Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Palak (Tofu) Paneer--Healthy Indian Food

The third dish from my healthy vegetarian Indian food class was a spin on Palak Paneer (Palak means spinach and paneer is a type of cheese). This non-dairy version of Palak (Tofu) Paneer, uses a baked marinated tofu in place of the cheese and a little (optional) Silk Soy Creamer for a touch of richness.

Palak (Tofu) Paneer
Chef Alyssa Moreau

1/2 block extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt/pepper to taste 
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (can substitute Tamari or Soy Sauce)

16 oz fresh, cleaned spinach leaves, washed and drained

1-2 Tbsp olive oil or ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup thinly sliced or grated onion
1 tsp ginger, minced (+ a few slivers for garnish)
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp Silk Soy Creamer (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss tofu cubes in a mixture of oil, turmeric, salt, pepper and Bragg's. Place on a baking sheet (oiled or lined with parchment) and bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly cooked.

Steam or saute spinach in a bit of water until wilted and tender. Drain and cool, then puree, (using a stick blender, regular blender or food processor), and set aside. 

Heat oil or ghee in a small saute pan and toast the cumin seeds, (they will turn dark). Add in the onions and fry until soft. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and spices and cook a few minutes, then add in the tomato; cook until soft. Poor in the spinach puree and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add in the baked tofu cubes and simmer a few minutes to heat through.

Serve hot, drizzled with a bit of Silk Soy Cream and some thinly sliced ginger slivers.

Notes/Results:  Delicious! The pictures don't really do it justice. (I was starving when I got home from class and just took a few photos before I ate it.) The baked tofu was especially good and I will make it again, using different spices for different dishes. The flavors are really good and it isn't swimming in a rich sauce like the Palak Paneer or Saag Paneer, I get at restaurants. (If you are wondering what the difference between the two are, Palak Paneer usually refers to just spinach while Saag can be made from spinach, mustard leaves and other greens). If you don't have fresh spinach and tomatoes, you could probably use a frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained and some drained, canned tomatoes. The Silk Soy (or other non-dairy creamer) is optional, but it does add a nice touch. I will happily make this again.


  1. Mmmm, I love Indian food - so great that you took this course.
    Looks delish! I don't cook with tofu enough.

  2. I like Indian food, too, but haven't attempted to make it at home. This looks great! And pretty easy to make.

  3. Paneer is wonderful in my opinion. I was first exposed to it, sad to say, in its frozen dinner form (I think it was manufactured by Amy's Organics). No matter. I was hooked and have been searching for the perfect panner recipe ever since. This looks delicious!

  4. Oooh, I'm bookmarking this to make soon! Yummers!

  5. I love this dish (and Indian food in general). Thanks for presenting it in such an easy-to-make-at-home format.

  6. I just made this and it was a real hit. I also just sent over a plate of my Palak Paneer to Joan at Foodalogue for her Culinary Tour Around the World: India event to promote BloggerAid.

    This had major olfactory lusciousness!

  7. THANK YOU! I made this last night and it was excellent! I didn't drain the spinach enough and was a bit too liberal with the cayenne pepper, but I still loved it. Next time, I might even double the tofu amount. Gobbled it up with some garlic naan. I'm so proud of myself for making a healthy version of my favorite Indian dish!

  8. Does anyone know where I can buy paneer cheese in Oahu?


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