The best Kung Pao Paneer recipe out there. Yes, I promise! It's the best one you'll try. Crispy paneer, crunchy peanuts, and veggies soaked in spicy and slightly sweet kung pao sauce.
I have mentioned in my chili garlic fries recipe how India came into the influence of Chinese food. Indian street food has become quite diverse since then.
I love the flavors of kung pao sauce with veggies and protein. The kung pao sauce is spicy, slightly sweet, and well-balanced.
What's in This Recipe?
I tried and tested this recipe many times. I can finally say this recipe is a no-fail recipe. A must-try for spicy food lovers. Don't like spicy? You must look for a different recipe. Kung pao won't be it without all those chilies. 😉
Dairy & Produce
- Paneer: Indian cottage cheese that's firm in texture. Great source of protein for vegetarians. You may purchase it from any Indian grocery store in the US. Firm tofu would be a great option for a vegan and dairy-free diet. Make sure to dry all the excess moisture.
- Bell Pepper: I have used yellow bell pepper for this recipe. Any color bell pepper should work fine.
- Green Onion: chopped green onion(spring onion) adds such a wonderful flavor to kung pao. Reserve a tablespoon of finely sliced green part of onion for garnish.
- Minced Ginger: an inch of minced ginger is what makes this recipe truly delicious. I only recommend using fresh ginger root. Do not substitute with ginger powder.
- Minced Garlic: I am using 3 small garlic cloves in this recipe. Use fresh garlic for the best taste. I don't recommend using bottled minced garlic.
Condiments & Nuts
- Whole Dried Red Chili: I like using Szechuan, Indian, or Arbol whole red chilies for this recipe. They are all spicy chilies.
- Peanut: ½ cup peanuts. If using raw peanuts, toast them for a few seconds in a skillet on low-medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continually.
- Soy Sauce: I am using a combination of dark and light soy sauce. You can use either light or dark, It won't be much of a taste difference.
- Corn Starch: use 1 tablespoon corn starch to coat the paneer and 1 tablespoon to thicken the sauce.
- Coconut Palm Sugar: I prefer to use coconut palm sugar. You may use regular sugar. Keep in mind, coconut palm sugar is not as sweet compared to regular cane sugar. Please adjust the sugar quantity if using regular sugar.
- White Vinegar: I have tested the recipe with 1 tablespoon but it is a bit too much for my palate. I think 1 teaspoon is just the right amount. The sauce tastes great without vinegar too. You do you! The choice is yours.
- Water or Broth: ½ cup water or broth. If you don't have broth, dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons of bullion or a Maggie cube.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
How to Make Kung Pao Paneer
My recipe is easy to follow. This recipe isn't an authentic kung pao recipe. It's a good fusion of Indian and Chinese. You can modify it to make it suitable for your palate but I can't guarantee the taste I promised.
This same recipe can be followed for kung pao chicken, kung pao beef, or kung pao shrimp.
- Pat dry the paneer with a paper towel before cutting it into small cubes.
- Coat paneer cubes with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- Shake off excess cornstarch before frying.
- Fry the paneer on high heat.
- Follow the same instructions for firm tofu.
- If using raw peanuts, toast the raw peanuts on low medium heat for 2-3 minutes and cool them down. This will help remove the peanut skins before frying them.
What to Serve Kung Pao Paneer with:
I like to serve it with plain rice or just eat it as is. Plain small-grain rice and kung pao make a great combination.
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Kung Pao Paneer | Kung Pao Veg Recipe
- 14 oz Paneer, cut into small cubes , (400 grams)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt , or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
For Kung Pao Stir Fry
- 1 large bell pepper , cut into ½ inch dice
- 3 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces , (spring onion)
- 1 inch minced fresh ginger
- 3 small minced garlic cloves
- ½ cup toasted peanuts , see note for toasting the raw peanuts
- 6 Szechuan whole red chilies , or chilies like Arbol or Indian whole red
- 2 Szechuan whole red chilies broken into pieces or chopped
- ⅓ cup oil
For Kung Pao Sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar , optional
- ½ cup broth or water
- 1 cube Maggie , optional
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar , use less sugar if using regular or fine cane sugar because coconut sugar is not as sweet compared to regular sugar.
Prepare for Kung Pao Sauce
- Combine broth(stock), light and dark soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, and in a small bowl and whisk together until well combined. Set the mixture aside.
- Coat cubed paneer with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Set it aside.
- Heat ½ cup oil in a large Wok on high heat. Add peanuts and red whole chilies. Stir fry for 30 seconds while stirring continuously. Remove the peanuts and chilies and set them aside.
- Fry paneer in the same oil in three small batches. Shake off excess cornstarch and fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove the paneer on a plate and set it aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-high. In the same oil add minced garlic, ginger, and broken dried chiles and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add green onion and bell peppers. Stir for about 1 minute. Move the spatula continuously. Now add peanuts and whole red chilies. Stir for about 20 seconds.
- Stir sauce mixture and add to the wok. Cook until sauce thickens up. Add fried paneer to the wok and start to coat it with sauce.
- Turn the heat off. Garnish with more green onions, thinly sliced.
I love kung pao and this looks amazing. So much veg packed in to it too.
This is one of my favorite things to order out and I'm so happy that I can now make it at home too! Delicious!
Holy cow! This is going to be in my belly this weekend! I love spicy food, and I'm very eager to try paneer. I've never had that before.
I love this! Packed full of amazing flavors! I will definitely make it again!
What a great use of paneer in this awesome kung pao sauce! Yum!