Spinach tofu curry is a dairy-free vegan option, a fusion dish in which shallow fried tofu is added to spinach gravy. Ideal protein rich comfort food to serve on weeknights with plain rice or bread.
WHAT TYPE OF TOFU SHOULD I BUY FOR THE RECIPE ?
I usually buy extra firm organic tofu for this recipe as the recipe involves shallow frying and then it is put into the curry. Tofu needs to hold the shape and has to have all the edges intact at the end of cooking.
INGREDIENTS SUBSTITUTES :
- Tofu - Any vegan meat is good alternative for tofu. Left over fried chicken cubes also tastes good in this recipe.
- Spinach- replaced by any other greens like kale, collard or mustard greens works well. Basically any type of green that can be cooked tasted good in this recipe.
- Note : A few sprigs of cilantro added along with the greens to this curry will enhance the taste.
- Spices - lesser the better. I do not add any garam masalas to this Spinach and tofu curry as it is a mild flavorful curry where the flavors of green should stand out.
- Chili powder - You can completely avoid chili powder instead use chili flakes for making the curry. Just use a little bit for marinating the tofu.
- Flavoring - Tomato will definitely make the curry look brownish and steal the green color. Instead for tartness add lime juice while serving.
- Seasoning - Any dry herbs added in the place of dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)blends with the curry like mint, thyme rosemary etc, but it will definitely alter the original taste.
- Apart from this if you prefer a much creamier flavorful version adding a tsp or two of coconut milk in the end helps. For the non vegans adding a dollop of ghee, butter, heavy cream will definitely enhance the flavors of the curry.
WHY SHOULD YOU BLANCH THE GREENS FOR SPINACH TOFU CURRY?
Blanching retains the beautiful green color of the curry. The cooking process of introducing high heat and cooling it immediately which stops the cooking and shocks the vegetable thus retaining the color.
To a certain extent blanching removes the bitterness from the greens.
- Over heating and over cooking is one of the main reasons for browning. Greens oxidize quickly.
- Adding too much spice powders that will not only change the green color but also alter the mild taste.
You don't have to grind the spinach simply saute a little and leave it as and this can alternatively be turned into a delicious stir fry
Spinach Tofu Curry
- Heavy bottom pan with lid
- 1 bag Spinach - (15 oz)
- 1 tray Tofu (14 oz) Extra firm
For the curry
- 1 medium Red onion sliced
- 4-5 cloves Garlic chopped
- 1 Green chili chopped
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp Cumin powder
- 1 pinch Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 Lime juiced (optional)
- Cooking oil few tsp
- Cut the tofu into the thin rectangles. Rinse twice in cold water n squeeze gently to remove all excess water. Spread the tofu on few layers of paper towel to dry for 15-20 to soak up most of the moisture.
- Mix 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt apply this on both the sides of the tofu and let the tofu marinate for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat a pot with some water as it boils put the washed spinach leaves into it and remove as soon as it wilts n the green color intensifies. (In short blanch)
- Spread on a plate allow it to cool down. Once the spinach is cool blitz it in the blender adding very little water to a coarse paste. Keep aside.
- In a non stick pan add a few tsps of cooking oil and shallow fry the tofu in batches until the outside is slightly golden on both sides on low heat. Remove and keep aside.NOTE: OVER FRYING WILL TURN THE TOFU TOUGH AND CHEWY.
- In the same pan in the remaining oil add cumin seeds when it splutters slightly add green chili and garlic chopped saute until it releases aroma then add the chopped red onion when it turns translucent add the chili powder, turmeric powder coriander powder and salt saute well.
- When the spice gives a roasted smell add the spinach paste. Add very little water if required as we are looking for a thick gravy.Reduce heat allow it to just heat up well and when it begins to boil add fenugreek leaves crushed in your palms.
- Immerse all the fried tofu in the gravy when one boil comes switch off stove and **remove from the burner and pour into serving dish as the heat will continue to cook the spinach and change the pretty green color to brownish.
- Squeeze the lime juice over the gravy stir once and serve.Serve Palak tofu with plain rice, naan, flatbread or rice pilaf. Or Quinoa, brown rice etc
WHY DID THE TOFU TURN OUT TOUGH ?
Tofu is like a sponge - Over cooking and drying it is the number one reason for tough tofu. Tofu comes in the liquid to keep it moist. It should be noted that in this recipe we drain the liquid, wash then dry it on a paper towel. Marinate for 20 minutes then pan fry 3-4 minutes per side. Then finally put it back into the curry to absorb the liquid. We are reintroducing liquid in tofu so it should not become dry and tough as a result ideally.
Tofu in particular is rinsed and gently squeezed out and pat dried so it absorbs all the flavors additionally added.
Old tofu could be another reason for the dryness.
OTHER RECIPES TO TRY
Most popular recipe on the blog - Lobster spinach bake
Hope you will give this vegan protein rich a try.