Recipe: Palak Paneer with Jeera Rice Veganised
I have often heard vegetarians say that they would miss paneer if they shifted to a vegan diet. Before I went vegan I enjoyed dishes like chilli paneer, but it was more about the flavour, rather than, the paneer itself.
Recently, a few of us went away for the weekend. We hired a self-catering venue so that we could enjoy cooking and eating together. One of the dishes we made was similar to this. I thought it was yummy, but what really stuck in my mind; was one of our friends who didn't believe that it was vegan. She insisted that someone must have brought it with them or that we had made it with paneer! She had to hear it four times from two different people before she accepted it. She thought it was delicious!
With that in mind, I made it again to get the recipe right for 2 people, rather than, the 16 we made it for when we went away. Here it is...
This recipe serves 2.
Ingredients for jeera rice
• 9 tablespoons of brown rice
• 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
• 3.5 times the amount of water - see below for details
How to make jeera rice
1. Find a container or bowl of some sort, in which you can wash the rice, wash it and place it in a pan
2. Add 3.5 times the amount of water (9 tablespoons multiplied by 3.5) to the pan
3. Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, keeping the lid on the pan, in such a way that a part of the pan is not covered
4. Add the cumin and turn the heat down to a low setting
5. Put the lid on the pan and let the rice cook while you make the "Palak Paneer"
6. After 20 minutes, keeping the lid on the pan, tilt it, to see if there's any excess water - if there is, cook for another 5 minutes, otherwise turn it off
Ingredients for vegan palak paneer
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
• 2 sweet neem leaves
• 1 pinch of asafetida
• 1 chilli – change this depending on your love for spice
• 2 fresh tomatoes - diced
• 150g of young/baby spinach leaves –blend, chop or leave it whole (I left it whole)
• 400g of tofu – chopped into bite-size cubes
• salt to taste
• 1 teaspoon of dried coriander powder
• 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 1 handful of freshly chopped coriander
How to make vegan palak paneer
1. Put the slab of tofu on a plate, add a plate on top of it and place a bowl of water on top of that and set aside - or do something similar which will add weight to the tofu so that the water drains from it
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds
3. When the silence between the sounds of the seeds popping reduces, add the sweet neem leaves and asafetida
4. After 30 seconds add the chilli
5. After 10 - 15 seconds add the tomatoes
6. Let it cook for 2 minutes and then add the spinach
7. Add the dried coriander powder, turmeric and salt and stir
8. After 3 minutes add the lemon juice
9. While this cooks, add a few drops of oil to a frying pan and swirl it around to coat the pan
10. Put the tofu in the pan and let it cook whilst frequently turning the pieces, so that they become golden brown
11. Meanwhile, stir the contents of the other pan and taste it to check if you would like to add anything, if not, when the tofu is mostly golden brown, add the it to the spinach and mix it in gently and garnish with coriander and turn the heat off
12. Put the rice in a little bowl and turn it upside down to create a mound of rice and serve the mock paneer beside it
Serve with a wrap or Rotli (also known as Chapati) instead of rice.