Routine + tofu palak (vegan)

Earlier this month, after a blissful 6 months at my parents’ beautiful house, I said goodbye to my cats, my potted garden, the mountains – oh, and mum and dad of course 😉 – and started anew in Auckland. I moved for my studies, as well as the opportunity to explore New Zealand’s biggest city. It is exciting and stimulating to be here, but it has also meant change and a disrupted routine.

I am, for now, living with my cousin and her young family – it can be chaotic, fun, a bit crazy and, coupled with long hours at the library, exhausting. I know wholesome, good foods would help me to feel grounded and energized. But as it is, throwing down a soy coffee down my throat, followed by a piece of banana toast (if that), whilst untangling myself from the adorable-yet-vice-grip of a 4 year old before running out of the door has become my most recent morning routine. That I no longer have access to the pantry I had stocked over time with all kinds of superfood, healthful things, has also meant that its been that much harder to organise myself in any way that would be conducive to healthy eating.

And I’ve felt it in my body – my stomach has started to complain, and the dull headaches I used to feel on a regular basis are returning. So yesterday, after spending a few hours studying at my most recent discovery, ‘Chapter’ – a tea & book shop café! – and sipping on their rejuvenating ‘Green Christmas tea’ (almond, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pineapple and safflowers), I took myself to the supermarket and bought the foods my body is craving – coconut oil, millet, GREENS, beans, tahini and lots of indian spices. If my arms had allowed for it, I would have bought more – but the 30 minute walk home means I can only take so much!

I volunteered to cook dinner, and when it comes to cooking for lots of bodies, I often turn to my staple: tofu palak. It’s hearty and warm, and the fresh ginger gives it a pleasant kick.

I’ve been making it for so long that I can’t tell you which online recipe I first followed – or if my version has even stayed true to it! A google search will reveal lots and lots of versions, but here’s mine:


Tofu palak

Serves 4 – goes well with rice or naan bread


Coconut oil

~300g spinach leaves, washed

1 can of tinned tomatoes (or 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped)

3 cloves garlic

2 cups firm Tofu, cubed

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1½ tspn coriander seeds

1 tspn cumin

1 tspn ground ginger

½ tspn chili powder

Pinch of turmeric

1 tbspn freshly grated ginger

Salt to taste


Heat the oil in a large pan or wok.

Add the onion to the pan, and then add the coriander seeds, cumin, ground ginger, chili and turmeric, making sure that all the onion pieces are well coated. Let it sizzle for a minute or two, and then add the tomato.

While the tomato-spice-onion mixture is simmering, pop the washed spinach leaves in the microwave for 30 seconds so they wilt.

Put the wilted spinach in a blender, along with the garlic cloves, and whizz away until you get a garlicky, green pulp.

Add the spinach pulp to the tomato mixture in the pan and stir it all in. Also mix in the grated ginger.

Next, add the cubed tofu and allow to cook for ~10 minutes.

Serve on a bed of white or brown rice, or alternatively, with naan. If you eat dairy, it tastes lovely with a side of plain yoghurt.

As with most curries, this tastes even better the next day.

PS Happy Easter!

Screen Shot 2013-03-28 at 8.59.30 PM

This bunny is looking for a home! Too bad I don’t live in England…



  1. Do you usually make palak with tofu? I’ve always thought paneer was very similar to tofu. Since I’m already so in love with paneer, I never bothered trying tofu. Does make for a great vegan option.

  2. It is always so hard to maintain balance when you don’t have your food staples. I totally understand that feeling, which is why I often get stressed out about traveling. But it sounds like you have a great attitude about it, and how wonderful that you get to share a recipe with others! : )

    • ahh, I agree – traveling gets extra hard! Sarah Britton recently wrote a post about traveling with food on the plane… I eat the plane food, and it’s never that great! Though in a foreign country, I wouldn’t restrict myself, and just enjoy what’s on offer 🙂 (minus the meat!)

  3. This looks delicious! I really like your blog and your funh, easy-going writing style. How is New Zealand treating you? I’m moving to Australia for studies in a few months and I am more than excited. Can’t wait to make this!

    • Thank you! I love NZ : ) It’s far away, but ridiculously beautiful and the people are lovely. And not everyone has a pet sheep, and eats possum pie 😉 Where in Oz are you moving too? Thats v exciting!

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