Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Originally made with paneer or cottage cheese, palak (spinach) paneer is an Indian vegetarian dish that is loved by many, especially by the people who live in the north of India. For the vegan version, people often use tofu instead of cottage cheese, as it easily blends with the ingredients and tastes very similar to cottage cheese. This dish is relatively healthy, thanks to the spinach and tofu, so don't fret about those calories. You could add a number of chilies, depending on how spicy you would like the curry to be. I prefer adding just two small green chilies. This dish tastes amazing with flat Indian bread or even rice.
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
1 medium-sized tomato, chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
1 Indian bay leaf
200 to 250 grams of tofu
200 to 250 grams of spinach
½ cup of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegan butter
2 green chilies
1 piece of ginger
Salt as required
Water for boiling and cooling the spinach
Firstly, start by washing the spinach, removing the roots as well as thick stems. Then boil the spinach in two cups of water for about 2 to 3 minutes and then drain the spinach. You could even use the microwave for boiling the spinach leaves. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt in the water, before you add the spinach.
After boiling the spinach leaves, you need to immediately place them in ice cold water for at least a minute. This will help maintain the vibrant green color of the vegetable in the curry.
Next, take a blender and add the spinach leaves; along with chopped ginger and garlic. You can add the green chilies at this stage too.
Blend the ingredients till you get a smooth paste. You don’t need to add water at this stage.
In the meanwhile, cut up the tofu into cubes and lightly fry them in some olive oil.
Now take a pan and heat it on a low flame. Add the vegan butter or olive oil, cumin seeds, bay leaf, and onions. Sauté them until they turn golden.
Next, add the garlic and chopped tomatoes.
Once the tomatoes cook for 5 to 7 minutes; you can add the asafoetida, turmeric powder and finally add the palak (spinach) puree.
At this stage, you can add about ½ a cup of water and season the dish with a teaspoon of salt.
Simmer the curry for about 5 minutes and add the garam masala.
Stir the curry and add the tofu that you’ve cut into cubes and lightly fried.
That’s it! Your amazing vegan palak tofu or spinach tofu is ready.
Photograph Courtesy: Flickr's Creative Commons.