Easy Palak Paneer Recipe – Instantpot

Palak Paneer is a delicious, satisfying and popular Indian dinner curry. This wholesome dinner recipe makes restaurant style curry under 30 minutes.

Luscious Paneer is cooked in flavorful spinach puree along with sultry Indian spices. This earthy and rustic curry pairs well with naan, paratha or jeera rice.

Palak Paneer is popular entrée served in the Indian restaurants and street side food stalls called “dhaba”. It often is featured in lunch buffets as well as on dinner menu.

It is very easy to make this delicious curry at home. It uses basic Indian spices and simple ingredients. And it tastes Ah.mazingly good.

Let’s learn how to make home style palak paneer. Use this easy recipe.  Forget all those complicated steps of blanching, waiting, cooling and pureeing…this one pot wonder recipe yields creamy, green and super-delicious spinach and cottage cheese curry.

RECEIPE INSPIRATION 

Growing up in India, paneer curries and other North Indian style food used to be prepared on weekend as special dinner treat.

My mom was a wonderful cook and everything she made had a healthy lifestyle approach to it.

Spinach is full of antioxidants and regarded as Super foods. Pair it with paneer for protein and calcium and wonder spices like turmeric, garlic and ginger and you have wholesome meal full of nutrients and “all that is good for you” kind of stuff.

Since recipes like Palak paneer are classic and heirloom recipes, I am sure everyone has their family favorite way of making it. This recipe is our’s with suggestions to make it universally appealing!

As always, I am including instructions to make this recipe on the stove top as well as electric pressure cooker like InstantPot. You will love the ease of one pot cooking.

Since this curry is homely everyday curry, I do NOT add any cream in it. I prefer it guilt free eating without empty calories. If you want to make it more creamy, blend 3-4 paneer pieces while pureeing spinach.

TO BLANCH OR NOT TO BLANCH SPINACH

To retain the health benefits, I prefer not to blanch the spinach. I prefer to use packed baby spinach to make this curry. Baby spinach tastes tender and fresh. So I never felt a need for the blanching.

I know it’s a personal preference. So if you prefer, you can quickly blanch and ice bath the spinach before using.

HOW TO RETAIN BRIGHT GREEN COLOR OF SPINACH IN PALAK PANEER RECIPE

  • The key is not to overcook the spinach. Adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking helps.
  • You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar while cooking.
  • Use baby spinach or frozen spinach instead of mature spinach.

HOW TO KEEP PANEER SOFTER WHILE MAKING CURRIES

I use store bought paneer in this recipe. Always soak the paneer in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes and then use in the recipe.

Soaking helps paneer stay moist and soft. It gets that perfect melt in your mouth texture.

Many times you see chefs pan frying their paneer before adding it to the curry. I like soft cubes instead so I do not fry paneer.

But if you want, you can pan fry the paneer cubes in couple teaspoons of oil until they are golden brown and then add to the curry.

STORING OPTIONS

You can make this recipe in advance up to 2 days. The leftover curry can be refrigerated upto 4 days. When it’s time to serve, heat it up well.

You may need to add some water to thin out the curry while re-heating.

PALAK PANEER SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Palak paneer pairs well with garlic or butter naan, plain paratha or roti. You can also serve it over steamed basmati rice.

RECIPE VARIATIONS

Add small cooked baby potatoes instead of paneer to make the Aloo Palak

Saag is mixed green leafy vegetables. So instead of just spinach,  use bathua and other mixed greens to make the recipe “Saag Paneer”

Add 4 cups of cooked pasta to this recipe and make Indo-Italian fusion recipe Spinach Paneer Pasta

A scoop of palak paneer curry made in Instantpot

PRO TIPS TO MAKE BEST PALAK PANEER

  • Use baby spinach or frozen spinach. It saves lot of time in washing and cleaning regular spinach. Plus it tastes tender and fresh.
  • Spinach and garlic go really well together. As a finishing touch, I love to make an additional tadka ( tempering) of ghee and fried garlic over the cooked palak paneer. It makes the curry richly aromatic.
  • If you feel spinach is bit bitter add teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and teaspoon of raw sugar after cooking. That will mellow the strong flavors.
  • For authentic flavors, use best quality garam masala and aromatics.  That ensures unique and delightful flavor.
  • Do not overcook spinach.

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF INSTANTPOT PALAK PANEER 

Spinach – Fresh baby spinach works best. You may use frozen spinach too.

Paneer – I use store brought paneer ( Indian cottage cheese) For Paneer alternative, you may use Halloumi cheese. For Vegan alternative, use firm Tofu.

Spices and aromatics : Minced garlic and ginger along with Turmeric and red chili powder, cumin coriander powder, Garam Masala for the best tasting curry.

Onion and Tomato – adds delightful flavor and pungent tangy taste.

Kasuri Methi – Dried Fenugreek leaves. Gently crush a generous pinch of kasuri methi on your palm and add it along as garnish for enhanced curry experience.

Additional Tadka ( tempering) – 1 tablespoon of ghee ( or oil ), 4-5 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and couple of whole red chilies for wonderful finishing touch.

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT PALAK PANEER?

Place the cubed Paneer in a pot of Hot water. This step ensures that the paneer stays soft and creamy.

Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode. Heat oil and add cumin seeds.  When cumin seeds start to brown, add ginger, garlic, green chili and onions. Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add tomato and spices. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add water and scrap the bottom of the pot (deglaze the pot ) Add in the spinach.

Press cancel and close the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position. Choose MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK mode on high pressure for 2 minutes.

Once the instant pot finishes cooking and goes to keep warm timer, wait for 5 minute and then release the leftover pressure by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING.

After the silver pin drops, open the lid. Using an immersion blender, blend the cooked ingredients to smooth puree.

Add the cubed paneer and garam masala. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, so the paneer soaks in the flavors.

In the meantime, on the stove make additional tadka. Heat up the ghee in small fry pan. Add chopped garlic and let it fry till golden brown. Turn off the heat. Add whole red chilies and give it a good stir.

Pour the sizzling tadka (additional flavor tempering) over the Palak Paneer. Gently stir so everything mixes well. Palak Paneer is ready to be served. Serve warm.

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Easy Palak Paneer Recipe

A white bowl full of spinach and paneer curry garnished with oil and garlic tempering. The white steamed rice and garlic naan in the background.

Palak Paneer is a delicious, satisfying and popular Indian dinner curry. This wholesome dinner recipe makes restaurant style curry under 30 minutes.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ( 6cups )baby spinach
  • 2 cups Paneer cut in bite sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp Ghee or Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Green Chili chopped
  • 1 Onion medium, chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1" inch Ginger chopped
  • 1 Tomato medium, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Water

Spices and seasoning:

Additional garnish of tadka / tempering

  • 1 teaspoon ghee or oil
  • 5-6 Garlic Cloves - roughly chopped
  • 2-3 while red chilies

Equipments Used

Instructions

INSTANTPOT INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the cubed Paneer in a pot of Hot water. This step ensures that the paneer stays soft and creamy.

Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds start to brown, add ginger, garlic, green chili and onions.
Sprinkle some salt. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add tomato and spices. Stir and let it cook for 2 minutes.  Add water and scrap the bottom of the pot (deglaze the pot ) Add in the spinach.

Press cancel and close the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.
Choose MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK mode on high pressure for 2 minutes.

Once the instant pot finishes cooking and goes to keep warm timer, wait for 5
minute and then release the leftover pressure by moving the valve from SEALING to VENTING.

After the silver pin drops, open the lid. Using an immersion blender, 
blend the cooked ingredients to smooth puree.

Add the cubed paneer and garam masala. Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, so
the paneer soaks in the flavors.

In the meantime, on the stove, make additional tadka. Heat up the ghee in
small fry pan. Add chopped garlic and let it fry till golden brown. Turn off
the heat. Add whole red chilies and give it a good stir.

Pour the sizzling tadka (additional flavor tempering) over the Palak Paneer.
Gently stir so everything mixes well.

Palak Paneer is ready to be served. Serve warm. 

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the cubed Paneer in a pot of Hot water. This step is essential to
keep the paneer soft.

Heat oil in a deep bottom pan, add finely chopped onions, ginger & garlic
and a pinch of salt. Sauté them together until translucent.

Add chopped tomato and sauté until they mix well. Allow the tomato to cook for another 3-4 minutes until it softens. Add all the spices and mix well.

Add the Spinach and water. Mix well. Cover and cook on medium flame for 5-7 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat.

Using immersion blender, blend the mixture into smooth puree. Add little
water if needed.

Turn the heat back on. Stir in Paneer and cook for just 2 minutes. Turn off the
flame.

In the meantime, make additional tadka. Heat up the ghee / oil in small fry
pan. Add chopped garlic and let it fry till golden brown. Turn off the heat.
Add whole red chilies and give it a good stir.

Pour the sizzling tadka over the Palak Paneer. Crush some kasuri methi on your palm and sprinkle it over the curry. Gently stir so everything mixes well.

Serve hot Palak Paneer with naan or steaming hot Basmati Rice. A side of fresh cut onions and lemon wedges adds extra rustic charm to this meal.  Enjoy !

Notes

Sometimes, using immersion blender can get messy splatters all over. To
avoid that, slightly tilt the pot. So that the blender is completely submerged
in sauce.  Alternatively, transfer the spinach mix to a tall jar or pot
and puree the spinach in that. This will help avoid messy splashes and
keep the cleanup easier. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 669mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 16g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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