Saag Paneer has always been one of my favorite Indian dishes. It’s super savory, has that slight hint of both sweet and rich components going on from a touch of cream, and has a smoothness that feels divine on top of Naan, or even rice.
It’s also incredibly easy to create at home, which isn’t always the case when it comes to Indian food.
Technically, this dish would require whipping up your own mild, fresh cheese, known as the paneer, which in itself isn’t actually all that complicated. However, this version of Saag Paneer swaps the cheese for tofu, making it even more convenient and quick to whip up. Perhaps I should rename it to Saag Tofu, but I think the Tatsoi in the title is enough of a curveball in itself.
What’s tatsoi, and what’s it doing in this recipe? Typically, at least in the states, Saag Paneer is made with spinach. You could certainly use that in my version too, and I’ve included instructions to do so. However, I chose to use tatsoi instead, because, well, I have a garden full of it. If you’re wondering what to do with your own tatsoi, I would highly recommend you put it to use in this.
Like spinach, tatsoi is a tender green, although with just slightly more of a bite…especially when you let it reach its flowering point in the garden. (Pick it before this if you can.)
In comparison to most other greens though, the flavor is subtle, and the texture is creamy. This makes it so adaptable for this dish, where the dominance of flavors should remain in its collection of spices.
If you’re not familiar with tatsoi, try it out if you can and get your adventure thriving in the kitchen. It grows abundantly during the spring months, and can also be found for pretty cheap in most Asian markets. Again though, spinach is a guaranteed go-to, and will also work wonders here, so have no fear if tatsoi can’t be found.
Serve the Saag alongside basmati rice, preferably of the fiber-rich, brown variety, and a warm piece of naan. This dish will also goes well with a wide range of other Indian dishes, from curries to masalas, and more. So if you feel inspired, make a feast.
If tatsoi is not available, you could definitely swap it for spinach. Just add another large handful, since spinach cooks down further, and reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes.
- -2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- -1/2 pkg. extra firm tofu, pressed between two plates
- -4 cloves garlic, minced
- -1/2 serrano pepper, minced (start with 1/4 if you're not a spicy fan)
- -1 inches of ginger, minced
- -1 med. onion, diced
- -2 tomatoes, diced
- -2 tsp. coriander
- -1/2 tsp. gara masala
- -1 tsp. cumin
- -1/4 tsp. turmeric
- -Cinnamon, pinch
- -Scant 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
- -Salt, to taste
- -1/2 cup of water
- -20 oz. tatsoi (a little over 1 pound), finely chopped
- -3-4 oz. heavy cream
- -Raita or yogurt on top
- In a medium nonstick pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add tofu, and cook until outer edges are browned and crispy, stirring several times with a spatula. Set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, pepper, ginger, onion, and season with salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Stir in spices and tomatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes until spices become fragrant.
- Add water and tatsoi. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until tatsoi is tender. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth. Return to the pan. Add tofu. Adjust salt to taste, if needed. Serve over rice, and add a spoonful of yogurt or raita on top.
Serve over basmati rice, preferably brown basmati. You may wish to also add a side of garlic naan.