Vegan Saag "Paneer" (Gluten-Free)

Monday, September 14, 2009

I love Indian food and much of it is naturally gluten-free. One of my favorite things about Indian food is: Paneer. But, it's fairly expensive and difficult to find organic or rBST-free paneer (I don't like to eat non-organic dairy, but if organic isn't available I try to at least find rBST-free). Even in organic form, Paneer is sadly, not the healthiest thing.

But, with a little bit of experimenting I found that extra-firm tofu is a good stand in when baked correctly. And, it's a recipe that you can make for mixed company (vegans and non-vegans). All of the warm spices of Indian food are perfect for the cool fall weather that seems to have arrived earlier than usual this year.

"Paneer" (essentially baked tofu)

1 lb organic firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1 inch squares
1 Tbls. oil
sprinkle of salt

Preheat oven to 450.º Toss the tofu in oil and salt. Place the tofu on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until brown. Then flip and bake for 12 more minutes or until the other side is brown.

This is what your tofu will look like when it's finished.

The tofu tastes great just like this and is super on top of a salad, so while you're heating up the oven and dirtying a pan why not make extra? It will last in your refrigerator for about 4-5 days.

Saag Sauce

1 lb frozen spinach
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbs. oil
1/2 tsp. ginger or 1 inch ginger crushed
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar or agave (optional)
2 Tbs. lemon juice

Optional: 3/4 C. Regular or soy yogurt or Cashew Cream.

Defrost the spinach in the microwave. Heat the oil and add in onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté on a low heat until the onions are translucent and have soaked up the color of the spices (about 10-12 minutes). Add all spices except for the garam masala. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, the smell of the spices will change and the mixture will turn to a deep color. If the mixture looks like it may burn, add a bit of water.

Then, add the spinach, salt and cook for 5 minutes. At this point, if you have a hand blender, remove the mixture from the heat and carefully blend the mixture to pureé everything into a thick mixture. If you don't have a hand blender it will still be good but the mixture won't be as integrated (you will see more chunks of onions).

Add the garam masala, lemon juice, yogurt or cashew cream and baked tofu cubes. Cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice or eat alone. It tastes even better the second day and in the days following (if you are cooking for one or two it will last you for a few days).

1 comment:

The Vegan Urbanite said...

This is great. Thank you for the recipe. I've added this to my weekly rotation.

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