Missing out on chilli chicken because you’re vegetarian? Try these veg alternatives
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Indo Chinese cuisine or desi Chinese has become an integral part of the Indian culinary scene and chilli chicken is one of the most popular Indian street style Chinese dishes relished by everyone. Apart from its flavours, chilli chicken is a favourite with many because the chilli chicken recipe does not need too many ingredients nor does it involve a complex preparation method.

The chilli chicken recipe is made using batter-fried chicken dices cooked in a spicy soy and chili-based sauce, garnished with onion greens. Make a note of these expert tips to make the chilli chicken recipe at home in restaurant-style. Chilli chicken can be served as an appetiser or as a main course by adding some chicken stock to make it gravy-based.

In case the vegetarians are feeling left out, the chilli chicken recipe can easily be made with vegetarian alternatives. These vegetarian recipes will let you enjoy the flavours of chilli chicken without the chicken! Easily make a delightful vegetarian version of the chilli chicken recipe by substituting the chicken with some easily available ingredients such as paneer, tofu, mushrooms and also leftover idli.

Paneer Chilli 
Paneer or cottage cheese is the go-to vegetarian substitute for chicken in almost every chicken-based dish, be it butter chicken, chicken tikka masala or chicken biryani. You are sure to find a vegetarian version of these which make use of the humble paneer. You can easily replace chicken with paneer in your classic chilly chicken recipe. Chop the paneer into small cubes or bite-sized diamond shaped pieces. Coat these paneer pieces with some corn flour and water mixture. Fry them until they turn golden brown. Add them to the chilli gravy made with diced garlic, onion, ginger and green chilies, bell peppers sauteed in some oil on medium flame, seasoned with some chilli paste and dark soya sauce. When you get the perfect glazy sauce, serve it hot.

Mushroom Chilli 
If you are vegan, have sworn off milk products or follow a plant-based diet, you can make mushroom chilli instead of paneer chilli or chicken chilli. Mushrooms are versatile and they taste yum no matter how you incorporate them in your dish. To make mushroom chilli, chop button mushrooms and coat them with corn flour batter with some salt and pepper seasoning. Deep fry them till they turn golden and crispy. In a wok, saute garlic, onions, celery, chopped chilis. To this, add chilli paste and dark soy sauce followed by the fried mushrooms. Serve hot as an appetiser. If you are planning a house party, be rest assured that your guests will be wanting more servings of this mushroom chilli.

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Idli Chilli 
Are you wondering what to do with your leftover idlis? Reheating them is always an option but you can also try something more interesting.  If you have leftover idlis at home, then this veg chilli chicken alternative is the perfect dish you can prepare for your evening snack. To make idli chilli, you have to make a batter with refined flour and some corn flour and deep fry the leftover idli pieces. Toss them with a mix of capsicum sauted with chili sauce and soy sauce. Garnish with onion greens and serve hot.

Gobhi Chilli 
Bored of plain old aloo gobhi? You can turn your gobhi into a lip-smacking desi Chinese dish. One of the easiest chilli chicken recipe veg alternatives is gobhi chilli. You make gobhi chilli at home with just a handful of ingredients. To make it, first boil the florets of gobhi and coat it with a batter of refined flour and corn flour with a dash of red chili powder and ginger garlic paste. You can shallow fry the gobhi and then make a gravy of bell peppers, slit chillies and onions with chili sauce, tomato sauce and soy sauce. Toss the fried florets, garnish with onion greens and serve with steamed rice or even roti as per your liking. 

With inputs from Munawar Taher Peerzade, Head Chef, BKC Dive, Mumbai

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