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Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pulao

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Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pulao

Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pulao
Vikas Khanna
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total prep
Basmati rice pulao with spinach and paneer cheese, seasoned with the aromatic bay leaf has a great balance of flavors. I serve this tasty and hearty dish with raita.

Recipe from Flavors First by Vikas Khanna/Lake Isle Press, 2011.


  • 1 1/4 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces paneer cheese cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 dried red hot chile, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped


  • Wash and drain the rice and soak it in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  • Line a sheet pan with paper towels. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat to 350°F. Test the oil with a cube of cheese: the cheese should begin to bubble immediately. Lightly fry the paneer until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on lined baking sheet.
  • Heat the ghee or oil in a 3 1/2 quart ovenproof pot with a tight lid and fry the red chile, bay leaves, and peppercorns for 1 minute on medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and fry for 2 minutes. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the cheese, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if the rice gets too dry.
  • Stir in the spinach and cook uncovered until the water has evaporated, 5 minutes. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and the lid and place in the oven to bake, 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Adjust salt to taste and serve hot.