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Penny Pinching Epicure: Vegan Palak Paneer

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vegan Palak Paneer

I love palak paneer, but sadly have gone almost entirely dairy free so I can no longer eat paneer (homemade Indian cheese). I had the idea a while back to figure out a dairy free version; it took a couple of tries to get the seasoning and texture right, but I was very happy with the results :)

In order to replicate the consistency of the paneer, I cubed extra-firm tofu; definitely not the same flavor, but roughly a similar texture. I also found that frozen spinach worked better than fresh in order to get the texture I'm used to.


Vegan Palak Paneer

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp light olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, cracked & peeled
1 block of extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz. frozen spinach
4 Tbsp vegetable stock or water

Directions:
  1. Heat oil in large saute pan and saute onions and garlic slowly over low heat until onions are soft and caramelized, 10-12 minutes (it takes a while, but the flavor is worth it).
  2. While onions are cooking, press tofu to remove extra water, then cut into small cubes.
  3. Add tofu and spices to pan, stirring to coat (gently so as not to break the tofu).
  4. Add spinach and stock/water and bring to a boil. Simmer 30-40 minutes over low flame, stirring occasionally.
The cost:
onion: .45
garlic: .05
tofu: 1.99
spices: <1.00
spinach: 1.99

Grand total: $7.47; serves 4-6 over white or brown basmati rice

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