Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
Recipe of the Week

Nov. 3, 2011

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Creamy Tofu Palak Paneer with Brown Basmati Rice

Creamy Tofu Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer traditionally features cottage cheese (paneer) and yogurt, but our healthy version uses tofu and nondairy yogurt. The two ingredients together create a pleasant creaminess without the cholesterol and high fat content. Serve it with the Brown Basmati Rice, which we've included here.

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Creamy Tofu Palak Paneer


Makes about 4 servings

For the tofu paneer:
1 16-ounce block firm tofu
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt, to taste

For the palak:
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tomatoes, chopped
salt, to taste
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 bunches fresh spinach, chopped roughly and boiled in about 1/4 cup water until tender, or 1 16-ounce bag frozen spinach (approximately 4 cups steamed)
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt or other plant-based yogurt


To prepare the tofu, place it in a flat colander (or plate) with a weight on top for at least half an hour, or preferably overnight, keeping it in the refrigerator. One can also use a tofu press to prepare it. Ensure all the water is drained and the tofu is suitable to marinate. Cut tofu into cubes or roughly one-inch squares.

While tofu is being pressed, mix together ginger, lemon or lime juice, garam masala, and salt in a bowl adding water to the mixture if it’s too thick.

Put the tofu cubes in the freshly prepared marinade in a baking pan and let it stand about 30 minutes to an hour, turning it a couple of times to make sure all the surfaces absorb the marinade.

Bake tofu for about 20 minutes at 300 F.

While tofu is cooking, heat a large sauté pan and dry roast cumin, coriander, chili powder or crushed red pepper, and turmeric over low heat, otherwise the spices will burn. Add ginger and tomatoes with any liquid from the tomatoes. Cook mixture over medium heat until the juice from the tomatoes is almost evaporated, and the tomatoes are cooked.

Separately, in a large sauté pan add a little salt to the chopped onion and “fry” it in its own juice. Add steamed spinach. Add tomato and spice mixture and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to absorb the water. Then add plant-based yogurt, mixing thoroughly. Add tofu cubes and cook until warmed through.

Nutrition Information | Per serving (1/4 recipe):

calories: 144; fat: 5.9 g; saturated fat: 1.1 g; calories from fat: 34.5%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 14.8 g; carbohydrate: 12.9 g; sugar: 4.8 g; fiber: 5.3 g; sodium: 420 mg: calcium: 466 mg; iron: 8.2 mg; vitamin C: 32 mg; beta-carotene: 8945 mcg; vitamin E: 3.4 mg

Brown Basmati Rice


Makes 3 servings

1 cup dry brown basmati rice
2 cardamom pods
salt, to taste
1 whole clove (optional)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)


Place rice in 2 cups water for 1 to 2 hours. The soaking is not necessary but helps to reduce the time of cooking, and the rice will be nice and fluffy.

In a medium saucepan, roast cardamom pods (and clove and cinnamon, if using) over low heat until an aroma arises. Add soaked rice with soaking water and a bit of salt to the pan. Cook over low heat until rice is tender. Alternately you can cook this in a rice cooker.

Tip: Make sure the rice is cooked according to personal preference before turning down the heat. If reheating is needed, add additional water as necessary.

Nutrition Information | Per serving (1/3 recipe):

calories: 223; fat: 1.1 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 4%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 4.6 g; carbohydrate: 48.5 g; sugar: 0.4 g; fiber: 3.6 g; sodium: 153 mg: calcium: 16 mg; iron: 0.8 mg; vitamin C: 0 mg; beta-carotene: 0 mcg; vitamin E: 0.1 mg

Recipes by Nandita Shah


Please feel free to tailor PCRM recipes to suit your individual dietary needs.



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