Saag Tofu (Vegan Saag Paneer)
Slow-cooked saag paneer is one of my all time favorite ways to eat greens. It's my go-to order in Indian restaurants, but I actually prefer the homemade version without all the cream. Pounds of spinach cook down into a rich, creamy sauce that's comforting and gently spiced. This dish freezes amazingly too so don't be shy about doubling the recipe. Serve with brown rice or (better) naan or flatbread. By blending the greens in the blender/foodprocessor, I create that "creamy" consistency without dairy. However, this recipe is extra good if you add a touch of ghee or finish by swirling a dollop of plain yogurt, coconut yogurt or coconut milk right before serving.
1 brick of extra firm or firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 white onion, chopped
3-inch piece of ginger
6 cloves garlic
serrano chile (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 lbs frozen spinach, defrosted and moisture squeezed out
salt to taste
1. Toss tofu cubes with turmeric, grapeseed oil and an extra generous pinch of salt. Heat a large skillet and saute until they are browned on all sides. Remove to a bowl.
2. In the same skillet, add a drizzle more oil and saute the onion until it is a warm brown, about 10-15 minutes. Rough chop the ginger, garlic and chile and add to the food processor or blender until it forms a fine paste (you can add a splash of water if needed). Add the paste to the onions and continue cooking and stirring until the rawness goes away. Add the cumin, coriander and garam masala and stir.
3. Add one handful of the greens to the skillet and add the rest to the food processor/blender and blend until pretty smooth. Add this to the skillet with a pinch of salt and continue cooking until flavors combine, about 5-10 minutes. If mixture looks too dry, add a splash of water.
4. Finish the dish by adding a squeeze of lemon juice and tasting for more salt. Stir in a spoonful of coconut milk or yogurt for extra creaminess.