Double Decker Dinner is a personal favorite Instant Pot recipe theme, all about finding the right combination of foods that pair together as a balanced meal and that can be stacked and cooked at the same time in the same pressure cooker. It’s one-pot wonderful!
I love paneer – it’s a fresh non-melting cheese common in Indian cuisine, uniquely made without salt or rennet. To make it, milk is simply cooked with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice; when the curds precipitate from the whey, they are gathered and pressed into a firm block.
This recipe is my favorite way to eat paneer: the rich, chewy, cheesy cubes are seasoned, crisped, and tucked into this classic curry of creamed greens. I like to serve it with a bed of steamed cauliflower rice – this extra helping of veggies pairs well with the rich curry sauce, and leaves room for a side of bread if desired (I am still working on perfecting my homemade sourdough naan… If you’re interested in that recipe, speak up in the comments to move it up a notch on my priority list!)
Fresh spinach cooks in a flash, and so does riced cauliflower – so this pairing is a perfect candidate for Double Decker Dinner! After sauteeing the paneer and curry base, the vegetables all cook together in just one minute under pressure. Then, an immersion blender makes it easy to blend the greens into a smooth puree before adding the crispy paneer back into the mix. The resulting green goo may not be the most photogenic meal, but I promise it’s outrageously tasty!
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[Instant Pot] Double-Decker Saag Paneer + Cauliflower Rice
For the Paneer:
- 8 oz paneer cheese diced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Spinach Curry:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 oz fresh spinach
- 1/3 cup plain whole milk yogurt
For the Cauliflower Rice:
- 4 cups riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
- Toss the diced paneer together in a bowl with turmeric, salt and 1 tablespoon oil, and set it aside to marinate while the other ingredients are prepared.
- In a pressure cooker, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat (with Instant Pot, choose “Saute” and keep the default heat setting). When the oil is hot, add the seasoned paneer. Wait for the cheese to cook golden brown on one side before gently turning to evenly cook several sides of the cubes. Scoop the cooked paneer into a bowl and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pressure cooker. When it melts, add cumin seeds, and when they start to sizzle and pop, add the chopped onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Mix in the water and salt, then top the curry mixture with the fresh spinach (it is not necessary to toss/combine at this point). Place a steamer basket on top of the mound of greens, and fill it with riced cauliflower. Press down if needed to assure the height of the top layer is lower than the top of the pressure cooker.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, ensuring that the valve is in sealed position. Cook under high pressure for 1 minute (with Instant Pot, choose ‘Manual’ mode, and adjust time to 1 minute).
- When the cooking time is complete, carefully release the pressure immediately and open the lid. Set aside the basket of cauliflower rice, and puree the spinach curry with an immersion blender until smooth. Mix in the yogurt, check and adjust seasoning if needed, then add the paneer cubes and gently stir to combine.