Palak Tofu is the veganized version of Palak Paneer, another popular Indian dish (from North India, to be more specific). In hindi, palak means spinach, while paneer is the Indian traditional cheese. And Palak Paneer shouldn’t be mistaken for Saag Paneer; while the first one is made only with spinach, Saag Paneer is made with a mix of various greens. Some people even say that Saag Panner is not actually a traditional Indian dish and it was developed by Westerners who brought it to India.
As expected, this is a very flavorful dish made of puréed spinach cooked in a medley of spices. The result is a delicious creamy curry complemented by tofu cubes and, if you wish, a bit of vegan cream for a smoother texture.
Palak tofu ingredients
- spinach – use fresh young spinach leaves and avoid large stems as they make the gravy bitter;
- tofu – use extra firm tofu;
- onion, garlic & ginger – the always present trio in Asian cuisine;
- vegetable oil – for frying; you can replace it with vegan butter for a creamier texture;
- spices – lots of spices actually: turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, cumin, red chili powder and fenugreek.
Traditionally, this dish is also made with a few fresh green chilies, but, if that’s too much spiciness for you, there’s no need to add them.
How to make palak tofu
Start by cleaning and rinsing the spinach very well.
Fill a big pot with water and and bring it to a boil then blanch the spinach in it. Keep the spinach in the hot water only for a minute, until it wilts a little. After that, transfer it into a bowl filled with ice water (this will help the spinach keep its nice vibrant color). Leave the spinach in the cold water for a few seconds and then transfer to a blender and purée it to a smooth paste.
Next, heat a large skillet or a wok and pour in the vegetable oil. Sauté the diced onion over medium heat for about a minute, then add minced garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute and add in the spinach purée and 1 cup of water. When it starts simmering, stir in the spices, except for the fenugreek.
Let it simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, until it turns to a thick gravy. Cover with a lid as it will start bubbling and splashing all over.
Add fenugreek and give it a stir. Then stir in the cubed tofu, turn off the heat and transfer into serving bowl.
This dish pairs very well with naan, paratha or roti (Indian bread types). If you’re on a gluten free diet, serve it with plain basmati rice. And since you’re having an Indian dish, cutlery is obsolete ?. It might get messy, but food definitely tastes better ?.
How to store palak tofu
You can keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days in an airtight container. If you want to keep it for longer, I suggest freezing only the spinach curry; tofu changes its texture if frozen. And, whenever you feel like eating this dish, just unfreeze it, simmer it for 2-3 minutes, add tofu cubes and dinner is ready ?.
Other Indian dishes you might like
If you like this recipe, please leave a comment below and rate it. And if you prepare something using this vegan Béchamel recipe, take a photo and don’t forget to tag #choose_tasty on Instagram?.
Palak Tofu | Spinach Curry with Tofu
- 600 g spinach well cleaned and rinsed
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil or vegan butter
- 1 finely diced medium onion
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 grated ginger (2 cm piece)
- 1 cup water 250 ml
- 1 tbsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp fenugreek
- 200 g firm tofu cut into small cubes
- Fill a big pot with water and bring it to a boil; add the spinach leaves into the boiling water;
- Let the spinach in the water for about 1 minute, until it gets wilted then transfer it for a few seconds to a bowl water filled with ice water;
- Put the spinach into a blender and purée it until smooth; set aside;
- Heat a large skillet or a wok then add vegetable oil or vegan butter;
- When the oil is hot, add the diced onion and sauté for about 1 minute over medium heat; then add minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for another minute;
- Add the spinach purée and water; when it starts simmering, bring in the salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and red chili powder; combine well and cover with a lid; let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the gravy thickens; stir from time to time;
- Add fenugreek and give it a good stir;
- Add tofu cubes, combine well and turn off the heat;
- Transfer the palak tofu into serving bowls and enjoy!
- Use fresh spinach leaves; no big stem as they tend to be bitter.
- Ice water helps the spinach keep its vibrant color.
- Avoid cooking the spinach for too long; it will loose its nutrients and the nice color.
- You can add 3-4 tbsp of vegan cream for extra creaminess.