Can you imagine a world without leafy spinach and fragrant spices cooked down to a beautiful curry sauce, and then a creamy protein added to pull it all together?
Palak paneer is a quintessential Indian dish served in many restaurants. It is rich, creamy and buttery and served beautifully with naan or rice.
My Palak Tofu takes that Palak Paneer to a vegan version without losing its creamy texture. Frankly, vegan or not, this is my preferred healthier and delicious version that stands on its own. This combination represents my love for Indian cooking, greens, and a good-quality organic firm tofu.
There are a few tips and tricks along the way that help make this fresh and creamy like the original palak paneer. Here I have used the sprouted tofu that was firm. I have cubed and boiled the tofu for 5 mins to get the spongy texture. Alternatively, you could cube and pan-fry until golden.
A pound of big leafy fresh organic spinach has been combined with methi ( fenugreek leaves). I actually did not have the fresh fenugreek so used a cup of frozen ones. You must blanch the greens for 3-4 mins and then submerge in an ice bath and that brilliant green color.
I have also drawn on my Kashmiri heritage and add fennel and ginger powder to this recipe which totally elevates the flavor and fragrance
Finally, light coconut milk has been added in the end to give it a rich creamy texture. Any nut milk would be fine. I have tried this with Oat milk and it was great, just not a rich as coconut.
If you follow my blog you know that the measurements provided below are approximations. Your spice and heat levels should be adjust to your personal taste.
Palak Tofu - A creamy rendition of Spinach and Tofu
A beautiful and aromatic vegan palak tofu...
- 1 lb of fresh mature spinach
- 2 handfuls of methi(fenugreek) leaves
- 1 container for organic firm or extra firm tofu ( sprouted works really well)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp crushed fresh ginger
- 1 green chili – chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 tsp fennel powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 large tomatoes pureed coarsely
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp avocado oil or ghee
- Salt to taste
- Blanch the greens in boiling water for 3-4 mins and submerge in an ice batch. Drain the water and blend the leaves in a food processor. Set aside
- Cube the tofu ( no need to press the water out) and boil for 5 mins. Removes from water and set aside
- Finely chop the onions or whiz through a food processor. Do the same for the tomatoes
- Using a large pan, heat the oil and add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Then add the onions. It will take about 5 mins for them to soften. I have used minimum oil so medium heat and a pinch of salt with help the onions.
- Once the onions are barely golden, add the garlic, ginger and sauté for a minute. Careful not to burn ( use broth or water if needed)
- Immediately add the tomato paste and tomatoes and cook the mixture for 5 mins
- Now add all the spices and cook the mixture for another 5 minutes. You can use water to bring it to a thick sauce consistency ( see video)
- Add the spinach at this point and mix well cooking for another few minutes.
- Add dried fenugreek leaves crushing them in your palm to release the flavor
- Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk ( or coconut cream) and bring the mixture together.
- Add the boiled tofu pieces and cook for just a couple of minutes until it all comes together beautifully.
- Serve with naan or rice.