Vegan Spinach Paneer
Traditional Spinach Paneer usually uses ghee (clarified butter), heavy cream, and a fresh cheese called Paneer. Here's how the traditional version is made:
How to Make Traditional Spinach Paneer
My vegan version substitutes tofu for the cheese and doesn't use any ghee or other oil in cooking. I substitute 1/4 cup of raw cashews blended with unsweetened soy milk for the heavy cream.
pinch of Hing (optional)
1 TBSP fragrant curry powder (I like Maharajah Curry Powder from Penzeys)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 TBSP chili powder (salt free)
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, to taste; or, you could use whole dried small red chili peppers to taste)
1 tsp fresh ginger puree or minced fresh ginger
2 cups tomato puree
12 oz raw baby spinach, steamed, cooled, excess water squeezed out, and chopped (you could substitute frozen spinach if you like it)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup raw cashews (or substitute cashew butter if you don't have a high speed blender)
6 oz medium firm tofu, cubed (use whatever firmness of tofu you like. I wanted a semi soft tofu to sort of mimics cheese texture)
olive oil spray
1. Steam and prepare spinach.
2. Spray a saucepan lightly with olive oil spray and heat to medium. Add spices, chillies, and ginger. Sauté a minute or two until lightly toasted. Add 4 TBSP tomato puree and cook for another minute with the spices. Add the rest of the tomato puree. Reduce heat to medium low and cook puree down to half its original volume, covered.
3. Add chopped cooked spinach to tomato puree. Cover and cook a few minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by blending the soy milk with the cashews.
5. Add the cashew soy milk sauce and the cubed tofu to the puree with spinach. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes until the tofu heats through.
You can play with the spices for this recipe to your taste.
I served it as part of an Indian dinner with Cauliflower and Green Pea curry and some homemade Oothapams.