Palak Tofu

    I can eat spinach any which way-  raw in salads or cooked in creamy curries. Palak paneer is a popular North Indian dish of Indian-style cottage cheese mixed with a creamy spinach sauce that is infused with spices. The recipe can be a little complicated especially with the different spices it uses but follow it through and you will be delighted with the results .

   The traditional recipe asks for panner and cream in its gravy but this one is veganized version. I have made this with cashew cream and the results are great but then I then worry about the calorie count on the recipe so I do that only for special occasions not a weekday dinner.

   There is a slight variation here with the addition of gram flour in the recipe. I do that because normally without it the curry is too runny which is ok if you are eating with rice but not as much when eating with naan or parathas. You can make it make for weeknights and Serve the dish with a side of basmati rice. Also, this dish makes great leftovers. The spinach sauce tastes even better the next day!

    I used to make this only with fresh spinach in the beginning, and yes you can do this too. But it’s hard watching a whole bunch of  baby spinach wilt into practically nothing, it just seems more cost-effective to simply use frozen spinach. So I have started making this more often with frozen spinach and if I may be honest besides the color it taste the same and also shaves of 10 min of he prep making it a weeknight dinner. Frozen spinach is a constant staple in my freezer. I like its convenience; it’s pre-chopped and blanched, so it’s ready to throw into all kinds of dishes.

   A note for blending -  If you like more “chunky sauce” rather than a smooth creamy use a hand blender thats what I have done here .

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

 For Spinach 
3 cup water, for boiling
1lb of fresh spinach or 1 frozen 16 ounce bag of spinach
1 inch ginger
1 clove garlic
2 green chillies 
FOR CURRY:
1tbsp oilve oil/ vegan butter 
1-2  bay leaf
2 pods cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
1 tsp cumin 
1 tsp kasuri methi
1 onion, finely chopped

 1 small tomato finely chopped 
1 tbsp besan flour ( gram flour)
¼ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
¾ tsp salt
½ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice


For Roasting Tofu
 1/2 block firm  tofu ( cut in small cubes )
1 tbs oil /vegan butter 

 salt and pepper to season 

Directions

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large vessel get 3 cup water to a boil and add 1 bunch spinach into boiling water. Allow boiling for 2 minutes or until spinach blanches well.

2. Drain off the spinach - and drop into ice-cold water , this helps to retain the green color of spinach. ( drain the spinach skip the blanching step if using frozen spinach). 

3 . Drain extra water and tansfer the blanched spinach into the blender add 1 inch ginger, 1 clove garlic and 2 green chillies and blend to semi smooth paste with some texture without adding any water. You can also use a hand blender.

4. In a large skillet, (a non-stick works great here) heat 1 tablespoons oil or vegan butter and season the oil generously with salt and pepper. Pan-sear the firm tofu until golden and crispy, and set it aside,in a palte to be added later . Now add  another 1 tbsp oil on medium heat and saute 1 bay leaf, 2 pods cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp kasuri methi until it turns aromatic ( a few seconds)

5. Now saute 1 onion finely chopped  until the color changes slightly.

6 . Add 1 tomato fine chopped and cook for 2 min - saute till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.

7. Adding 1 tbsp besan and saute until besan turns aromatic ,then add other spices -  ¼ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp garam masala and ¾ tsp salt saute until spices turn aromatic ( a few seconds) all on low medium heat . Be mindful not to burn the spices .

8 . Add prepared palak paste also, add ½ cup water and mix well adjusting consistency as required.
simmer for 3 minutes or until flavours are absorbed well.

 9  Now add roasted tofu to the spinach curry and mix well. Cook for another minute or two on low heat ,lastly add 1 tbsp lemon juice and mix well 

Serve it with my quick naanhttps://nehasvegankitchen.com/2020/10/13/https-nehasvegankitchen-com-p1303previewtrue/ or with rice !! Enjoy  

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