Monday, April 30, 2012

Indian Tofu With Spinach

The draft of my second novel is finished!

I finally typed THE END last week.

Still much editing to do, but a major milestone nonetheless.

So now we can get back to the very important business of food. I'm still out in the Virginia countryside for another week and a half. My mother and I have been cooking up a storm.

Most impressive has been my mother's garden, and especially the vast quantities of spinach that it's churning out. She has a serious—and I mean serious—green thumb. There are few foods that I love more than spinach (does that make me strange I wonder?).

This recipe appeared in one of my favorite New York Times columns last week: Recipes for Health. It is written by the fantastic Martha Rose Shulman. It was my mother's idea to cook it. I loved how instead of cheese, Shulman substituted firm tofu. Not only was this recipe quick to make, but it was delicious, loaded with tons of spices, and super healthy, too.

I can't wait to cook it again. I made another Indian dish called Aloo Matar (potatoes and green peas traditionally, but I added cauliflower) to go with this one, and we served everything with brown basmati rice. It was the perfect Meatless Monday feast.

Indian Tofu With Spinach
Adapted from The New York Times
Serves 4 people (or 6 if used as a side dish)
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten-free

  • 3/4 pound firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallot
  • 4 lengthwise slices peeled fresh ginger (2 inches long, 1 inch wide, 1/8 inch thick), coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 whole dried red chilies or 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, stems trimmed at the end, or 12 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • salt to taste

  1. Drain the tofu on paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a wok or a large, heavy lidded skillet and add the tofu. Stir-fry until golden brown and remove from the heat.
  2. Combine the shallot and the ginger in a food processor or mini-chop and blend until finely minced, almost a paste.
  3. Heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat in a wok or skillet and add the whole chilies or chili flakes. Cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds. Add the onion and ginger and stir-fry until it is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, and turmeric, stir for about 10 seconds and add the spinach in batches, adding the next batch after the first batch wilts and stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
  4. Stir in the tofu, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the spinach is uniformly wilted and the tofu is warmed through.
  5. Whisk the arrowroot powder into the yogurt. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the whole chilies if used, and stir in the yogurt. Taste, adjust salt, and serve with rice or other grains.


  1. That dish looks amazing but, more importantly, CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the draft!

    1. Thanks so much! And we are overdue to get together!

      I'm flying back to LA next week...