of the paneer cubes.
8. Take care to not over-fry the cubes, or they will become too chewy and dense.
9. Once all of the pieces are fried golden, transfer them to a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to drain the excess oil.
Stir Fry Aromatics
10. In the same pan there will be some oil. So there’s no need to wipe out the pan first. If in case there is no oil or very less oil in the pan, then add 1 tablespoon of oil.
Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, ginger, green chilies, garlic and celery.
11. Stir well. Keep the heat to medium high as you stir fry.
12. While the veggies stir fry, make the light sauce for the dry Manchurian. There will be a bit of leftover cornstarch and spices in the bowl which was used to coat the paneer cubes.
13. Add ¼ cup water to this leftover cornstarch & spice mixture. Stir well to create a smooth paste.
If the paneer cubes were moist when you combined them with the dry mixture, then you will need to make a separate corn starch paste. To do this simply dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water.
14. Meanwhile, continue to cook the veggies and aromatics over medium high heat, stirring frequently.
15. Now add ½ tablespoon soy sauce (or 1.5 teaspoons soy sauce) to the pan.
16. Then add 1.5 tablespoons tomato ketchup. Ketchup adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. For more sweetness you can increase the amount used to 2 tablespoons.
17. Stir and mix well.
18. Then season with ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper for more heat), ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (black pepper powder) and salt to taste.
Because of the soy sauce and ketchup you shouldn’t need to add more than a pinch of salt. For a sweeter version, feel free to add ½ teaspoon of sugar.
19. Add the cornstarch paste.
20. Stir well and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the mixture to cook for one or two minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
Make Dry Paneer Manchurian
21. Once the sauce has thickened, then add the pan fried paneer cubes.
22. Gently stir so that the cheese does not break up, but does get thoroughly coated in the sweet, tangy, and salty sauce. Turn off the heat.
23. Lastly, add ½ teaspoon rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar. The acidity really brings the flavors together!
24. Stir and check the taste. If needed add more salt, soy sauce, vinegar or black pepper.
25. Serve Restaurant Style Dry Paneer Manchurian hot garnished with celery or some spring onion greens (scallion greens). You can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) or parsley.
This tasty and satisfying snack is delicious on its own, no dipping sauces or sides needed!
Paneer Manchurian Gravy
This Paneer Manchurian Gravy has the crispy paneer cubes in a sour and umami gravy or sauce. You will find this Paneer Manchurian with sauce in many restaurants serving Indo Chinese food.
In this recipe you will not find the addition of all purpose flour. I have used cornflour. I have also not deep fried the paneer cubes but shallow fried them. You can pan fry or deep fry them as per your preference.
I have also made this gravy without capsicum (bell pepper). But if you want to add capsicum then you can add it.
This Paneer Manchurian Gravy is easy to make. I have added celery in the gravy, but you can give it a skip if you don’t have and the recipe will still taste good.
Prep and Fry Paneer
1. Dice 200 grams paneer (cottage cheese) into cubes or squares. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch, ½ teaspoon chopped ginger-garlic, ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder (or as required) and salt as required. Gently mix the whole mixture very well .
2: Heat 4 to 5 tablespoons oil in a wok or skillet. Shallow fry the flour-coated paneer cubes till light golden turning as needed.
3: Drain on kitchen paper tissues and set aside. Don’t fry too much as the paneer cubes might become dense.
Make Paneer Manchurian Gravy or Sauce
4: In another pan or wok take 2 tablespoons oil. Or remove the extra oil from the wok in which you fried the paneer keeping about 2 tablespoon oil in it.
Add chopped spring onions to the oil and stir fry until the onions soften.
Add 5 to 6 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 inch finely chopped ginger, 1 finely chopped green chilli, 1 teaspoon chopped celery and stir fry for a few seconds.
5: Now add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 or 1.5 tablespoons tomato ketchup and 1 to 1.25 cups vegetable stock or water. Cook till the mixture begins to simmer.
6: Add the cornstarch paste (2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 to 3 tablespoons water mixed to a smooth slurry or paste). Stir so that the no lumps are formed.
7: Simmer and keep on stirring till the gravy begins to thicken. Once the desired consistency of thickness is done, add the fried paneer cubes, ¼ or ½ teaspoon black pepper powder, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and salt as required.
If the gravy becomes too thick, then you can add some water before adding the fried paneer cubes.
8: Stir and switch off the flame. Serve Paneer Manchurian Gravy hot garnished with spring onion greens (scallion greens) with some vegetable fried rice or vegetable noodles or steamed rice. You can even serve with dinner rolls or naan.
- For any paneer dish that you make it is best to use fresh paneer. Homemade paneer is always better and in a pinch you can use store-brought packaged paneer. Also make sure that the paneer does not taste bitter or has gone rancid.
- Fry the paneer by choosing the method that suits you for any of the two recipes shared above. So you can deep fry, shallow fry, pan fry or grill the paneer cubes in a pan.
- You can always adjust the sauces and seasonings by adding according to your requirements. For a spicy taste, add more chilli sauce and for a sweeter taste add a bit more of the tomato ketchup.
- Feel free to omit the capsicum (bell pepper) if you do not have it. Instead of onions you can use spring onions or vice versa.
- When you add the cornstarch slurry or paste, make sure that the heat is low and quickly, thoroughly mix the paste with the remaining mixture so that lumps are not formed.
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Paneer Manchurian Recipe – Dry and Gravy
Dry Paneer Manchurian – Recipe 1
- 250 grams Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or corn flour – for paneer marinade
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder (ground black pepper) or white pepper – for paneer marinade
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – for paneer marinade
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required – for paneer marinade
- 3 tablespoons oil – for pan frying paneer
- ⅓ cup onions cut into 1 inch squares or ⅓ cup chopped spring onion whites
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 to 2 teaspoon finely chopped celery – optional
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies
- ½ cup capsicum diced into 1 inch squares, any color capsicum – red, green or yellow (bell peppers)
- 1.5 to 2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce or add as required
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup water
- salt as required
- ½ teaspoon sugar – optional
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar
For Paneer Manchurian Gravy – Recipe 2
- 200 grams Paneer or firm tofu
- ¼ cup thinly sliced capsicum or 1 small-sized, optional
- 1 to 1.25 cups water or vegetable stock
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ½ cup chopped spring onion whites (scallion whites)
- 1 green chilli – finely chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped
- 1 inch ginger – finely chopped
- 5 to 6 garlic cloves – small to medium-sized – finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon celery – finely chopped, optional
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- salt as required
- 4 to 5 tablespoons oil – for frying the paneer
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped spring onions – for garnish
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch – to make cornstarch paste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water – to make cornstarch paste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch – for paneer marinade
- ¼ teaspoon finely chopped ginger – for paneer marinade
- ¼ teaspoon finely chopped garlic – for paneer marinade
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper powder or as required, for paneer marinade
- salt as required, for paneer marinade
Making Dry Paneer Manchurian – Recipe 1
- Dice paneer in cubes. Pat dry them with a clean kitchen towel.
- Add them the paneer cubes to a mixing bowl together with red chili powder, black pepper powder, salt and cornstarch.
- Gently shake, toss and mix. Everything should be well mixed. You could also mix the corn starch and the spice powders first and then add the paneer cubes to it.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan or kadai or wok. The oil should be medium hot.
- Add the paneer cubes. Flip and pan fry so that all the sides get cooked evenly. For a crisp version, you will need to shallow fry or deep fry the paneer cubes.
- Pan fry till the paneer cubes are light golden. Don't fry for a longer period of time as the paneer cubes might become dense.
- Place the pan fried paneer cubes on kitchen paper towels.
- In the same pan in which the paneer cubes were pan fried there will be some oil. So need to add any oil.
- Add the chopped onions, capsicum, ginger, green chilies, garlic and celery. Mix well and stir fry the veggies until the capsicum is half-cooked.
- Whilst the veggies are getting stir fried, in the same bowl in which the paneer cubes were mixed, there will be leftover corn starch & the spice powder mixture.
- You will only get this dry mixture if the paneer cubes were dry. Add ¼ cup water and make a paste of the remaining corn starch & spice powder mixture.
- If the paneer cubes were moist, then you will need to make a separate cornstarch paste. Dissolve 1 tablespoon corn starch with 3 tablespoon water.
- Add soy sauce and tomato ketchup to the stir-fried veggies. Adding 1.5 tbsp tomato ketchup make the dish sweet. For an extra sweetness, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup can be added. Stir. You can also add about ½ teaspoon of sugar.
- Then season with salt, red chili powder and black pepper. Add less salt as both soy sauce, tomato sauce and the cornstarch paste we made, already has salt in them.
- Add the cornstarch paste. Stir well and allow to simmer on a medium heat till the sauce thickens – about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Once the manchurian sauce has thickened, then add the pan-fried paneer cubes.
- Stir again very well so that the sauce coats the paneer cubes evenly and switch off heat.
- Lastly add rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar. Stir. Check the taste and add more salt, soy sauce, vinegar or black pepper if required.
- Serve dry paneer manchurian snack hot garnished with celery or some spring onion greens. You can also garnish it with chopped coriander leaves or parsley.
Making Paneer Manchurian Gravy
- Mix all the ingredients for the paneer marinade. Add paneer to the marinade to the paneer. Toss the mixture well, so that the paneer is well coated with the marinade.
- Make the cornstarch paste with water.
- Shallow or deep fry the paneer cubes in hot oil. Drain on paper napkins and keep aside.
- Remove the extra oil from the wok or kadai and keep about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok or pan. Or choose to heat 1 tablespoon oil in a fresh pan or skillet.
- When the oil becomes hot add the onions. Stir fry the onions on medium to high heat taking care that they do burn.
- Let the onions become translucent.
- Add the ginger, garlic, green chili and celery. Stir for some seconds or a minute.
- Now add the capsicum if adding them. Stir fry the capsicum also for 2 to 3 mins.
- Add all the sauces, veg stock or water. Stir well and bring this mixture to a simmer or light boil.
- Add the cornstarch paste and mix evenly. Simmer until the sauce thickens and reaches your preferred consistency.
- Now add the shallow fried paneer cubes, vinegar, pepper and salt. Stir and switch off heat.
- Add the chopped spring onion greens and serve paneer manchurian gravy hot with veg fried rice, steamed rice or veg noodles.
- Add the cornstarch paste slowly and keep on stirring while adding it so that lumps are not formed.
- If you like to have more gravy, you will obviously use more water or stock. So in proportion you will have to increase the cornflour paste.
- The cornstarch is added to thicken to the gravy. If the gravy becomes too thick, then you can thin it by adding little water. You can even add the paneer pieces directly instead of frying them.
- Note that the servings and approximate nutrition data is for the dry paneer manchurian recipe.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Paneer Manchurian recipe post from the archives first published in December 2014 has been republished and updated on 14 May, 2022.