Spinach. I crave it, sometimes irrationally, and I cannot rest until I’ve had my fill of this luscious green. I am convinced people who say they hate spinach have simply been served the frozen variety during their childhood, and frozen spinach really is enough to scar a person for life. I think a palak or saag is the perfect way to convince a person that spinach can be good. Really good.
Saag Paneer is one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes, and it’s one which is easily adapted to a vegan diet by simply substituting a good quality tofu for the paneer. The tofu was made using a SoyQuick soy milk maker. The recipe for the garam masala blend is similar to this tofu recipe (but halved); Make the tofu as usual, but add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala and 1/8 teaspoon salt to the curd instead of the other ingredients before pressing. If you don’t make your own tofu, don’t worry; feel free to use something store bought (just add some garam masala to the curry toward the end of cooking).
This is a very easy vegan recipe that I’d recommend to anyone. You can use your favourite spinach curry recipe (goodness knows there are billions, if not trillions). If you would like a little added richness then add a few tablespoons of vegan cream and some rich vegan butter (e.g. Vitalite).
Vegan Saag Tofu
- On a medium-low heat, fry the garlic, ginger, cumin, and green chili in a couple tablespoons of “butter” for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add the chopped spinach to the mix. If you’ve just rinsed the spinach there should be enough water clinging to the leaves to ensure it cooks down (if you have just washed it, though, make sure you’ve drained most of the water away). If the spinach is dry or all of the water has evaporated, just add a tablespoon of water.
- Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 12-15 minutes, or until the spinach is tender.
- While the spinach is cooking, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in another pan. Cut the tofu into half inch pieces and fry on all sides until golden, to seal flavours in.
- Add the tofu to the spinach, along with the final tablespoon of “butter” to add a rich extra flavour. Stir the tofu gently into the spinach and allow the mix to simmer for a final 5-10 minutes before serving.