This dip reinterprets one of my favorite entrees from Indian restaurants which, sadly, is often not vegan due to the addition of dairy. The bright green color and heady aroma of my version is a tribute to the glory that is fresh spinach and a mixture of spices that could only be the legacy of the brilliant cooks of India. My riff relies on creamy tofu to make this beautiful and flavorful mixture just the right consistency to perch atop a cracker. It is spicy, but not necessarily hot, so you should feel free to stoke the fire with additional pepper flakes if you choose. I recommend doubling the recipe because 1 cup is scarcely enough of this delicious and nutritious melange!
Indian Saag Dip (Yield: about 1 cup):
- 6 ounces fresh spinach (tough stems removed)
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and halved
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Accompaniments: toast or crackers
- In a food processor finely chop the spinach and transfer to a medium bowl. To the same food processor, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and water, and process to a paste.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the paste begins to turn golden. Reduce the temperature to prevent the mixture from browning. Add the coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved spinach and the salt and pepper to the paste and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up any caramelized bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- In the same food processor, combine the tofu and soy milk and process until creamy smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the tofu mixture to the mixture in the skillet and heat through, stirring constantly and continuing to scrape up any caramelized bits. Add the lemon juice, stir to combine well, and adjust seasoning. Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve hot or warm with desired accompaniments.