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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Palak Soup (with Tofu) : Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! This day means lot to me and to the billion lives on earth. I wanted to celebrate this occasion with a healthy green soup. Palak/Spinach and tofu are the main ingredients for this preparation. When we think of spinach most of us remember 'Popoye' show. As a child it was so fascinating to see how popoye grows stronger by having a can of spinach. It inspired me as a kid to eat spinach. On the practical terms how one could grow stronger just like that, what is the secret behind this leafy green. It is just because of the fact that it is highly nutritive and packed with many vitamins (A to K), beta carotene, minerals like calcium and iron. I would call it as a treasure that we are gifted with. Few benefits of spinach : Builds our bones, fights cancer, improves our eyesight, helps in in preventing osteoporosis, heart diseases, DNA damage and so on. Tofu is rich in proteins, minerals, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. It is low in calories, contains zero cholesterol and helps to prevent heart diseases. Oops, is it too much information, lets go back to the kitchen and start preparing this soup. I served it to my hubby, he was so surprised and asked me how it smells like a real soup. I think, he didn't expect this out of me :-)) He loved it and gave a green signal for this recipe. I hope you relish it as we did. Ingredients Serves 2
  • Palak paste (thick) - 1/2 cup or 1/4 part of the palak bunch
  • Tofu (firm style) - 25 gm
  • Water - 1 1/2 cup to 2 cup
  • Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper - 2 tsp / to taste
  • Corn flour - 2 tsp
  • Butter - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Milk - 2 tbsp [optional] or Cream - 2 tbsp [optional]
To grind:
  • Shallots - 10
  • Tomato small - 1/2
  • Fennel Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Cleaning palak is easier compared to other leafy greens. Remove the stem and wash the palak thoroughly in water. Soak the palak in a large vessel and allow the soil to settle at the bottom. Then remove the leaves and wash it again with warm water. Repeat it twice or thrice.
  • In a sauce pan, add 5 tbsp of water and bring it to boil. Add the palak and let it cook for couple of minutes until it shrinks in size. Ensure that you don't cover it with lid which could decolorize the palak.
  • Allow it to cool and grind it to thick paste.
  • On a medium flame heat the sauce pan with 1 tsp of oil.
  • Cut the tofu in to tiny cubes and fry it for a minute. Keep it aside. Firm style tofu is tender soft and frying makes it little firm.
  • Meanwhile grind the fennel seeds for few seconds and then add shallots and tomatoes and grind it to a paste. [You can use the regular onions instead of shallots]. Here fennel seed is my secret ingredient :-))
  • In the same pan, heat 2 tsp of oil, add cumin seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell disappears.
  • Now add the shallot, tomato paste and saute.
  • Add salt, cumin powder and chili powder and fry it for a minute. Add few spoons of water it the paste sticks to the pan.
  • Add the palak paste and mix it well. Add water according to the consistency that you would like. I added 2 cup of water as I prefer soup on thinner side.
  • Add pepper, corn flour and stir it well.
  • Bring it to boil and add tofu. You can add milk/cream at this stage. I have not added them in my preparation. Leave it for 3 minutes.
  • Add butter and remove it from flame.
  • Serve hot.

Tips: You can replace tofu with chicken or any vegie or meat as per your choice. I recommend chicken. It needs to be cooked well and cut in to tiny cubes.