Archana Mundhe's Instant Pot Paneer in Spinach Sauce

By Food52
October 12, 2018
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Author Notes: Reprinted with permission from The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2018 by Archana Mundhe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photograph copyright © 2018 by Colin Price.

I call this dish Mommy’s Helper because it is a surefire way to get nutrient-rich spinach into kids without a complaint. The flash-cooking method helps preserve the vitamins, flavor, and rich color of the spinach. Cumin seeds add a subtle earthiness, and the creamy texture of cashews is the perfect replacement for traditional heavy cream, as it seamlessly balances the pureed sauce. To serve this dish gluten-free, omit the parathas.
Food52

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min

Ingredients

  • 15 raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup whole or low-fat milk, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced hot green chile
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pound fresh baby spinach or frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cups water
  • 2 cups cubed paneer, in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • 4 parathas, for serving

Directions

  1. In a blender, combine the cashews and milk and blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
  2. Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Add the cumin seeds directly to the hot ghee at the bottom edges of the pot and cook until they start to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the onion, green chile, garlic, and ginger and sauté until onion begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and salt, pour in 1/2 cup of the water, and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom.
  3. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 1 minute for frozen spinach, or 0 (zero) minutes for fresh spinach, at high pressure.
  4. Perform a quick release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Open the pot. Select the low Sauté setting to stop the spinach puree from spattering. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth, adding the remaining 1/2 cup water if needed to achieve your desired consistency. Stir in the cashew paste and paneer and cook until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, incorporating the flavors and heating through, about 2 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
  5. Ladle into a serving bowl immediately, so the spinach stops cooking and maintains a fresh color, and serve with the rice and hot parathas.
  6. Vegan variation: Substitute neutral vegetable oil for the ghee, water for the milk, and extra-firm tofu for the paneer.

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