Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 20: Saag Paneer

I think I have said it before, but Indian food is one of my favorite types of foods, just like India is one of the places I most want to go. Here is my version of Saag Paneer, one of my favorite types of my favorite type of food. Saag Paneer refers to a spinach sauce with cubes of cheese (similar to mozzarella). It is usually served on rice. I made the recipe about a week ago, and then today, when I was preparing to publish it, I could not find it. I was positive I had thrown it away and that I was going to have to publish a post explaining why there was a picture and no recipe. But alas! I found it hiding in the kitchen drawer. Thank goodness.

Here I substitute firm tofu for the cheese, and fry it in Earth Balance to give it a richer taste. Often this sauce is served on rice. For mine, I used brown rice because it is healthier. There are a lot of recipes for white jasmine rice which have a little more flavor added to accompany the saag (or other Indian dish), but for simplicity's sake (this is supposed to be a weeknight dinner) I opted for plain brown rice. You are more than welcome to find a Indian rice recipe and use it to accompany the sauce.

Saag Paneer
Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes

1 pound firm tofu, cubed

4 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1 serrano, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh spinach
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cashew cream*
cooked rice, to serve

First prepare the "paneer." In a large skillet melt two tablespoons of the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the cubes of tofu, turning every few minutes so that all the sides are browned. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add the remaining two tablespoons of Earth Balance to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Once melted add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano, and sauté until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, coriander, cumin, and salt and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, cover and continue to sauté until the spinach is wilted. Add the tomato and cashew cream and continue to cook until the tomato has broken down, stirring to incorporate the cashew cream.

Return the tofu to the pan and toss it with the sauce. To serve, ladle sauce and cheese on top of cooked rice.

*For the cashew cream you can use 1 cup cashews. Soak them in water overnight or boil them. Rinse, and put in blender. Add 1/2 cup water to blender and blend until smooth. This will make about 1 cup cashew cream, so you will have 1/2 cup left over for another dish.


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