March 7, 2013

Saag Tofu

Whenever I talked to non-Indian friends about Indian cuisine, I've heard rave reviews of Palak Paneer  or Saag Paneer (Curried Pureed Spinach with cubes of fresh cheese). I grew up eating a much healthier version of this dish at home in India, and have always thought the restaurant versions are too greasy. My version today, is 100% plant-based, with no added fat at all and is high on plant-based protein with the addition of Tofu instead of paneer. I've posted a recipe before, which I affectionately called my Lazy Saag Tofu. Today's recipe is a modification of the original, with less spices and it tasted amazing. 

Saag Tofu over White Rice
Prep Time: 30 min

Ingredients (6 Servings):

  1. 1 x 12 oz bag of frozen Cut Leaf Spinach (~2 cups or so)
  2. 1 cup of fresh Kale
  3. 1 x 15 oz can of Hunts Fire-Roasted Garlic Diced Tomatoes
  4. 1 Medium Red Onion, diced
  5. 1 x 14 ox block of Firm or Extra Firm Tofu
  6. 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  7. 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  8. 2 tsp Cumin Powder
  9. 2 tsp Ground Mustard Powder
  10. Salt to taste
Line a pot with water and add garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes and add onion. As the onion turns translucent, add spinach and kale and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. During this time, as the spinach is simmering, stir in turmeric, cumin and mustard. In a separate pot, boil rice (brown or white, although I prefer White Basmati with this dish), drain and set aside. Once the spinach has wilted down and the tomatoes begin to disintegrate, turn off heat, and blend everything together to a smooth paste using a stick blender, or you can use a jar blender as well (the latter is of course more tedious and more messy!). Once well blended, add salt to taste and then do a taste test for spices and if needed add more cumin and mustard. Turn the stove back on (medium heat) and cover the pot with a lid - pureed spinach spatters very badly and can burn if the spatter makes contact with your skin. As the spinach sputters and simmers, cut a pressed block of tofu into bite-sized pieces. Carefully remove the lid and add tofu, gently folding the spinach with the tofu (if you're too rough, the tofu will crumble). Cover and simmer everything together for another 5-10 minutes. Turn heat off and let the pot sit for a couple of minutes to allow the sputtering to stop before removing the lid. Do a quick taste test for salt. Serve hot over steamed/boiled rice. 

My Assessment: Loved it!! The inclusion of kale gave it more robust, and less-grassy flavor. I really like using mustard powder in this recipe vs the usual Indian spices (Coriander, Garam Masala etc.). 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 113 (Fat Calories 32)
Total Fat 3.6 g; Carbohydrates 8.9 g; Fiber 2.7 g; Sugars 1.6 g; Protein 9.1 g

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