Vegan Palak ‘Paneer’

‘Palak Paneer’ is often called ‘Saag Paneer’ but my research has found out they are actually different. Palak Paneer just has spinach while Saag Paneer is made from mustard greens and spinach. So this is a recipe for Palak Paneer but using tofu instead of cheese, which  doesn’t take away from it’s deliciousness in any way (and is much healthier). This recipe serves 2-3 people.

2 large bunches of fresh spinach
1 large block of extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes (approx 2-3cm thick)
Canola/vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ground dried ginger
2 teaspoons of garam masala (spice)
1 teaspoon of dried ground coriander
1 /2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of non-dairy milk (I used soy milk but rice milk would be great too)

1. Wash the spinach thoroughly to remove dirt and grit. Remove any tough/large stems.
2. Wilt the spinach by adding it to a pan with a few centimetres of boiling water.
3. Once the spinach has wilted, drain and run under cold water to cool.
4. Once the spinach is cool, squeeze out the liquid by wringing the spinach in your hands. Roughly chop it and set aside.
5. To prepare the tofu, place the slab between two absorbent paper towels and then two plates or chopping boards. Put a weight on top of the pile to squeeze out the moisture (I used a big cooking book). Leave for 10 minutes or so.
6. Remove tofu and cut into cubes. Toss in 1 tablespoon of oil, ready for stir-frying.
7.  Heat up a large fry pan or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cubed tofu.
8. Cook, turning occasionally, until the cubes are golden brown on most sides. Transfer tofu to a bowl and set aside.
9. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook until very soft (about 8 minutes).
10. Turn down to medium heat. Add the spices and cook until the aroma from the spices has been released.
11. Add the tomato paste and cayenne pepper, stir, and cook for another minute.
12. Add the chopped spinach, non-dairy milk to the pot and stir well.
13. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
14. Stir in the cooked tofu and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
15. Serve with warm basmati rice and pappadums.

Thanks to Raspberry Eggplant for the guidance —

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