Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Saag Paneer" with tofu croutons

This dish is saag paneer-ish, but can’t really be called saag paneer. First, I made it with tofu instead of cheese, and even then, I fried the tofu into little croutons rather than letting it be all silky within the dish. I’m not a fan of silky tofu, and I am a fan of fried.  Next, I baked the dish, and I’m pretty sure the traditional way to make it is to stew it in a saucepan or skillet. Anyways, it’s good, and not too difficult. The original recipe comes from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I made this a while ago, so I’m not positive what spice mixture I put together, but really any store-bought curry powder will taste delicious.

  • A bunch of tofu croutons, made to your liking. I like to use extra firm tofu and fry cubes in vegetable oil until crispy. Keep these ready and mix them in with the finished product.
  • 1 pound of spinach (or more)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (preferable wheat or chick pea if you’ve got it)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala (use what you like)
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (MB says to use whole milk, but I’m pretty sure I used fat free and it worked just fine)
Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and shock the spinach (i.e. cook for 30 seconds and then drain and rinse with very cold water). Dry well and chop. (You can skip this step and just toss the fresh spinach into the dish, but it will sort of turn brown when you cook it. Doing this extra step keeps the spinach looking nice and bright green throughout the cooking. I think it also helps the flavor, but not enough to really notice. If you’re in a hurry, go ahead and skip.)
Put the oil and flour in a large skillet or pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat to medium-low. Stir while it cooks for about 5 minutes, until it all looks darker but not scorched. Stir in your spice mixture, and then whisk in the yogurt. Raise the heat and cook just until everything is heated through. Fold in the spinach and pour everything into a lightly greased baking dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until it’s a little crusty on top and bubbly. Top with your croutons and enjoy!