As I battle back and forth with my dairy issues, I’ve been craving Indian food. Usually a guaranteed party favor after eating anything with cream in it, I’ve avoided indian cuisine for the most part. There are, however, a bunch of places in Boulder that will substitute coconut milk in their curries which makes me a very happy panda. Saag Paneer is one of my all time fav things so I’ve recreated it subbing out the cream and the cheese. It’s pretty damn good and definitely satisfies the craving.
This version of Saag is definitely the stick to your ribs kind. It’s filling and you could probably use it to glue something together. I like it that way – if you want it ‘looser’, add more liquid and less cashew cream! You could also throw everything into the blender at the end and give it another puree. YOUR WORLD, these are just guidelines.
- A big pot. I use my dutch oven – you need something with a lid.
- A sauté pan
- A food processor or intensely fine chopping skills
- A blender
- A spatula
- 1 package of tofu – I use a GMO free, firm tofu
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
- 1-2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 knob of ginger, really finely diced or grated with a microplane
- 3-6 gloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 jalepeno, thai chili or fresno chili, roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, medium dice
- About 10 oz of fresh spinach. I buy one of the big tubs and use 3/4 of it or so
- 2-3 tablespoons cooking fat of your choice, I like to stick with coconut
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- Cilantro, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil some water. Put your cashews in a cereal bowl and cover with the boiling water.
- Squeeze the water out of your tofu. Some people put a goddamn weight on top of it and let it rest for 20 minutes. I don’t do that. I squeeze it like a sponge and get on with my life. Get as much water out of it as you can, gently, then cut it into cubes.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in your sauté pan over medium high. Add the tofu to the pan and fry on medium until all sides (or at least 3-4 sides) are golden and delicious. This takes about 15 minutes in total so just keep an eye on it while you do the rest of your business. When it’s done, take it off the heat and set aside.
- MEANWHILE…melt some coconut oil in your pan/pot on medium high heat and add cumin seeds once the oil heats up. Let those pop and fry for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add onion to pan and sauté until they begin to caramelize an soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, fresh chili and ginger for the last minute.
- Set up your food processor and put a few handfuls of spinach in there. Then put a bit of the onion/cumin/garlic/ginger mixture on top, then another layer of spinach. You’re going to pulse all of this together in batches. It usually takes me about 2-3 batches before all of it is combined together. Don’t pulverize your spinach…or do….this is your world! The more you process the spinach, the more it will break down. I like mine right in the middle.
- Add the spinach/onion/garlic/ginger magic back to your pot with some more coconut oil and 1 cup of veggie or chicken stock.
- Add remaining spices and stir to combine everything together. Add coconut milk and cover, letting everything simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat.
- While everything is simmering in your pot, add the cashews to your blender with *most* of the liquid they were soaking in. Blend the crap out of it, adding more water when necessary. You’re looking for a smooth consistency, kind of like yogurt or sour cream.
- When your cashew cream is all ready, add it to the pot and stir it in. Now you can start adjusting your seasoning! Use full mineral salt and get after it. Throw in your lemon juice and add anything else that might be missing. I often use a bit more garam masala or chili flakes.
- When you’ve got it how you want it, add the tofu. Stir everything together one last time, cover and let simmer for 5-10 minutes more on low heat.
- Serve with basmati rice and garnish with cilantro!
I don’t have any pictures of this dish because they all kinda look like baby diapers. I’ll see if I can snap one the next time I make this and share it here :D
OKAY I found a picture…and it still looks like a baby diaper. BUT IT TASTES SO GOOD!