Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vegan Mofo recipe: Saag Paneer

Alright, so by nature saag paneer is obviously made with paneer- otherwise known as Indian cheese.  For years I've been substituting lightly fried tofu- which tastes delicious.  This original recipe can be found in Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking.  Her cookbook is an all-time favorite of mine.

Vegan Saag Paneer
adapted from Julie Sahni

serves 6-8

about 1 lb. tofu (firm, refrigerated in water)
16 oz. gently cooked spinach (I use a mixture of fresh and frozen, but either is fine)
1 packed cup of gently cooked chopped chard or kale, stems removed
1 green bell pepper, cored and seeded
7 T olive oil 
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 T grated fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
2 jalapenos, minced (deseeded)
1/2 c water (or more as needed)
1 tsp. salt
2 medium sized red bell peppers (cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips)
2 tsp. garam masala

Puree spinach, chard, & green pepper in food processor or emersion blender.  Should be fine and velvety.  Drain tofu and gently press with tea towel.  Dice tofu into 1/2 inch cubes.  Heat 4 T oil in large, heavy nonstick pan over medium heat and add tofu.  Cook tofu until it is a light golden brown on most sides.   
In 1 T oil cook onion until gently browned (about 15-20 minutes), then add ginger and fry for 2 more minutes.  Add turmeric and jalapenos, stir for a few seconds and set aside.  Cook spinach puree with 1/2 cup water, salt, sweet peppers, 1 T oil on medium heat.  Add onion and spices and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.  Add tofu and continue cooking for 2 more minutes.  Stir in garam masala.  When ready to serve, stir in 1 T oil to glaze and mellow the sauce.  

I serve this with a simple basmati (or jasmine) rice pilaf.  Cook basmati rice and add thinly sliced dried vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, etc.) or gently cooked grated rice and peas.  Some wild rice added tastes lovely too.  


  1. Wow. All my favorite ingredients in one dish. Can't beat that. This is a definite must try! Vegan Indian food makes me very happy. Thank you for posting!

  2. Ooooh that looks absolutely yummy, Hope!! And such a simple recipe too.