Ultimate Comfort Food

Palak Paneer with Coconut-Roasted Tofu, Chana Masala and Whole Wheat Flatbread

So, I quit my job today.

I just couldn’t anymore. The overwhelming stress and anxiety of the workload–the pressure, the deadlines…I felt like I couldn’t breathe. So, I let it go. Packed up all the equipment, the screens, the keyboard and headphones–and don’t forget the mouse. Turned it all in. Just like that.

And I’m still here.

I’ve got plans and ideas, of course.

But, I’m giving myself the rest of the week to recover.

I was introduced to the warm and complex flavors of India in my late twenties, at a small Jacksonville cafe with my older brother. We were visiting Nana in the hospital. The year she passed. Maybe this is the connection with comfort.

On Saturday I marinated pressed tofu overnight in coconut milk, vinegar and salt, then roasted it the next day while toasting the spices for the spinach puree. Chana Masala is super-easy to whip up any night of the week and flatbreads are quick as a batch of pancakes.

As always, fresh-cooked Indian stews and curries taste better the next day. This is a recipe I shared with Darbster restaurant as a consultant back in 2017, that’s why it is written in ounces.

PALAK PANEER WITH COCONUT-ROASTED TOFU

 4 Generous Servings

  • 14.5 ounces Coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Coconut vinegar
  • 16 ounces Tofu, extra firm, pressed, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ cup Red onion, chopped
  • .5 ounce Garlic, fresh, finely minced
  • .5 ounce Ginger, fresh, finely minced
  • .5 ounce Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. Curry powder
  • ½ tsp. Garam Masala
  • pinch Cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds
  • ½ each Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 7 ounces Tomatoes, diced
  • 16 ounces Spinach, frozen, chopped, thawed and cooked
  • 2 ounces Cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
1.MARINATE TOFU OVERNIGHT: BLEND COCONUT MILK WITH COCONUT VINEGAR AND SALT AND POUR OVER CUBED TOFU. COVER AND MARINATE OVERNIGHT, REFRIGERATED
2.SET CONVECTION OVEN TO 325 DEGREES : DRAIN AND RESERVE MARINADE. BAKE TOFU ON PARCHMENT COVERED SHEET TRAY FOR 45 MINUTES, TURNING EVERY 15 MINUTES FOR EVEN ROASTING. 
3.PREPARE FLAVORINGS: GRIND ONION, GARLIC AND GINGER TO A PASTE. HEAT COCONUT OIL IN MEDIUM SIZED SAUTE PAN OVER MEDIUM-LOW FLAME AND COOK ONION PASTE FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES, UNTIL SLIGHTLY CARAMELIZED. STIR A FEW TIMES TO PREVENT OVER-BROWNING.
4.ADD SPICES: DECREASE FLAME TO LOW, THEN ADD A FEW DASHES OF SALT, CURRY POWDER, GARAM MASALA, CLOVES, FENNEL SEEDS AND JALAPENO. SAUTE FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS, STIRRING CONSTANTLY.
5.SIMMER: ADD TOMATOES AND SIMMER OVER LOW HEAT UNTIL FLAVORS ARE WELL DEVELOPED.
6.ADD SPINACH: PUREE HALF OF THE THAWED SPINACH WITH 4 OZ WATER AND ADD IT TO TOMATO MIXTURE. ADD REMAINING CHOPPED SPINACH AND STIR TO COMBINE. 
7.ADD RESERVED COCONUT MILK MARINADE: STIR IN ENOUGH OF THE MARINADE TO CREATE A CREAMY, STEW-LIKE CONSISTENCY . CONTINUE TO SIMMER AND STIR ON LOW FLAME UNTIL HEATED THROUGH.
8.TASTE FOR SALT: ADD MORE SALT IF NEEDED, STIRRING THROUGH AND TASTING AGAIN.
9.SERVE.: SERVE WITH 4 OUNCES COCONUT-ROASTED TOFU PER SERVING IN A COMPOSED PRESENTATION OR A CASUAL PRESENTATION, DISTRIBUTED THROUGHOUT SPINACH MIXTURE.

3 Comments

    1. I used rice vinegar when I ran out of coconut vinegar. I find the flavor is more influenced by the vinegar and salt while the coconut milk helps it brown up nicely in the oven 🙂

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