Food Contributors

Vegan Palak Tofu Recipe By Pink Chai


If you follow Justin on Instagram, you likely know that he has been on a health kick lately! His healthy kick has me feeling motivated to get back on a plant-based diet and consume healthy foods. And today, I am SO excited to introduce you to a brand new contributor, Raj from Pink Chai, who will be sharing a healthy vegan recipe.

For those of you who may be wondering who Raj is, she is passionate about all things social media marketing and graphic design which lead her to pursue Pink Chai in 2010. On her blog, she shares her favourite recipes, lifestyle inspiration, cultural content, fashion & beauty tips, decor ideas, book recommendations, and motherhood moments. I’m SO excited to have Raj take over the blog today to share her drool-worthy Vegan Palak Tofu recipe!

So let’s give her a warm welcome and I’ll let her take it from here!

Easy Vegan Indian Dish Step-by-Step

Hi Everyone, Raj here! Contributing to Jill’s blog is kind of a pinch-me moment for me, I still can’t believe it. I’ve been a fan of hers forever, and I don’t even think Team Jilly knows this, I met her at an event in 2010, and was too nervous to ask for a picture! 

About Me

A little bit about me. I’m a Surrey girl (don’t laugh, I love my city!), and have lived here pretty much my whole life. My two favourite things in the world are hopping on an airplane to visit a new destination, or cooking in my kitchen. For the last few years I’ve been documenting my efforts at both preserving traditional Punjabi recipes and finding ways to modernize them for busy home cooks through my blog. Comfort food is my love language, and I’m all about Mac & Cheese, layered casseroles, and creamy gravy based curries.

Through my blog and Instagram I also share motherhood moments, crafts & DIYs, cultural content, and my journey as an entrepreneur. Balance is always eluding me. If I’m killing it at work, my house is probably a mess, and vice versa. Kind of like all the moms here right?

Vegan Palak “Paneer” Made with  Tofu

I thought it would be appropriate for me to share a comfort food that I love, but have recently started to “veganize” for my first time contributing to Jill’s blog! Palak paneer is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes, it’s a sort of spiced spinach sauce with chunks of paneer cheese. When I make it for a special occasion, or during the holidays I usually hit with a healthy dose of cream. However, the older I get, the less forgiving my waistline is, and I’m also becoming more aware of the foods I’m eating and their nutritional value. So, over the last few years, I’ve worked out a way to create the same creamy texture with a little help from cashews instead of cream. I love that this gives an already nutritionally dense spinach sauce a hit of fiber and healthy fats. Swapping out the paneer with tofu, makes this dish vegan and also a powerhouse of nutrients. Flavourful and healthy? I’m down for that.

When you read the recipe, you might be surprised to see that it doesn’t call for tadka – the classic Indian tempering of a dish with spices and onion. Trust me when I tell you, this dish doesn’t need it, and you won’t miss it. By boiling the onion and garlic we achieve the same deep flavour without the extra step of tempering. This also provides an absolutely smooth texture which is very kid-friendly. 

A few other tips. Get the cashews into boiling water early. The longer they soak, the creamier the result. Sometimes, I’ll put them in water in the morning if I’m cooking this dish in the evening. Don’t skip soaking the tofu or boiling the onions, these are necessary steps for the right flavour and texture. 

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Vegan Palak Tofu Dinner Recipe

Vegan Palak Tofu Recipe By Pink Chai

Recipe by From the Kitchen of Jillian Harris

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of mature spinach, washed well and hard stems removed. (You can also substitute with 2 cups of pureed spinach in a pinch).

  • 1 block extra firm tofu

  • 1/2 cup of cashews soaked in boiling water for an hour (Use ¼ cup of cashew cream instead if you have it on hand).

  • 1 large white onion chopped in quarters

  • 4 garlic cloves peeled

  • 2 inch piece of ginger chopped roughly

  • 1 serrano chilli – optional (Remove the seeds if you don’t want too much heat).

  • 2 roma tomatoes roughly chopped

  • 2 tsp coriander powder

  • ½ tsp red chilli powder – optional

  • 1 tsp salt – or to taste

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tbs salt for tofu water

Directions

  • Soak the cashews in boiling water
  • Place onion and garlic in a pan with cold water, bring up to a simmer, drop to medium and boil for 10-15 minutes. (Pro-tip: save the water you boil the aromatics in to cook rice!)
  • Chop the tofu into cubes or triangles. I usually choose triangles for an authentic feel. Place the pieces in a bowl and cover with hot water. Not boiling, but the hottest water from your tap. Add 1 tbsp salt and stir. Let the tofu soak for 5 minutes, and then remove onto a plate.
  • Blanch the spinach. Start by preparing an ice bath. Which is basically a large bowl with ice and cold water to dunk your spinach int0 after cooking. (This prevents the spinach from browning and preserves it’s beautiful green colour.) Drop the spinach leaves in a pot with boiling water, and blanch for 90 seconds. Quickly remove the spinach and drop it directly into the ice bath. Drain it into a colander after 30 seconds or so.
  • Blend the spinach gravy. Add the drained spinach, boiled onion and garlic, tomatoes, ginger, green chili (optional), drained cashews, salt, coriander, and red chilli powder (optional), to your blender jar. Puree until smooth.
  • Add the spinach puree to a pan, and cook for 2 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the garam masala and stir.
  • Add in the tofu and stir gently to combine. Cook for another 90 seconds just to warm the tofu through. Serve over rice or with naan.
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Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoy my Vegan Palak Tofu recipe and if you give it a try, make sure to tag me @pinkchai and @jillian.harris on Instagram as we would love to see your dish!

Raj – Pink Chai


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  1. This looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to make this – if you can’t have tomatoes would you suggest subbing something in or just omit them?

    Thanks!

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