Lately it feels like I’ve been talking a lot about eating organic with close friends and I realized I almost never specify the type of ingredients I use in my recipes. I don’t like to force my preferences and methods on others because that is just not my thing and quite honestly- I don’t know if my methods are the “right” way to do things either. I definitely do try to buy organic & non-GMO ingredients and food stuffs. I don’t think I do it to an annoying extent, but I try wherever possible.
If you google ‘organic’ today, you will find a TON of contradictory articles. Some say organic is much better, some say organic is just the same as conventional and some even say conventional is much better! It’s like falling into a rabbit hole when you start goog-ling this stuff.
At the end of the day, I say people should do what feels right to them! And for the sake of being neutral I keep my recipes non-specific so it doesn’t feel like a requirement Which brings me to today’s recipe for Palak Tofu!
Palak Paneer is one of those Indian dishes that I think most people love across the board. It’s so good with naan and I find it delicious with rice or quinoa too! You get a healthy intake of spinach without compromising the yumminess factor. I decided to go a bit healthier and swap paneer for tofu and added some kidney beans for extra protein. Ok I’ll be honest, I just didn’t have access to paneer and some day I will learn to make it. Until then I will substitute tofu If you’re a Palak Paneer puritan, you may not enjoy this tofu version. But I find palak with anything is delicious!
- 1 lb box of spinach
- 1 - 14 oz box of extra-firm tofu; drained, pressed for 15 minutes and cut into 1 inch cubes.
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of diced tomatoes drained)
- 1 - 14 oz can of kidney beans, drained
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 2 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coconut palm sugar
- Oil for cooking
- Salt to taste
- Dry roast the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick (dry roast = sautéing the spices in a small saucepan without oil for 1-2 minutes or so on medium heat). Take the roasted spices and grind them into a powder and set aside.
- On a cast-iron skillet that has been heated for a few minutes over medium heat, add about 2 tsps of oil and spread all over the skillet. Add the tofu pieces, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the pieces and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the side touching the pan is golden brown (check every 2 minutes to make sure they are not burning). Once golden brown, turn the tofu pieces over to brown the other side. Take the browned tofu and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large 4 or 5 quart pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute or so
- Add the tomatoes; coriander, turmeric &cumin powders and the garam masala. Mix well and cook until the tomatoes are pulpy (about 3-4 minutes)
- Then add 1 cup of the water and add all of the spinach into the pot and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium-low and cook the spinach for about 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and stir the pot well so the wilted spinach comes to the top and the unwilted goes to the bottom. Cover with the lid and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Next remove the pot from the heat and use a hand/regular blender or food processor to puree everything in the pot and then return the puree to the pot over medium heat. It doesn't have to be a perfect puree, chunks are totally fine.
- Add the dry roasted spice powder, the sugar and as much salt as you would like. I think I used about 3 tsps. Mix everything and if the consistency is too thick, you can add a little bit of water. You want it to be thick enough if you're eating with naan or roti.
- Next add kidney beans and tofu and mix gently. Simmer for about 4 minutes with the lid on.
- Turn the heat off and serve after a few minutes of cooling!
- Special Tools: Hand Blender, Regular Blender or Food Processor.