Palak Pulao With Paneer (Spinach Rice With Cottage Cheese)

spinach rice with Indian cottage cheese in a bowl

Palak pulao with paneer is an easy, light and fresh pulao that's bursting with the goodness of spinach and cottage cheese.

  • Author: Saima
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Pressure Cooking
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 1.5 cups white Basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 3-5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 cup cubed paneer
  • 1 cup finely sliced onion
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 black cardamom or 2 green cardamom
  • salt, to taste




  1. Switch your instant pot to sauté (normal) and add the oil. When the oil starts shimmering, add the whole spices and dry red chillies. Let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  2. Add the onions and fry until reddish-brown.
  3. Add the ginger and stir for a 4-5 seconds.
  4. Add the spinach, salt and turmeric and cook this until the spinach wilts and becomes dark green in color (4-5 minutes). If the spinach sticks to the bottom, add a few splashes of water too.
  5. Add the rice, two cups water and paneer cubes. Mix well and cancel sauté.
  6. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is on 'sealing'. Press the pressure cooking button and set the timer for 4 minutes. When the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes, then release the steam by turning the steam release vent to 'venting.' Open the pot, fluff the pulao and serve hot.



  1. No dried red chillies? Use 1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli flakes or 2 green Thai chillies. If using green chillies, add them in step 4.
  2. No whole spices? Substitute with 1/2 tsp powdered garam masala. Add it in step 4 with the salt and turmeric. Garam masala is easily available in most supermarkets.
  3. You can use fresh or frozen spinach in this recipe.

Dos and don'ts

  1. Do use good quality Basmati rice. This is the best rice for making Indian pulao.
  2. Brown the onions well, but don't over-do it. See picture for degree of doneness. If the onions start turning black, your pulao will have a slightly bitter after-taste.


Keywords: spinach rice, Indian rice dishes, palak pulao, palak rice