My favorite Indian dish is palak paneer. The creamy spinach and salty, firm cheese cubes…mmm! This recipe is sorta like saag paneer (apparently the difference between saag and palak is that palak is always spinach, but saag can be any kind of green). But I almost don’t want to tell you that because I don’t want you to think it’s the totally the same if you’re as obsessed with palak/saag paneer as I am. It’s like if saag paneer went a wee bit healthy.
I’ve tried making Indian dishes before that didn’t exactly turn out – this is always delicious and I always want to eat a ton. It’s a staple on our meal rotation. It’s pretty darn healthy and a great way to get in some protein and dark leafy greens! You can use either tofu or chickpeas – both are delicious with this. Tofu is a little more like paneer, but the chickpeas add a bit of creaminess. I’ve used kale or spinach with it – even frozen spinach, which makes it a great year-round dish. It’s pretty easy, too – the ingredients list is long, but mostly spices. Don’t be scared. You can do it.
Curried Greens & Chickpeas or Tofu
from Appetite for Reduction (I swear. 99% of the recipes I post I find from Isa Chandra. Just go buy all of her cookbooks!)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger (I didn’t have any, so I left it out)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or 1 large tomato, diced)
1 lb greens minced* (I used kale with a bit of spinach)
14 oz cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or
16 oz tofu, cubed and pan-fried*
Preheat a 4 qt pot over medium heat. Pour 1 tsp of the oil into the pot and use a spatula to coat the bottom. Add the coriander seeds. Cover the pot and let the seeds pop for about a minute, or until the popping slows down, mixing once. If the seeds don’t pop, turn up the heat a bit until they do. Add the other tsp of oil and saute the onion 4 to 7 minutes, until translucent. Use a little nonstick cooking spray if needed. Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes, and saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes and mix to deglaze the pot. Let cook for about 3 minutes, then add the curry, cumin, coriander, garam masala and salt and mix well.
*Mincing the kale involved putting it all in a big bowl and grabbing a pair of kitchen scissors and chopping like crazy! You might have a better way, but this was fun.
*If you’re using tofu – cube it and cook it for 10 minutes in a skillet that’s been sprayed with olive oil, adding a few splashes of soy sauce halfway through cooking. Be sure to turn it a lot so it gets nice and crispy.
Add the chickpeas or tofu and spinach, mixing well. Cover the pot, let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has thawed and heated through. Simmer and cook covered for 10 or 15 minutes, to allow everything to heat through and meld together.
Taste for salt and serve.
Number of Servings: 6