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Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is an Indian spinach and cheese curry. For my version, I marinate tofu to make a vegan paneer before adding it to the rich spinach curry.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 3 serving


for tofu

  • 400 grams firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons salt

for curry

  • 250 grams spinach
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 grams garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 12 grams ginger ( 1/4-inch piece )
  • 170 grams onion (finely chopped 1 small )
  • 140 grams tomato (chopped ~1 small )
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • cup coconut cream (see note below)


  • Combine the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt in a freezer bag and then add the block of tofu. Press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Let this marinate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Drain the tofu, and pat dry with paper towels. Slice into bite-size cubes
  • Boil a large pot of water and blanch the spinach just long enough for the spinach to wilt. Alternatively you can put the washed spinach(with a little water still on the leaves) in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and and microwave until the leaves wilt. Immediately plunge the blanched spinach in cold water to stop the cooking.
  • Drain the spinach but do not squeeze it. Put it in a blender or food processor to puree adding a little water if necessary.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat until shimmering and then add the cumin seeds and bay leaf.
  • When the cumin starts popping, add the garlic and ginger and onions, sauteing until lightly browned and fragrant.
  • Add the tomato, turmeric and salt and then saute until most of the liquid has evaporated from the tomatoes and the mixture is thick and chunky.
  • Add the spinach puree and tofu and simmer over medium-low heat until mixture is creamy and fragrant (about 15 minutes). If the spinach is not thin enough to make a sauce, add some water.
  • Adjust salt to taste and finish the palak paneer by adding the garam masala, cayenne pepper and coconut milk.


Coconut cream is the thick white stuff that floats to the top of a can of coconut milk when it's left undisturbed. You can either scoop it off from a can of coconut milk or just buy a can/carton of coconut cream.