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
In a small bowl add 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or corn starch or potato starch and 2 tablespoons water. Mix very well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Soy sauce: The best taste in the dish comes from either using Braggs liquid aminos or naturally fermented soy sauce.
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.
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.
Vegan options: Replace paneer with firm tofu or seitan or tempeh.
Gluten free variations: Use gluten free soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos and potato starch or tapioca starch in the recipe.