Disclaimer: I apologize in advance if this post is in any way disjointed, rambly, difficult to follow, grammatically unsound, or generally bizarre. I had to wake up a bit after 4:00 this morning to bring my friend to the airport for 5:00, and although I got back to my apartment a little after 5:30 and promptly went back to sleep, I am rather drained at the moment. Disclaimer over.
Despite being tired, I didn’t slack off for dinner. While I was at work, a strange hankering to make veganized palak paneer crept into my head and wouldn’t leave. Not one to deny strange hankerings, I promptly set to making palak tofu when after work. I used a mish-mash of recipes, mostly Susan’s Palak Tofu and the Vegan Palak Paneer from the copy of 101 Things To Do With Tofu I won from a Vegan Crunk giveaway. For the tofu paneer, I followed Susan’s pan frying technique, resulting in a panful of adorable golden tofu cubes:
I also added tomatoes per Susan’s recipe, even though I’m not sure that a more traditional palak paneer recipe would include them. Then again, a more traditional palak paneer recipe would contain, y’know, paneer, so I wasn’t exactly going for authenticity, I guess! I also used lots and lots of baby spinach. If only spinach retained its bright green color even after being cooked!
The final result, like so many pureed Indian foods, was something akin to what you might find in an infant’s diaper. Nevertheless, I served the saucy palak over rice and topped it with my cute lil tofu cubes and went to town:
Lookwise, it’s similar to traditional palak paneer, but tastewise? Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and it was worth the [admittedly minimal] effort, but it just didn’t quite live up to the creamy, salty, flavorful palak paneers of my youth… by which I mean the palak paneer I used to eat at the one Indian restaurant in my little college town. The entire dish was missing a certain je ne sais quoi. Actually that’s a lie; I do sais quoi is missing – the tofu paneer was more tofu than paneer – it was slightly crispy and not flavorful. Although I love gently pan-fried tofu, I think next time I’ll follow the boiling method in 101 Things To Do With Tofu, because I’d imagine that would create a more paneer-like tofu.
Beyond the rather distasteful task of cleaning a baby poo analogue from my blender and the fact that my spotty circulation + a really cold onion resulted in numb, creepily white fingers while I was chopping up my veggies, creating this dish this was pretty easy, and the result was a generally satisfying meal. Therefore, I’m calling it a success. Huzzah! Still, I’m on the hunt for a more authentic version. Anybody have a good palak tofu recipe?
Man, I can’t believe MoFo ends tomorrow. Insanity! Stop by tomorrow for an end-of-MoFo giveaway featuring crafts and cookbooks by some MoFo stars. You know you wanna!
4 thoughts on “I Can Haz Palak Tofu?”
I have so been here and done this! You’re dead right in your intuition that you shouldn’t fry the tofu, awesome as fried tofu is. You should also use the softest tofu you can get for this dish, even if it breaks up a bit, and add generous quantities of Earth Balance to the spinach, and if you do all that, tofu as a substance is just so superior to paneer (well, okay, my own disclaimer: the only paneer I’ve ever tried was my homemade in pre-vegan days, but still). It’s a super-yummy dish (though admittedly hard to make beautiful; you’ve got a nice colour to yours) but one of those where you have to up the fat content to stratospheric heights in order to get a perfect result. You know it’s just right when it’s all shiny and swimming in oil!
Shiny and swimming in oil – noted! Ha. I reallllly enjoyed dairy-based paneer when I used to eat it, so that’s probably why I’m extra dubious about tofu paneer. But I’ll definitely give it another shot and take your wise advice!
Holy coincidence, I made my first mattar tofu last night. (Peas rather than spinach.) Wish I’d seen these frying tips first, because the tofu stuck to the wok. Wasn’t bad overall, though.
Mattar tofu sounds fantastic. I’m still working on coming up with the perfect method of cooking tofu for this sort of meal, though…