Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

Plant Based

Coconut Saag

4 servings


35 minutes

total time


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

3 green cardamom pods or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)

1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound mustard greens, tough ends trimmed and greens roughly chopped, or fresh baby spinach (10 to 12 cups)

1/2 lime, juiced

1 small Indian green chile, serrano chile or Thai bird’s-eye chile, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (such as Morton)

1 (13-ounce) can coconut milk

1 (12-ounce) block extra-firm tofu or 1 (8-ounce) package paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon asafetida (optional, but really fantastic)

1/4 teaspoon red chile powder, such as cayenne or Kashmiri

Rice or roti, for serving


In a large, deep pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Once it shimmers, add the coriander and cardamom and toast the spices until fragrant and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

Add the mustard greens, a large handful at a time, and cook until just wilted and still bright green. Don’t overcook the greens!

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice, chile and salt. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend into a chunky paste. Return the mixture to the same pan over low heat. Stir in the coconut milk, then gently stir in tofu. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more, until the tofu is warmed through and has soaked up some of the sauce.

While the tofu cooks, in a small pan or butter warmer over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the cumin seeds, and once they start to brown and dance around in the pan, about 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the asafetida, if using, and red chile powder.

Pour the coconut oil mixture over the saag, and serve with rice or roti.


Serving Size




Total Fat

40 g

Saturated Fat

24 g

Unsaturated Fat

12 g

Trans Fat

0 g




780 mg

Total Carbohydrate

19 g

Dietary Fiber

6 g

Total Sugars

5 g


16 g

4 servings


35 minutes

total time
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