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Palak Tofu (Vegan Palak Paneer)

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Melanie is an avid vegan homemaker who has been enjoying cooking and experimenting in the kitchen for over 15 years.

Palak Tofu (Vegan Palak Paneer)

Palak Tofu (Vegan Palak Paneer)

From Paneer to Tofu

I've been making this dish for years although not always in a vegan way. I used to use heavy cream and make my own paneer at home instead of using tofu. Admittedly, the vegetarian way is delicious and totally worth trying if you're not eating a completely plant-based diet. However, I do think that this vegan version is a bit healthier than its counterpart. The tofu adds a good amount of protein to the dish and the cashews add some really healthy fats as well.

This recipe is very traditional and uses some ingredients that I imagine most home cooks probably don't have readily available in their pantry. However, I can't stress enough that using these exact ingredients makes it incredibly authentic and delicious. Once you make this recipe you'll be making it many more times, so the investment in spices is totally worth it. Plus it will allow you to be able to make some other Indian classics in the future!

The only spice that I could say may be optional is the amchur, or dried mango powder. There was a time when I didn't have any and just used some fresh mango puree instead. I just had to cook it down a bit more, but it wasn't too bad because I only used a few tablespoons. If that's more your style then give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

How a Tofu Press Changed My World

If you are vegan, vegetarian, or just happen to really like tofu, I personally feel that it's imperative that you get yourself a tofu press. I bought this particular tofu press a few years ago and it has been such a time saver in the kitchen. Normally, I would wrap my tofu in some towels, put my cast iron pan on top of it and balance some cans on top to get all the water out. Now, I just pop my tofu in the press, pull the cords tight on each side, and I'm done. So much easier, cleaner, and safer! I don't know how I managed without it for so long. It's such a wonderful product, but I feel like most people don't even know that this type of thing exists. So I wanted to be the one to share with you that it is absolutely worth it and you will have so much more fun cooking with tofu after getting this.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) block extra-firm tofu
  • 4-5 cups raw spinach
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter or avocado oil
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing powder)
  • 1 cup cashew cream (see recipe link below)
  • 1 pureed tomato or about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cashew Cream

This recipe calls for the use of cashew cream. This is a simple recipe involving only two ingredients—cashews and water. Check out my step-by-step article on how to make this creamy vegan delight!

Instructions

  1. The night before preparing this dish, use a tofu press to press out all the water from the tofu. Make sure to drain a few times during the process so all the water will be extracted.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add in the spinach and let it wilt down completely. Using an immersion blender, puree the spinach until it is mostly smooth but still has some texture to it.
  3. Cube the pressed tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and dice the onion.
  4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add in the vegan butter or avocado oil and bring it up to temp. Add in the cumin, stir vigorously for a few seconds to cook through but not burn, then quickly add in the diced onion and mix well.
  5. Saute the onions until they are golden brown. Then add in the coriander, turmeric, asafoetida, and cayenne. Stir well to coat the onions and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add in the ginger garlic paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  7. Add in the pureed tomato or the tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce darkens and the tomato is cooked through.
  8. Add in the pureed spinach, cashew cream, salt, and kasuri methi and stir until fully combined. Then gently add in the tofu. Cover and simmer over medium low for about 10 minutes.
  9. To serve, sprinkle with garam masala powder and fresh coriander leaves. This is best served over basmati rice.

© 2020 Melanie

Comments

Alice Sullivan from Prague, Czech Republic on December 12, 2020:

I really need to get myself a tofu press!!! Love the recipe!