Indian/ Rice

Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

Learn how to make this Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice. A vegetarian fried rice that’s perfect for parties and makes for a satisfying dinner.

I am all for fried rice. It is, in my opinion, the best and only way to use up leftover rice.

Yes, I said leftover rice! Fried rice is one of those things that works best with day old rice that’s had time to dry out a little. So if you’ve got some leftover rice and you’re also a paneer fan, this is definitely a recipe you’ve got to try.

It makes for a great meal but you can also pair it with a few other dishes too. I’ll share my serving suggestions with you guys further down in the blogpost.

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice

The base of this dish starts with a saucy garlic pepper paneer that is honestly so good. It’s got a ton of flavour and honestly could hold its own as a standalone dish.

But sautéed with some rice into a fried rice? Oh yes. It works perfectly, and it makes for a mind-blowing fried rice. Needless to say it is very garlicky and very peppery.

This dish has a few inspirations!

Garlic pepper or just pepper dishes are pretty common around some of my local east Asian restaurants but I’ve never seen it with paneer. Which is understandable as it’s not an ingredient used in those cuisines.

It was also inspired by one of my all-time favourite local Indian restaurants (Jai Durga Mahal) who make a great paneer fried rice and Szechuan fried rice. Garlic pepper paneer fried rice had to be done, and it was so worth it.

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

Garlic and Pepper are all you need for an epic flavour combination

If garlic is great, and pepper is great… that must mean that garlic pepper is great^2, right? Well I can assure you it is indeed an epic combination.

When it comes to garlic, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a 1 or 2 cloves kind of guy. 4-6 cloves is reasonable in my books and 7-8 is to impress. If you feel the same way, then trust me, you’ll love this.

The pepper flavour traditionally consists of either black pepper, white pepper, or a mixture of both. I’ve opted for a little bit of variety to add another layer of flavour. In this recipe we’ve got black pepper, Sichuan pepper, and Sichuan chilli flakes.

But you can easily use just black pepper if that’s all you have on hand. It will still taste epic.

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

This Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice makes for the perfect dinner

It’s easy to make and even more satisfying to eat. It does not take long to make this dish at all, and a lot of the ingredients might already be things you keep on hand.

It’s also very adaptable as you can change the vegetables to whatever you keep on hand. You can also change the paneer to tofu to make it plant based too.

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

The KEY TIPS to getting this recipe right

If you’re using shop-bought paneer:

  • Make sure to soak the paneer in boiling water as mentioned in the recipe. This will help to soften the paneer to give it more of a homemade feel

For the rice, and this is key:

  • Please make sure to use day-old rice for best results. It allows the rice to dry up and hold its shape for a stir fry without turning into mush. If you’re making rice on the same day, spread thinly on a large plate or tray and place directly into the fridge (uncovered) for 2-3 hours. This will also help to dry the rice out
garlic pepper paneer fried rice

How I’d recommend serving Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice

You could serve the rice alone as a full meal but I personally think it works better if served alongside some other dishes.

I’d recommend my Sriracha Glazed Vegetable Manchurian, this is one of my favourite combinations.

You only need a few ingredients

I’ll cover the main ones below but the full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost

  • Paneer – this is the key ingredient. It is a type of cheese commonly used in Indian cooking that is made from the curds leftover after hot milk has been mixed with an acid. It is a non melting cheese which makes it great for cooking
  • Sichuan peppercorns – these are pink/purple peppercorns that have a bitter pepperiness followed by a tongue numbing and almost citrus note. I purchase these from my local East Asian supermarket. However if you do not have these then you may substitute for the same amount of black pepper
  • Mushroom sauce – I always get asked about this one. It is one of the best ingredients to keep on hand. It is a thick soy-sauce like sauce but infused with shiitake mushrooms. It is salty with a faint hint of sweetness and it adds a ton of umami. It is a vegetarian substitute for oyster sauce.

How to make Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice

Let’s start by soaking the paneer

1) Cut the paneer into cubes and place into a heat proof bowl

2) Pour boiling water over the paneer and leave to stand for around 15 minutes, then drain the water

And that’s it! Now we can make the rest of the fried rice

3) Slice some garlic cloves

4) As well as some spring onions/scallions

5) Also slice some red chilli (this one isn’t that spicy)

6) Then start pan frying the paneer in a frying pan with around 3tbsp of oil

7) Once the paneer is golden (this does not need to be perfect), remove and transfer aside

8) There should still be oil left in the pan, use this to sauté the garlic, spring onions, and chillies

9) Then add in the peppers and continue to cook for around a minute

10) Now you can add the paneer back in

11) Season with black pepper, Sichuan pepper (if using), chilli flakes, and sugar

12) Also add in the mushroom sauce, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce

13) Give that all a really good mix

14) Finally add in the rice and continue to mix over a medium-high heat

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

15) Once the rice has been incorporated with the paneer mixture, you are all done. Garnish with some sliced spring onions/scallions if you like

Frequently asked questions

Can we substitute the paneer for tofu to make this vegan?

Absolutely, you won’t need to soak the tofu so simply pan fry until golden and follow the rest of the recipe as usual.

How can we substitute the Sichuan pepper?

Substitute for an equal amount of black pepper. It won’t have the exact same flavour, but it will still be delicious!

If you enjoyed this recipe

Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.

You can also tag me on Instagram at @dish_by_rish. Or follow me on FacebookPinterestYoutube, and TikTok to keep up with all my cooking and baking creations.

Until then, happy cooking!

garlic pepper paneer fried rice

Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Learn how to make this Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice. A vegetarian fried rice that's perfect for parties and makes for a satisfying dinner.


  • 750g cooked day-old basmati rice, this is made from around 250g raw basmati rice
  • 250g paneer
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 green pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 5 spring onions, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1tbsp black pepper
  • 2tsp ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2tsp chilli flakes
  • 3tbsp mushroom sauce
  • 2tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 3tbsp neutral flavoured oil, e.g. sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed etc


  1. If you're making the rice the same day, place it on a flat plate or tray after it's been cooked. Then level out into a thin layer and place uncovered into the fridge to cool and dry out for 2 hours
  2. If using shop-bought paneer, cut it into bite size cubes and placing into a heat proof bowl. Pour boiling water over the paneer until all pieces are submerged, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then drain
  3. Take a wide/large frying pan and sauté the paneer in the 3tbsp of oil over a medium heat until golden and crispy. Then transfer the paneer aside
  4. There should still be oil left in the pan, use this to sauté the garlic, spring onions, and chillies over a medium heat for around 2 minutes
  5. Next add in the peppers and cook for a further minute before then adding in the paneer
  6. Season with the black pepper, Sichuan pepper, chilli flakes, and sugar. Also add in the mushroom sauce, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, and light soy sauce
  7. Continue cooking the paneer mixture whilst tossing it all together to combine
  8. Add in the cooled rice and mix once more over a medium-high heat till steaming and well incorporated with the paneer mixture
  9. Optionally garnish with more spring onion greens if desired
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 455Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 31mgSodium 1046mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 15g

This is an automated calculation and hence may not be entirely accurate.

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  • Reply
    Jo Castelino
    August 9, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    Oh my goodness, this Garlic Pepper Paneer Fried Rice is absolutely delicious! I did have to buy a couple of the ingredients as I don’t use them regularly but I think that might change. I totally see myself making this again and again!

    Thank you so much for sharing this brilliant recipe.

    • Reply
      August 18, 2023 at 5:35 pm

      You are THE BEST Jo! Thank you so much for leaving such a wonderful review1 I’m so glad you enjoyed this one!

      • Reply
        Jo Castelino
        August 28, 2023 at 4:12 pm

        I’ve made this dish at least 3 more times since that review. In fact, I am currently making it!

        I am excited to try your other dishes now!

        • Reply
          September 2, 2023 at 6:28 pm

          you have totally made my day Jo!! Thank you SO MUCH

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