Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu (Indian Spinach and Tofu)

When shopping for frozen spinach, look for the chopped loosely-packed variety that comes in a bag. If all you can find is spinach frozen in a solid block, make sure to defrost it before adding it to the pot.

Stovetop Instructions: Prepare the tofu as instructed in the recipe. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the tofu for six minutes, flipping once during cooking. Transfer the tofu to a plate, add the rest of the oil to the pan, and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for another two minutes, then stir in the seared tofu,  tomatoes, water, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt, taking care not to break up the tofu. Add in the frozen spinach and stir once more. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Uncover, stir in the coconut milk and garam masala, and serve.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I use avocado oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1-inch (1/2 ounce) piece ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can diced tomatoes and their liquid
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounce bag frozen chopped spinach (See Recipe Note)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4  cup coconut milk
  • Cooked rice or warm naan bread, to serve

Special equipment:

Method

1 Prepare the tofu: Press the block of tofu between paper towels to squeeze out some of its moisture. Slice the tofu into bite-sized cubes.

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

2 Sauté the onions in the pressure cooker: Select the “Sauté” setting on your electric pressure cooker and adjust it to its highest setting. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in the pressure cooker until it shimmers and glides easily, then add the diced onion. Sauté the onions until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

3 While the onions are browning, sear the tofu in a nonstick skillet: Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the tofu, being careful of the hot, spattering oil. Let the tofu sear for three minutes on one side, then shake the pan or use a spatula to flip the pieces over.

Sear the tofu for another three minutes or so, flipping occasionally. The cubes should have golden brown spots, but it’s fine if some pieces don’t get browned on all sides. Turn off the heat and set the skillet aside.

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

4 Combine ingredients in the pressure cooker: Once the onions have browned, add the ginger and garlic and sauté for another two minutes, until fragrant.

Use a spoon or spatula to gently stir in the seared tofu, tomatoes, water, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt, taking care not to break up the tofu. Add in the frozen spinach and stir once more. (Reserve the garam masala and coconut milk.)

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

5 Cook the saag tofu: Place the lid on the pressure cooker and move the sealing valve to its “Sealing” position. Cancel the “Sauté” program, then select the “Manual” setting and set the cooking time to 5 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, and then the cooking program will start.)

When the cooking program ends, you can either perform a quick release by moving the sealing valve to its “Venting” position, or let the pressure release naturally. (If you're using an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker with a "warm" setting, it's fine for this recipe to stay on the warm setting for a few hours.)

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

6 Open the pot, stir in the spice blend and coconut milk, and serve: After the pressure has fully released, open the pot. Stir in the garam masala and coconut milk, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Serve the saag tofu over rice or with naan.

Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu

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Comments

  • Jennifer

    Simple and delicious – I’m loving this recipe. I make it with a very, very firm tofu (“tan” on the outside), and I skip the browning of the tofu. I sometimes use coconut milk in place of the water if I have extra. I love eating it with black rice that’s been made with coconut milk, too.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jack

    I made this recipe for my 3 year old daughter (without the cayenne). She loved it along with my wife and her Irish tongue. I have been looking for a good Saag recipe for a long time that is restaurant quality and this one fits the bill as well as being mostly healthy. Thank you. So easy to make. I can’t wait to make it again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Vincent B.

    Cooked this several times already and my go to Saag dish!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Laurie

    Made it – loved it SO much! Thank you for this wonderful recipe I will be making a lot ,

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Michele

    The flavors were so good! Unfortunately, mine came out VERY watery. That maybe have been because I used light coconut milk since my store was out of regular. I tried thickening some with flour, butter and later Greek yogurt. That helped a little but the consistency was still off. Will try again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Kate

      Michele,
      Light coconut milk is just regular coconut milk with water added, which would account for your problem. Also, some brands of coconut milk are better than others (Thai Kitchen is supposed to be a good one and seems to be available most places).

  • terry

    Outstanding! A real winner!

  • Alison

    I added a TBS of Madras curry paste. I used fresh spinach, which took 3 minutes on high pressure, then an immediate pressure drop. Delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Shane

    Do you need to make any alterations to use fresh spinach? Thanks

    • Coco Morante

      Hi Shane!

      If you’re using fresh spinach, stir it in right after sautéing the ginger and garlic. It’ll take a minute or two to wilt down, and then you can stir in the tomatoes, tofu, etc. and continue with the recipe.

  • Sabrina!

    Added turmeric and cumin to the spices. It was tasty but came out VERY watery. Had to put it back into saute mode after pressure cooking to get rid of some of the liquid.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • carissa

    I’m eating this right now, and it’s absolutely delicious. So simple, easy, and scrumptious. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Lia

    I made this last week. I misread the instructions and accidentally pressure cooked it for 10 minutes so the spinach was over cooked. Sigh. The tofu was perfect though.

    I’m not convinced the amount of coconut milk was sufficient as written. I had to add much more to get close to the flavor that I’ve had in restaurants. I don’t want to pass judgement though since I messed up the cook time. Will try again and report back.

    • Coco Morante

      Hi Lia,

      I do like mine on the lighter side (the oil adds richness too), but you can definitely add extra coconut milk for more creaminess if you like! Hope it goes better next time with the shorter cooking time!

      -Coco

  • Sharon Benum

    Can you freeze this?

    • Coco Morante

      Yes, you can! The tofu will likely take on a chewier, more open texture when defrosted, but it will still be tasty.

  • [email protected]

    Hello Emma, a few days back I bookmarked the recipe and today I tried it. I always feel trouble making saag but your method of cooking in pressure cooker makes it super easy. It was so delicious.

  • Margaret

    I too would like to know how to cook this on the stove top. Please respond.

  • Neri Kawashima

    Hi I have been trying the recipes from your blog for a while now and I really want to try this but I have no pressure cooker. How do I make it with just a stove top pot? I welcome any suggestions.

  • Marguerite

    I don’t plan to buy yet another kitchen appliance. How long to cook this on the stove? Would you still add the spices at the end?

  • Soupayan

    I am a fan of this website since the time it was a blog! Wanted to share my version for this dish :-)
    For enhanced aroma, we use a mix of fresh Spinach and Fenugreek leaves. Or you may use the dried Fenugreek Leave called “Kasuri methi”. Both fresh and dired version are available in Indian Grocery stores. While using fresh fenugreek leaves, we use them in 3:1 ratio of spinach and fenugreek. Dried ones have stronger aroma so only 2-3 tablespoon is sufficient. We boil the leaves together in little water till they wilt then blend slightly using an immersion blender.

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    The smell must be so delicious when you cook this! And love using coconut milk as it makes meals so creamy. Very nice recipe, thank you.

  • Christine

    I bought an Instant Pot just a few weeks ago. Just yesterday I was wondering if Saag Paneer would be a good dish to try in the IP! I can’t wait to try your recipe.