A couple of weeks in the past, I used to be digging into a meal of saag paneer at one in all my favourite Indian eating places (Zareen’s in Palo Alto!), when it occurred to me that the feel of the delicate contemporary paneer cheese within the dish was similar to the feel of extra-firm tofu.
I made a decision there after which to give you a vegan riff on this dish so that everybody can take pleasure in it, even if you happen to’re consuming dairy-free.
Saag paneer is a dish that hails from the Northern a part of the Indian subcontinent. The phrases “saag” and “paneer” translate from Punjabi to “greens” and “cheese.”
When you order Saag Paneer in a restaurant within the United States, it’s often made with spinach (a.ok.a. palak) however often different greens comparable to mustard or fenugreek are included as effectively. Mixed in with the greens are items of paneer, a contemporary, gentle cheese.
I’ve made saag paneer a number of occasions at residence, largely following the recipe within the wonderful cookbook 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, however I’d by no means tried it with tofu. I additionally determined to make yet another change and put together my saag tofu in my Instant Pot.
Using the Instant Pot (or different electrical stress cooker) means that you can stroll away whereas it’s cooking, fairly. No want to hold across the kitchen watching a pot or skillet because it bubbles away on the range.
You can even go away the completed dish on the “keep warm setting” for actually hours and hours. Since the pot holds meals above 140ºF, it’s completely protected to let the meals look ahead to you for as much as 10 hours! You may even make it within the morning and it’ll nonetheless be piping scorching at dinnertime
Before searing the tofu, I wish to press it down gently with paper towels, simply to attract out a few of the moisture. This helps preserve it from sputtering an excessive amount of within the pan, and makes the feel a bit firmer, too.
I take advantage of a reasonably beneficiant quantity of oil on this recipe — 5 tablespoons all advised. It comes out to a bit of greater than a tablespoon per serving, and it actually helps to hold the flavors of the spices within the garam masala. You can minimize down on the oil by as much as half if you happen to choose issues a bit of lighter!
Since searing tofu can generally tend to stay to chrome steel, I often brown in a nonstick pan on the stovetop whereas I’m cooking the onions within the electrical stress cooker. You find yourself utilizing two pans, however on the plus aspect, you save on the cooking time because the onions and tofu are cooking on the identical time!
My favourite variations of this dish are a bit of homier and tough in texture, with seen items of spinach fairly than a easy puree. I stayed true to that on this recipe.
When you’re purchasing for frozen spinach, search for the chopped selection that is available in a bag. It must be loosely packed and fluffy, fairly than frozen in a strong block. This helps it to thaw rapidly sufficient that you may truly stir it into the pot whereas it’s nonetheless frozen. If all you will discover is boxed frozen spinach, ensure that to defrost it earlier than including it to the pot.
Finally, add the garam masala on the very finish of cooking. Since this dish simmers for therefore lengthy, the flavors of the spices can change into muted. Mixing them in simply earlier than serving means they keep vibrant and flavorful. Try it out this fashion and also you’ll be amazed at how the flavors pop! (Look for garam masala within the spice part of your grocery retailer, or order it on-line.)
You can do a fast stress launch, or let it launch naturally, which is able to take about 20 minutes. Either approach, take pleasure in your Saag Tofu piping scorching, served with rice or heat naan.