• Tanya Carneiro

Vegan Palak Paneer (Spinach Gravy)

The King of all spinach recipes , a restaurant favourite - I present to you my North Indian Palak Paneer.


Rich textured , lightly spiced spinach gravy with tender cubes of tofu (or the traditional paneer) - this age old dish has comforted many in both India and Pakistan during cool winter months up in the northern regions .

Palak paneer is often served with basmati rice, naan bread, or both !


This recipe is for a mouth watering palak paneer , one of several I learned from a Punjabi maid I had when I was living in India . A fantastic cook from whom I learned so many treasured age-old recipes .


This low-fat dish (when made with tofu) is an absolute power-house for nutrition with boasting copious amounts of macro and micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K , Vitamin C, Calcium , Iron and so much more .


It is so delicious and rather simple to make. So let's get started ..



 

Serves 4 Ingredients: 240g Spinach Leaves Washed ½ Green Chilli Chopped Roughly 1 Red Onion Chopped Extra Fine 1 Large Tomato Depulped And Chopped Fine 2 Tsp Garlic Paste (Or 2 Cloves Minced) 1 Tsp Ginger Paste (Or 1 Inch Piece Finely Julienned) 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds 1 Tbs Dried Fenugreek Leaves 1 Bay Leaf 2 Cloves 1 x Small Pinch of Asafoetida 200-250grams Extra Firm Tofu in 1 Inch Cubes (Use paneer if non-vegan) ½ Cup Water 1 Tbs Mustard Oil (or any veg oil) Salt + Pepper 1 Tsp Each 1 Lemon Wedge Powdered spices : ½ Tsp Turmeric Powder 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (Add ½ Tsp If You Cant Eat Spicy) ½ Tsp Garam Masala Powder Cashew cream: 6 whole cashews (unsalted) blended to a thick paste with 2 tbs boiling water

 

Directions:

1. Boil 3 cups of water in a saucepan , then add a pinch of salt and the spinach leaves.

Move it around with tongs and let it soak for 1 minute. Turn the flame off and remove spinach immediately into 3 cups of iced water for blanching and color retention.

2. Once cooled , drain the spinach into a colander, until most of the water has run off, and add it to a blender with the ginger and green chilli .

Grind to smooth paste DON’T add water it will be fine – just keep blending until everything is even in texture and no small lumps

3. Heat oil in a sauce pan until hot , then add the cumin seeds and swirl pan . once they start spluttering add the asafoetida, bay leaf, cloves , chopped onion + fry until softened and light brown then add the garlic , chopped tomatoes , powdered spices and 1 tsp salt + pepper. Cook mixing frequently or it will burn.

This will take around 5-10 minutes you have to keep frying on low-medium heat until you see it clump up as a ball and then release some oil .

If you burn this mixture it will ruin the dish so add 1tbs of water to the spice tomato mixture if it is drying up too quickly

4. Once the tomatoes are jammy and softened , add the spinach puree + cook for 6-8 minutes until it is bubbling and the raw smell of ginger is gone .

5. Add the dried fenugreek leave and tofu – swirl pan with handles until everything is coated evenly and cook uncovered on HIGH flame for 3-4 minutes until tofu is soft (then turn flame to low)

6. Add half the cashew cream in a swirl now and mix into the gravy gently

If at this point you want a thinner gravy , add a small amount of water until you get your consistent – but note that this is meant to be a thick spinach gravy.

Switch heat off.

7. Squeeze 1 small lemon wedge and swirl pan again to combine.

Taste for salt – once you are happy with the seasoning, add the remaining cashew cream in a swirl design for nice presentation.

Serve warm with rice, roti or naan

 

RECIPE NOTES:


  • If you like, you can pan-fry the tofu cubes to sear them (until golden brown) before adding them to the curry. Then boil on high heat as per instruction

  • This recipe freezes very well ! Thaw it in the fridge overnight, and then reheat it in a saucepan over low-medium heat on the stovetop (stirring frequently)

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