Paneer kali mirch is a simple recipe but so packed with flavor thanks to freshly ground black pepper and whole spices. The sauce is mild and rich with ground cashews thrown in for creaminess. Made in the instant pot.
This is a go-to post if you are looking for more Indian vegetarian recipes made in the instant pot: 30+ Instant Pot Indian Vegetarian Recipes.
I have never met a paneer dish I didn't like. Palak paneer, mutter paneer, paneer butter masala...and oh, paneer jalfrezi. I love 'em all! However, sometimes I do get tired of these old faithfuls and want something different. Enter paneer kali mirch. It is not your usual paneer recipe and not a lot of people would think of it when reaching for that block of paneer. But it is the perfect recipe to put together when you want something special or when you're expecting company. It is so rich and creamy, and you can make it in a snap with a few ingredients only. And yet, judging by its looks, nobody would guess! That's the beauty of it.
Why use the instant pot?
No big secret here, I use the instant pot for the sake of convenience. The whole process of cooking becomes easier because this is a set and forget kind of recipe when made in the instant pot. Basically just dump the ingredients in the pot and walk away. You'll come back to a perfectly done sauce in a few minutes. All that's left to do after pressure cooking is to add the cheese and that's about it.
Which is not to say that you can't make it on the stovetop, of course. If you want to make it on the stovetop, cook the sauce on low heat for 15-20 minutes and keep stirring it to prevent it from burning. Add water when the sauce seems to be getting dry. When the oil separates, the sauce is done and you can go ahead and add the cheese.
Note: exact quantities are mentioned in the recipe card further down.
- Cooking oil
- Whole spices - black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves and bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Onion, ginger and garlic
- Green chillies
- Salt and a pinch of sugar
Get the prep out of the way before you cook this recipe. Here are the prep steps:
- Soak the cashews in a few tablespoons of warm water for 10-15 minutes before blending them. It will make for easier blending later.
- Throw the onion, ginger, garlic, and cashews in a blender along with a fourth cup water and blend to a smooth paste.
- Cut the paneer into small cubes and soak them in hot water for a few minutes if using store-bought paneer. You are doing this to soften the paneer and get rid of the excess fat that is sometimes there in commercially made paneer. However, you can make your own paneer if you really want to do things from scratch. I actually prefer making my own just because it's so easy and I like the taste of fresh, homemade paneer. You don't have to soak the paneer you made at home. Just cut it up into the shape you like and you're done.
- Heat the oil in the steel insert of your instant pot and add the whole spices. Let the spices sizzle in the hot oil for a few seconds.
- Add the onion paste prepared above, yogurt, salt and sugar. Add one-fourth cup water, stir and lock the lid in place. Pressure cook for five minutes.
- Open the pot and grind the black pepper into the pot. Throw in the slit green chillies and paneer cubes. Mix well and serve with warm naan.
- Black pepper is the star ingredient in this recipe, so don't use the tired old granules lying at the back of your spice cabinet since God knows when. Grind the pepper coarsely right into the pot using a pepper grinder for that fresh peppery bite.
- Don't forget to soak your store-bought paneer in hot water for a few minutes to soften it.
- Don't forget to soak the cashews as well in warm water for easier blending and lump-free sauce.
- Make a very smooth paste of the onion, ginger, garlic and cashews. You may have to run the machine for a few extra seconds to get rid of the coarse and lumpy bits.
- The sauce is supposed to be a little thick but you can adjust the consistency to suit yourself.
Paneer Kali Mirch (Cottage Cheese in Black Pepper Sauce)
- 4 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 black cardamom
- 3 green cardamom
- 3 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium sized onion chopped
- 4 big cloves garlic peeled
- ½ " piece ginger peeled
- 15 cashews
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
- 1 block paneer 14 0z. or 400 grams
- Put the onion, ginger, garlic, and cashews in a blender along with ¼ cup water and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Cut the paneer into small cubes and soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. If using homemade paneer, this step is not required.
- On sauté, heat the oil in the steel insert of your instant pot and add the whole spices. Let the spices sizzle in the hot oil for a few seconds.
- Add the onion paste prepared in step 1. Also add the yogurt, salt, and sugar. Finally, add ¼ cup water, stir and lock the lid in place. Make sure the steam release vent is sealed, press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 5 minutes.
- When the timer beeps, open the pot and grind the black pepper right into the pot. Add the slit green chillies and paneer cubes. Mix well and serve with warm naan bread.
- Use freshly ground black pepper.
- Don't forget to soak the cashews and paneer if using a store-bought slab.
- Make a very smooth paste of the onion, ginger, garlic and cashews for a smooth gravy.