Savory spinach curry, american style. Just like the restaurant makes it but vaguely healthy! I make this with tofu, but it should be easy to change it back to the original paneer.
It’s important to use plain yogurt, not greek yogurt; the greek yogurt is too tangy and will dominate the dish. Also, a good food processor is absolutely necessary; trying to chop the spinach by hand won’t get it fine enough no matter how much chopping you do.
Note that I prefer my saag tofu very spicy. You will probably want to reduce this by using a less-spicy pepper or processing it to remove the spicy parts.
No picture yet because I’m still trying to figure out how to plate the stuff in a vaguely palatable manner.
Start to Eat time: ~1 hour:
- Prep: 15 minutes
- Cook: 35 minutes
- 12 oz extra-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons oil
A bit of cornstarch, maybe a teaspoon or two
1 pound fresh baby spinach
- 1 large white onion
- 1.5 inch knob of ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
1 serrano or other small hot pepper
- 1.5 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- A tiny splash of heavy cream, maybe a tablespoon
- Prepare your mise in place:
- Cube the tofu into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss with the cayenne, salt, oil, and cornstarch to coat. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients.
- Wash the spinach and use the food processor to turn it into a paste. You will have to run it in batches. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside for later.
- Quarter the onion and throw it in the food processor. Peel the ginger (scraping it with a spoon works well) and throw it into the food processor. Peel the garlic and throw it into the food processor. Prep the pepper however you like; I just throw it in whole, but this makes the dish very spicy and you’ll probably want to cut it open and scrape out the pith. Pulse this mixture until finely chopped, just before it starts turning into a paste.
- Transfer tofu to a large, cold frying pan. Do not use non-stick; you want as much crust as possible. Place on medium-high heat. Wait until toasty. Turn. Get as crispy as desired, possibly extremely crispy. Pour out onto a plate and set aside.
- Add oil to pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger, chile mixture. Saute until evenly toffee-colored, about 15 minutes. If it starts to dry out and burn, add a bit of water.
- Add spices to the pan. If necessary, add some water so they don’t burn. Cook, stirring often, to wake up the spices, between two and five minutes.
- Add spinach. Stir well. Add some salt and 1/2 cup water. Cook about 5 minutes with the lid off.
- Remove from heat. Add yogurt, a little at a time so it doesn’t curdle. Add a splash of cream.
- Return tofu to the mixture and stir. Return to heat. Cover, cook until warmed through. Serve.