Palak paneer (spinach cottage cheese) has to be one of the most popular North Indian dishes around. Like most yummy dishes from Punjab, it is traditionally made with heavy cream. This gives it added thickness and creaminess.
We have been making a vegan version by using tofu instead of paneer. Instead of heavy cream we had used ground cashews. I had the idea of using avocado in place of heavy cream instead and it turned out great! Added creaminess and an alternative fat.
A key to many North Indian dishes is using a onion, garlic, ginger masala mix which I always have some made ahead of time and keep frozen. I’ve outlined the recipe for the masala mix but will soon add the recipe for a larger batch. It makes cooking many dishes so much easier when it is ready ahead of time
[lt_recipe name=”Onion, Garlic, Ginger Masala Mix” summary=”Make ahead masala mix that is used in many North Indian, particularly Punjabi Indian dishes” print=”yes” ingredients=”1 large onion;5 cloves garlic;1 inch ginger;1 tbsp oil;1/2 tsp jeera;1/4 tsp hing (asafetida);1 tsp salt;1 tbsp cumin/coriander powder (dhana jeera powder mix or 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1/2 tbsp cumin powder);1 tsp cumin powder;1 tbsp garam masala ” ]1. Puree onion, garlic and ginger.;2. Heat oil. Add cumin, let sizzle then add in asafetida.;3. Add puree to oil, mix and sauté for 3 minutes.;4. Mix in salt, coriander/cumin powder and garam masala. ;5.Cook for 2 minutes and turn off stove.[/lt_recipe]
[lt_recipe name=”Tofu Palak (Tofu, Spinach Avocado) Vegan” summary=”Palak paneer remixed with tofu instead of paneer and avocado to add creaminess” total_time=”25M” print=”yes” ingredients=”2 tbsp oil;1 tsp jeera seeds (whole cumin);1/4 tsp hing (asafetida);8 tbsp garlic ginger onion mix;8 tbsp crushed tomatoes;1 1/2 tsp salt;1 tsp cumin/coriander powder (dhana jeera powder mix or 1 tbsp coriander powder and 1/2 tbsp cumin powder);1/4 tsp red chili powder;1/2 tsp jeera powder (cumin powder);3/4 tsp sugar;1 package drained tofu;6 oz avocado;4 tbsp chopped coriander” ]1. Make spinach puree: Blend 12 cups spinach with 1/4 cup water;;2. Prepare tofu: Drain 1 pack of tofu 16 oz. Cut into cubes and keep aside.;;3. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Add jeera seeds, let sizzle then add in asafetida. Add in 8 tbsp crushed tomatoes and 8 tbsp onion garlic mix. Stir then add in salt, dhana jeera, red chili poser, jeera powder and sugar.;;4. Add in tofu, spinach and avocado: First add in tofu and sautee in spices for about 2-3 minutes. Then add in spinach puree, mix and let cook for 3 minutes. Lastly, add in avocado and stir thoroughly. Let it cook for 2-3 more minutes and turn off stove.;;5.Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.[/lt_recipe]