Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian Punjabi curry made by cooking soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese), in a healthy and tasty spinach based gravy. The pureed spinach provides a creamy base for this flavorful curry, which is cooked with fresh onions, ginger garlic, tomato and seasoned with garam masala, coriander and cumin. It is rich in flavor and is a staple in all Indian restaurants. This is my mom’s famous recipe — which means it’s wicked good!
Variations: Palak / Spinach Tofu or Chicken
You can swap out the paneer with Tofu or Chicken. With chicken, its best to use boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces and add it to the pot in step 1, before closing the lid. When done, wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure. Remove after pressure cooking and then add the spinach. Continue with the rest of the instructions. Another quick ‘n’ easy 30-minute wonder from my family to yours!
I made this recipe in my Instant Pot 6 Qt, but it can be made on a stove-top too. Check out “Stove-top” instructions in the Notes section.
Rice or Naan Pairings
Usually, we have palak paneer with Basmati rice or Naan. But you can pair it with Brown Jasmine rice as well. Here are my recipes for both types of rice.
|Cumin Rice||Brown Jasmin Rice|
Palak Paneer in Instant PotPrint Recipe
- 10oz. or 12oz. bag of baby spinach
- 10oz. block of paneer, cubed in 1/2 inch pieces (Costco or Indian grocery store)
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
- 1 small onion, slices
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green chili (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder) or 1 teaspoon lemon juice at the end
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Turn on the Instant Pot on SAUTE. Wait 30 seconds for it to heat up. Add oil and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add tomatoes, sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt and dry spices and stir well. Add 1/2 cup water and stir. Close the lid. Set pressure valve to SEALING. Cook on MANUAL for 3 minutes.
Release the pressure immediately (QR). Turn on SAUTE. Add 1/2 bag of baby spinach and stir to wilt. add the remaining bag and cook till spinach leaves soften, around 2 minutes. Turn off IP. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the spinach mix. I prefer to use the food processor to avoid splatters of spinach.
Pour the spinach puree back in IP. Turn on SAUTE. Add paneer cubes and stir for 30 seconds- 1 minute, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn IP off. Stir in sugar and butter, this brings the dish to life and gives it a shine. Serve hot with zeera rice or naan. Enjoy!
STOVE-TOP: Cook this in a deep sauce pan since spinach tends to splash. Following the same instructions, cook the onions and tomato mix for 10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Follow the recipe instructions.