Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saag Tofu

Every cuisine has both healthy and indulgent extremes, but it seems especially do well with in terms of both nutrition and flavor with Indian food. This weekend I went all out on the extreme end of the spectrum - butter chicken with cheese naan (yes, I realize cheese naan is not an authentic dish) but on Monday I wanted to atone for the sins of the weekend with an unassailably healthy meal. Brown rice, spinach, and tofu could easy be a bland bowl of punishment, but the plethora of vibrant spices create a vibrant bowl of flavor. Being a Wisconsin girl, I'll be the first to admit that tofu by no means is a substitute for cheese, but if you think of this a wonderful way to prepare tofu instead of a way to replace paneer, you won't be disappointed. The only real area of caution with this recipe is the yogurt addition - if it is added too quickly or over too high heat, the yogurt will curdle and look a lot less appetizing, although it will still taste just as delicious. If you're in need of a little restorative eating after a weekend of excess, this is recipe for you. Each bite takes away a bit of Bacchanalia, leaving your belly full, body revitalized, and mind eased.

Saag Tofu
adapted from Eating Well
serves 4

1 14-ounce package water-packed extra-firm tofu, drained
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
Kosher salt
1 onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pound baby spinach
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
Brown rice or whole wheat naan, for serving (optional)

1. Cut tofu into thirds lengthwise and eighths crosswise. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring gently every 2 to 3 minutes, until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and cook until the onion is translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add spinach in batches small enough to fit in the pan and cook, stirring frequently and adding a pinch of salt with each addition, until all the spinach has been added and has wilted, 4 to 6 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, , curry powder, cumin, cayenne and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the yogurt mixture to the pan, 1 spoonful at a time, stirring thoroughly with each addition. After the yogurt addition is complete, add tofu and cook until warmed through, just a couple of minutes. Serve promptly with rice or naan.

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