Vegan Palak Paneer… or, Roger gets his Indian cooking groove on

My husband makes amazing Indian food. He is a devotee and has studied under some wonderful cooks. Tonight he made vegan palak paneer (tofu cubes can taste an awful lot like the Indian paneer cheese). He’s not super-specific about amounts but I have narrated the experience. Enjoy!

vegan palak paneer

Roger’s Plant-based Palak Paneer

Note: everything is roughly chopped as it will all go into a food processor.

Using a non-stick stir fry pan wiped with a little oil, toast 2 tsp. each mustard, cumin, and coriander seeds until mustard seeds pop (you will need a lid!). If desired, add small amount of hing or asafetida. Once mustard seeds are popping, add one medium chopped onion and several cloves of chopped garlic. If desired, add diced hot peppers. I used two thai bird chili peppers. I also added half a red pepper roughly chopped as well as some chopped up Portobello mushrooms—about one cup chopped.

Cook it a while, stirring until everything is soft, about five minutes. Add roughly equal amounts, maybe one tablespoon, of turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder and sometimes garam masala and sometimes curry powder. Today I used curry powder. I guess you could use both. Then salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, another one or two minutes. Mixture will be dry.

Add one 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Then add one pound of fresh spinach and sprinkle with a little water before covering with the lid again and allowing to cook down. Stir occasionally until the spinach is completely wilted.

At this point, you can add curry powder and/or garam masala if it looks like it needs it… this doesn’t involve tasting, apparently, but the color.

I then turn off the heat and let cool down a bit before pouring it into a food processor to puree. You can do 2/3 if you want to keep some of the texture, but I usually puree it all.

While the spinach mixture is still in the food processor, I use the empty to sauté about 9-12 oz. of cubed tofu (Nasoya has a nice little tub of it) in a bit of the cooking mixture. When tofu is browned add spinach mixture back into the pan and stir everything together. Cook another two or three minutes and serve over brown basmati rice.

Thank you, guest chef Roger!

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