Monday, February 4, 2008

Green = good, Green+Tofu = better!

Eat your spinach, you no good infink. Eat it. EAT IT. Eat it.
- Poopdeck Pappy

Saag Paneer has always been a household favourite - aromatic and flavourful greens cooked up with toasted, crunchy cheese bits. Saag and Palak are used interchangeably so often, more so because there is no exact equivalent for those greens in the U.S. For the most part, palak is just spinach and saag is a combination of spinach and mustard greens. But most folks I know often use a variety of greens when making saag - the more flavourful and diverse the greens, the merrier, right? :)

In line with the recent push for healthy, high-protein and high-fibre recipes, I embarked on a variation of this popular greens dish from North India. I had a bunch of collard greens as well as some spinach and microgreens - this olio of leaves could definitely make for interesting saag, right? Also, in an effort to cut back on the fat, I decided to try this out with tofu instead of paneer. That was a big sacrifice - there are few things as delicious as fresh homemade paneer - the subtle residual lemon smell blending with the pungency of the curds ... *so* good!

Anyway, the idea was the toast the tofu bits till they turned out crispy - that was the closest I could think of as a paneer alternative. Also, I went with a blend of cashews and almonds to enhance the creaminess of the palak instead of just cashews - it seemed like this would enhance the diverse palak flavours.

Saag Tofu
High Protein Vegan Bliss

Servings: 4

1 bunch of collard greens
1/2 bunch of spinach
2 handfuls of microgreens (arugula, baby endive, baby chard, mizuna, tatsoi, sorrel, etc)
1 medium sized tomato
1/2 red onion
1/2 block of tofu (160 gms)
4 cloves of garlic
1" ginger
3-4 green chillies
1 t cumin seeds
1/4 cup cashews+almonds
1 T coriander-cumin powder
1 t turmeric powder
1 t red chilli powder (cayenne would work)
1/2" stick of cinnamon
2 cloves
1 cardamon pod
1 T sesame oil

Lightly roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamon before grinding them along with the cashews and almonds into a fine masala.
Grind the ginger and garlic into a thick paste.
Blanch the tomato in hot water, peel and puree.
Blanch the spinach and microgreens in hot water for 2-3 minutes before grinding to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and roast the cumin seeds.
Once they brown, add the onions and green chillies.
Saute for a few minutes till the onions turn brown.
Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute a bit more.
Now add the red chilli powder, turmeric and coriander-cumin powder and stir for a minute.
Throw in the tomato puree along with the collard greens.
Simmer covered for 6-7 minutes till greens are cooked.
Cool before pureeing this mixture - you could leave it somewhat coarse or make it into a smooth paste.
Add the spinach-microgreens puree along with the masala (spices+nuts mixture) and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Season with salt.

Dice the tofu, lightly douse with oil spray and toast or broil till the pieces get crispy and brown on the edges.
Add the tofu to the saag and cook on low for a couple more minutes.

Season with cilantro or even a dollop of malai or creme fraiche.

Serve over seasoned rice (jeera rice is a great option) or with rotis.

Any good?

This was great! For some reason, it felt much lighter than regular saag, but totally flavourful. And the mix of greens was awesome ... got to love those collards! :) The only thing I would change going forward is to make the dish a little thicker. I got carried away with adding water when I was trying to puree the greens - sometimes patience is a noble virtue!


Similar greens recipes

Sailu's Food - Palak Paneer
Mahanandi - Palak Paneer
Nupur's Spinach recipes


Off this goes to Ulrike from Kuchenlatein for WHB (Kalyn's brainchild).


FH said...

My daughter loves Tofu in place of Paneer too, love it!:)

EC said...

this looks so good and healthy, must have tasted equally good.

bee said...

coconut milk powder. it helps thicken anything. your dish looks awesome.

Sig said...

Nice color... so you really are a tofu monkey, huh? :D

Alpa said...

Picture is beautiful, and I love the light green color of the dish.

Pooja said...

how about this - >
green+tofu+mild spices = The best :)).
thats a lovely dish :)
thanks for sharing

Meera said...

collard greens, spinach and tofu! - Now that's really healthy. gonna try it soon. Loved the picture too.

Manju said...

thats is one amazingly healthy food!!!

Sagari said...

thats a lovely recipe adding tofu is a greast idea

Valli said...

hey kaykat,
thanks for visiting my blog - The saaj tofu looks deliciously healthy- am gonna try this soon.


Vaishali said...

The saag looks lovely. I too make a version of vegan palak paneer with tofu. I think the tofu makes a better-than-paneer substitute.

Mandira said...

i agree with you, I've made tofu paneer for my vegan friends and they love it!

sunita said...

K, I love your dish...will try it out soon...thanks :-)

ostwestwind said...

Thanks for participationng WHB, I see green now.

Ulrike aka ostwestwind from Küchenlatein

KayKat said...

Damn, Bee - I didn't even think of using coconut milk powder! I usually like the mild flavour it adds. Even soy flour is a great option, especially with my current protein obsession :)

Kalyn Denny said...

It sounds delicious! Sag Paneer is one of those dishes I've been wanting to try for the longest time. I love every kind of greens.

Anonymous said...

I love this green soup of yours. And tofu!