Saag with Tofu
Saag, a stewed Indian dish made with greens, usually contains paneer cheese but works just as well with crispy cubes of tofu. Onion, garlic, and ginger are sautéed with garam masala and cumin, then frozen chopped spinach (thawed of course) and cream are stirred in. (We found that we liked the finer texture of the frozen spinach better than fresh, which was a little slimy after cooking.) A touch of yogurt mixed in at the end adds tang to this creamy, comforting dish. To make it vegan, simply replace the regular cream with coconut cream, and the yogurt with coconut yogurt or oat yogurt (or another non-dairy yogurt of your choice).
Game plan: You’ll need to make the steamed rice before you begin, if using.
See why you should always press tofu, and get more tofu tips and tricks from vegetarian chefs.
- 14 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into large dice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger (from about a 1-inch piece)
- 1 serrano chile, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (see recipe intro)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Steamed rice or naan, for serving
1Place the tofu in a single layer on a large paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
2Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook (be careful—the oil may splatter), turning occasionally, until it’s golden brown on a few sides, about 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, dry the plate and line it with fresh paper towels.
3Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu to the paper-towel-lined plate. Spread it into a single layer and season with salt; set aside.
4Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the pan, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, serrano, garam masala, measured salt, coriander, and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spices are fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
5Add the spinach and stir constantly until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and water, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
6Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste and season with salt as needed. Add the reserved tofu and let sit until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with steamed rice or naan.
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