Vegan Instant Pot: Palak Tofu with Jeera Rice Recipe

Vegan Instant Pot: Palak Tofu with Jeera Rice Recipe - Did you know you can cook a bowl of rice on top of another dish, right in the same pot? This style of pot-in-pot cooking (or bowl-in-pot, as the case may be) is one of my favorite weeknight tricks. Cumin-studded rice steams atop a pot full of hearty spiced tofu. Extra-firm tofu has a texture and mild flavor that’s similar to Indian paneer, so it’s the perfect stand-in for a veganized version.

Serves 4
Vegan Instant Pot: Palak Tofu with Jeera Rice Recipe

Ingredients for Vegan Instant Pot: Palak Tofu with Jeera Rice Recipe:

  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Palak Tofu
  • 1 (14-ounce) block extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil or other oil with a high smoke point
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ cup coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Directions for Vegan Instant Pot: Palak Tofu with Jeera Rice Recipe:

  1. To make the rice: In a 1½-quart stainless-steel bowl, stir together the rice, water, cumin seeds, and salt. Set aside.
  2. To make the palak tofu: Cut the tofu into ½-inch slices. Sandwich the slices in a single layer between double layers of paper towels or a folded kitchen towel and press firmly to wick away as much moisture as possible. Cut the slices into ½-inch cubes.
  3. Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot, add 4 tablespoons of the coconut oil, and melt. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, until it begins to brown.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook without stirring for about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a spatula, turn the cubes over and cook for about 3 minutes more, until browned on the other side. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. When the onion is browned, add the ginger and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add the reserved tofu, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and gently stir to combine, taking care not to break up the tofu. Gently stir in the spinach. Pour the water and the tomatoes and their liquid over the top in an even layer but do not stir.
  6. Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure all of its legs rest firmly on the bottom of the pot. Place the bowl of rice on the rack.
  7. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Cancel button to reset the cooking program. Then select the Manual or Pressure Cook setting and set the cooking time for 10 minutes at low pressure. (The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
  8. When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and, wearing heatproof mitts, remove the bowl of rice and the steam rack. Use a fork to fluff the rice.
  9. Add the coconut milk and garam masala to the pot and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.
  10. Ladle the palak tofu onto serving plates or into bowls. Serve piping hot, with the rice.

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