DDD Ep. #24 – Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board –HERE.

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This is a really easy dish but this recipe makes a boatload so you might want to consider cutting it in half – or doublinf the tofu paneer recipe because that shit is yummy!

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Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

INGREDIENTS

for the tofu paneer

1 block extra firm tofu

4 TBS nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan

3 TBS olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the saag

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cumin seeds

1 small onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS ginger

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS garam masala (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS ground coriander (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

5 tomatoes – diced

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 cup of either vegan heavy cream or sour cream or cream cheese or a combination

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the nutritional yeast, oil & salt in a bowl.

Slice the tofu in half & place between paper towels.  Rest something heavy on it to press out some moisture.

Cube the tofu & toss it in the mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Puree 1 lb of spinach with some water in a blender or food processor.  Just use enough water to facilitate the pureeing.  This is optional.  You could opt to just chop half the spinach – or all of it.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in as pan & add 1-2 TBS cumin seeds (use less for a less heavily spiced dish).   When they start popping & get fragrant, add the onion & saute until soft.

Add the garlic & ginger & jalapenos.  Saute a few minutes & then add the spices.  Add some water to create a thin paste.  Heat through & add the tomatoes.  Add the sugar & salt & combine.  Once the tomatoes are warmed & soft – start adding the fresh spinach until it all cooks down.  Ad the pureed or chopped spinach & stir to combine.  Stir in the vegan dairy you chose to use.  Heat through.  Taste & adjust seasonings.

Serve with the baked tofu paneer on top and some rice or naan.

Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I fucking love Indian food.  I always have.  I have posted many Indian recipes & Indian food is the easiest way to feed someone vegan food without them noticing.  If you research, you will find that most recipes have largely overlapping ingredients.  If you intend to get into cooking Indian food – the critical spices (outside of cumin & coriander) are garam masala & cardamom.  If your local market does not carry the spices you need – and there is no local Indian spice source (ethnic markets are THE BEST resource for cheap spices) – buy them on Amazon.  This recipe calls for fenugreek (or kasuri methi) but I read that celery seeds are a decent substitute.  If you can’t find either – blow it off.

If you are accustomed to cooking Indian food – you might notice I tend to use far larger amounts of the spices than your average recipes.  The measurements are very forgiving, though, so don’t worry if you want to use more – or less – than what I suggest.

I used a vegan goat cheese that I bought at a Soledad Santuary stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  If you live in Hollywood or can make it to that market – look for them.  They recently turned vegan & are experimenting making many kinds of vegan cheese.  (If you get there – BTW – look for Dave’s Korean stand, too.  Their tempah is INSANE!)  You can use any soft vegan cheese (cream cheese or yogurt or goat cheese – if you can find some).  If you are not vegan – a Boursin or garlic/chive cream cheese would work.  You just need some sort of “dairy” to mellow out the overall flavor.

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Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

Serves 4-6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh spinach (You can use canned or frozen but the flavor will not be the same & you won’t get the vibrant green color.  Google Aloo Palak & see how ugly it can look.  LOL)

3 large red potatoes – cubed

1 large onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (to taste) – chopped (remove seeds to lessen the heat)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced (I used jarred)

1 TBS garlic – minced (I used jarred)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 3 but I like heat)

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp dry fenugreek (or celery seeds) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 cup vegan soft cheese

Salt

Olive oil

Garnish – cooked rice and/or naan

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DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of water & blanch the spinach by immersing it for 30 seconds to a minute – so it wilts.  Plunge into cold water & drain.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & pan fry the potatoes until they begin to brown – turning often.  This might cook them through – depending on how large your cubes are.  If it doesn’t do not worry.  They can cook more in the spinach.  Set aside.

In that same pan – heat another TBS olive oil & add the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sputter, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, & spices.  Cook until the onion is soft.

In a food processor – blend the onion mix.  Then – add the drained spinach & puree.  Return this to the pan.  Stir in the cheese & add the potatoes.  Heat through & be sure your potatoes are soft.  You may have to add between 1-2 cups of water to thin it out.  If it is too thick add more water.  Too thin?  Cook it down.

Serve with rice or naan – or eat it naked!  I mean – the spinach & potatoes could be naked – as the potato adds a starch to the dish, already.  But – if you wanna be naked yourself – I don’t see a problem with that.  Your roommate or children might feel awkward but fuck’m.  You just made motherfuckin’ Aloo Palak.   What the fuck have they achieved lately?  Probably not appreciate you enough, that’s what.

See my point?  Might as well swill some wine, too.  Haters gonna hate.  No reason for you to give any fucks at all.  Eat, drink & be proud you just made a yummy vegan meal!

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Saag Aloo or Kale, Spinach & Pan-Roasted Potato Curry (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Indian food is generally pretty easy to throw together – providing you have access to lots of hard-to-find spices & really love chopping things.  The only hard-to-find spice I included here is garam masala but it can be made easily from spices you likely have around.

Garam Masala

2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Blend & store in an airtight container.

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I used a bit of dairy in this.  I wanted to add heavy cream or half & half but I had neither.  Instead, I added a mix of milk & Mexican crema.  You can use any of these – or their vegan counterparts.  I used ghee – which is butter with the fat removed so it can be used over high heat without burning.  If you cannot find it – you can make it – Ghee (clarified butter) – or just use olive oil.

You can use frozen spinach or blow off roasting the potatoes.  Indian food is very flavorful & pretty forgiving.

You can use fresh or jarred ginger.  I used this frozen version I found at the market.

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Saag Aloo or Kale, Spinach & Pan-Roasted Potato Curry (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 4 very heartily

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch kale – veins removed & coarsely chopped

3 packed cups fresh spinach (or two (10 oz) boxes frozen)

1 onion – chopped

6 small potatoes – boiled until tender

1 tsp cumin seeds (not ground)

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used 4 frozen cubes)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS turmeric

1 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garam masala (recipe above – if you cannot find garam masala at your market)

1 cup tomato sauce

Ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil

3/4 cup of dairy (or vegan alternative) – like heavy cream or half & half or (as I did) a blend of milk & Mexican crema

S&P to taste

1 extra cup fresh spinach (optional)

(Serve with steamed rice or naan)

Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or diced red pepper (for color)

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DIRECTIONS

Boil the potatoes until they fall off your fork when pierced.  Drain & rinse in cold water.  DRY THEM OFF & cube them.  If they are not dry – you will likely get splattered with hot oil.

Heat 1-2 TBS of the ghee or olive oil over med-high heat.  Toss the potatoes & cook until they are browned a bit.  Set aside.

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In the same pan, add more ghee or oil if you need to & saute the onions until they are soft.  Push them to the side of the pan & raise the heat to high.  Add the cumin seeds & cook until they begin to sizzle.  Blend the onions back in & add the garlic & ginger.  Saute one minute & then add the turmeric, coriander, chili powder, garam masala, crushed red pepper & tomato sauce.  Stir to combine.  I added two cups of water here.   I like a lot of sauce in my Indian dishes.  Cut the water for a drier result.  Add the greens.  When they are wilted and heated through, add the dairy (or non-dairy) you chose.  Heat it all through.  Just before serving, I added another cup of fresh spinach – just to add some brighter green.  Season with S&P. Once that is stirred in there good – serve this up over rice or with naan – or both – topped with some chopped cilantro and diced red pepper!

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