I’m getting ready for a trip to India, and am pre-celebrating the warmth and spices with palak tofeer! This recipe is inspired by a very close friend of mine who happens to be an amazing restaurateur, and who owns a restaurants in Rosarito and Irvine based on his travels to Goa, India. The food is amazing, and the only thing better than the food are his stories of meeting the Dalai Lama, growing up in Puerto Rico, and being the private chef of Steven Spielberg. The man has lived! After realizing I was vegan, and that his restaurant is one of the few restaurants in Rosarito with vegan options, Norman started adding new vegan menu items because he is truly and angel that this earth does not deserve! One of my favorite things he would make is Palak Tofeer which we often see on western menus as saag paneer. This version is vegan, oil free, gluten free, and delicious af! This is how we made it:
1 block firm tofu, cut into ¾” cubes
20 ounces spinach (2 big bags)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup coconut milk (if you want it creamy) or plant based milk
3 garlic cloves
1” piece of ginger, peeled and cut into a few pieces
3-4 green chillies, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced and divided
Basmati rice for serving
Place the cubed tofu in a bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top. Season with a little salt and pepper, and pop it in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 370 F flipping halfway through. Alternatively, you can bake your tofu on parchment paper. You just want to get your tofu a little brown, but not too crispy.
Meanwhile, In a large pot, boil some lightly salted water. Add all of your spinach, and boil it for 2 minutes. Drain it, and immediately transfer it into an ice cold bowl of water. This will help keep the spinach pretty and green!
Drain the spinach, and add it to a high-powered blender. Add the tomato, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and chillies, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Heat a large pan over medium-high, and add about a tbsp of water (or oil if you’re not avoiding). Add the onion, and cook about 5 minutes or until it’s soft. Add the spinach mixture, garam masala, turmeric, salt, pepper, and the tofu. Cook for about 5 minutes until it’s heated all the way through and nice and bubbly. Add in the lemon juice and serve immediately!