Tofu with Cumin Laced Spinach and Shrimp
Based on an Indian recipe but made with tofu, this recipe translates even better if you include a few shrimp on each serving. I use soft tofu that is simmered in salted water, then drained and sprinkled with turmeric. It’s the most flavorful tofu, but being so tender, it’s a little tricky to handle. If you prefer, use firm tofu—either regular or silken—instead. Sauté the shrimp separately at the last minute and serve them as a garnish.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturehot & spicy, spiced, umami
- 1½ to 2 cartons soft tofu
- 1½ teaspoons turmeric
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 5 large garlic cloves, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1½ teaspoons roasted, ground cumin
- 1 large jalapeno chile, finely diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons chopped ginger
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 large bunch spinach, leaves washed and chopped but not dried
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 cups cooked white rice
Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. Bring 4 to 6 cups water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat so that the water is barely simmering, then lower the tofu into the pan. Cook for 4 minutes, then remove with a strainer and set on a towel to drain while you prepare the vegetables. Once the tofu is dry, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon turmeric.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wide skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, until the garlic is pale gold. Add the chile, ginger, onions, another ½ teaspoon turmeric and continue cooking until the onions are lightly colored and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. If the pan seems too dry at any point, add water in ½ cup increments and reduce the heat. While the onion is cooking, rinse the shrimp, then pat them dry. Toss them with the remaining turmeric and half the lime juice. Set aside until you’re ready to serve.
Add the peas and the spinach to the onions. Turn the heat to high, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook until wilted. Nestle the tofu into the vegetables, add a half cup water, then cover and cook until the tofu is heated through, about 4 minutes.
Heat the remaining oil in a wide skillet. When hot, add the shrimp, sprinkle with salt, and sauté over high heat, turning a few times, until they’re red and firm when pressed with a finger.
Serve the vegetables over cooked rice with 3 shrimp arranged on each serving. Sprinkle over the remaining lime juice, garnish with the cilantro, and serve.
2000 Deborah Madison