Saturday, 6 September 2014

Palak "Paneer"

This was one of my favourite Indian dishes before I went vegan, "palak" meaning spinach and "paneer" meaning cheese. Traditionally it's made with homemade Indian cottage cheese squares in a pureed spinach sauce. I got this recipe from the amazing blog Vegan Richa.

Palak "Paneer"
Serves 2-4


Spiced Tofu:
2 teaspoons oil
14 oz firm tofu block, pressed and cubed
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala**
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kala namak (this is also known as Indian Black Salt and really gives that sulfur/salty flavour)
1/2 tsp cayenne(to taste)

Spinach curry:
2 cups packed Spinach, washed, chopped if large
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk or coconut milk
2 Tablespoons soaked cashews, soaked for 15 minutes in hot water
4 cloves of garlic
an inch cube of ginger, sliced or grated
1 chili pepper or to taste
1 medium tomato chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 teaspoon raw sugar or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

In a pan, add oil and heat on medium heat.
Chop up the tofu and add to the oil.
Mix to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add all the spices under Spiced Tofu and mix to coat.
Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, partially covered on low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, wash the spinach and add it and all the other ingredients under spinach curry except garam masala to the blender. Blend into a smooth puree.
Add the puree to the sizzling tofu. Mix well. Add garam masala to taste.
Cook covered on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the raw garlic smell is not detectable and desired gravy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust salt and spice.
Drizzle some cashew cream and Serve hot with Naan, roti or other flat breads, or with quinoa or rice.
Add pepper flakes for added heat. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder for variation.

**Garam Masala
I have found this hard to find in the USA so you can easily make your own;

1 Tbls ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

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