Malai Palak Chicken (Spinach & soycurls in Indian white sauce)

Soycurls and Spinach in Indian White Sauce is a plant-based version of popular malai palak chicken. Spinach and spiced soycurl Chikin bake in a luscious creamy sauce with Indian flavors. This is a 2 step 1 Pan baked, simplified version of this classic curry that is sure to become a family favorite!

Table of Contents

Malai means cream, Palak is spinach. This creamy white sauce with Indian spices, dotted with fresh spinach and spiced and crisped vegan chicken, is comfort food like an Indian spinach florentine! Is is usually made on the stovetop, but in this version, we are simplifying the recipe and baking our curry in 1 pan in the oven and just 2 steps. That means Easy clean up and just a few minutes of active time in the kitchen! It is a No tomato white sauce with loads of spices, onion, garlic and non dairy cream and pairs well with with Naan or rice or also with toasted sourdough or garlic bread.

In place of chicken, I use soy curls, which are a whole food ingredient with a chicken-like texture. If you don’t want to use soy curls, though, you can use tofu or roasted vegetables. There are instructions for these substitutions included in the recipe.

This luscious vegan Malai Palak Chikin is an easy weeknight meal that is absolutely packed with flavor!

baked Malai Palak Chicken with soy curls in the pan

Why You’ll Love this Indian Spinach Curry

  • easy recipe baked in a single pan in the oven and 2 steps.
  • no standing over the stove
  • packed with protein, greens, and FLAVOR!
  • gluten-free with nut-free soy-free options
close-up of baked Malai Palak Chicken with soy curls in a bowl with naan

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baked Indian spinach curry with soy curls in the pan

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Indian Malai Palak Chicken (Vegan Spinach Soycurls in Indian White Curry)

Soycurls and Spinach in Indian White Sauce is a plant-based version of popular malai palak chicken. Think Chikin florentine but with luscious Indian flavors! And simplified so it’s a 2 step 1 pan baked dish. Serve with naan or sourdough.

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time35 minutes

Total Time50 minutes

Course: Main, Main Course

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: indian malai palak chicken, vegan malai palak chicken

Servings: 4

Calories: 385kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

For the soy curls:

  • 4 ounces (113.4 g) dried soy curls
  • cup (59.15 ml) hot water
  • ¼ cup (61.25 g) yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cup (160 g) chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ inch piece of ginger minced
  • 1 hot green chili minced, or use a mild green chili or 1 tablespoon chopped green bell pepper instead
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi)
  • 15 ounce (425.24 ml) can of full fat coconut milk
  • cup (81.67 g) non-dairy yogurt
  • ½ cup (118.29 ml) water or non-dairy milk
  • 8 to 10 ounces (283.5 g) of spinach fresh or frozen (thaw the frozen and use if using frozen)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • garam masala and pepper flakes for garnish

Instructions

For the soy curls:

  • In a bowl, add the water, yogurt, spices and mix well. Then add the soy curls and toss well to coat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to marinate and rehydrate.

For the sauce:

  • Add oil to a large 10 x 15 inch or similar size baking dish. Spread evenly. On one half of the pan add bay leaves, cloves, onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, all the spices, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss well to coat. Add a few splashes of water if the mixture looks a bit dry, so that the spices and oil distribute evenly over the onion. Then even it out.

  • On the other side, Add your marinated soy curls and spread really well. Sprinkle a few drops of oil on the soy curls, and then put the baking dish inside to bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until the onion is turning golden.

  • Remove the baking dish from the oven then add in the coconut milk, yogurt, salt, sugar, water, and mix really well. Then add in the spinach or other greens that you’re planning to use. Toss well so that the spinach is covered evenly with the milk mixture. Even it out and put it back in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture is boiling really well.

  • Mix once and continue to bake for another 3 to 4 minutes and then take it out of the oven.

  • Taste and adjust salt and flavor. For saucier, add in some more hot non Dairy milk and mix in. Garnish with Garam masala and pepper flakes and serve.

Notes

To make this with tofu, press and cube 14 ounce firm or extra firm tofu and then marinate it in the marinade(omit the water). Just use yogurt and spices and then put it on one side of the baking dish to bake along with the onion mixture.
To make it with roasted vegetables, use quick cooking vegetables chopped small such as cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, and other vegetables of choice. Marinate them in the yogurt, and spices and no water, and put them to bake with onion on one side. After adding sauce ingredients and baking for 15 mins , Once the sauce is boiling rapidly, check the vegetables for doneness and if they’re not completely done, you can bake them for another 5-10 minutes.
To make with chickpeas or beans: skip the marinade step. Add in the cooked beans with the spinach. 
 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Indian Malai Palak Chicken (Vegan Spinach Soycurls in Indian White Curry)

Amount Per Serving

Calories 385
Calories from Fat 207

% Daily Value*

Fat 23g35%

Saturated Fat 18g113%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Sodium 678mg29%

Potassium 755mg22%

Carbohydrates 23g8%

Fiber 7g29%

Sugar 8g9%

Protein 19g38%

Vitamin A 6734IU135%

Vitamin C 29mg35%

Calcium 249mg25%

Iron 9mg50%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Did you make this recipe?Please do leave a comment and rating below.. Tag me on Instagram @veganricha
spinach curry ingredients in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • soy curls – These are made from non-GMO soy beans, the only ingredient! If you can’t find or don’t want to use soy curls, see the recipe notes for instructions for how to make this creamy Indian spinach sauce dish with tofu or roasted vegetables instead.
  • yogurt – You use non dairy yogurt in the marinade for the soy curls and to make the curry sauce creamier and give it a bit of tang. Use vegan cream cheese or non dairy cream or cashew cream as a substitute
  • spices – The soy curls are marinated in cumin, coriander, and garlic powder to give them lots of flavor on their own. When you make the sauce. you use even more spices for a deep flavor.
  • aromatics – Roasted onion, garlic, and ginger further depend the flavor of this spinach curry.
  • coconut milk and non-dairy milk – Makes the sauce even creamier, and the coconut milk adds flavor. Use oat , cashew , almond or soy milk. You can use water in place of the non-dairy milk, if you like.
  • spinach – You can use fresh or frozen. If you’re using frozen spinach, thaw it before adding to the pan.
  • sugar – A teeny bit of sugar brings out the flavor of the spices.
  • pepper flakes – These are for garnish and up the heat levels.

Tips

  • Normally when you make soy curls, you soak them and then drain/wring them out. In this recipe, however, there’s no need to do that. You add the soy curls and marinade all to the pan.
  • When you’re mixing the onion and spices in the pan, make sure that the onions are really well coated in all of the spices. A little bit of water can help, if needed.

How to Make Baked Spinach Curry

Preheat the oven to 425° F while you prepare the soy curls.

In a bowl, add the water, yogurt, spices and mix well. Then add the soy curls and toss well to coat. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to marinate and rehydrate.

soy curls with yogurt in a bowl

Add oil to a large 10 x 15-inch or similar size baking dish. Spread evenly. On one half of the pan add bay leaves, cloves, onion, garlic, ginger, chili, all the spices, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss well to coat. Add a few splashes of water if the mixture looks a bit dry, so that the spices and oil distribute evenly over the onion. Then even it out on one side. 

spices in a baking pan
spices, garlic, ginger, and chilis in a baking pan
spices, garlic, ginger, and chilis in a baking pan with onion added
aromatics and spices mixed together in half of a baking pan
aromatics and spices mixed together in half of a baking pan, after spreading them out

On the other side, Add your marinated soy curls and spread really well. Drizzle a few drops of oil on the soy curls, and then put the baking dish inside to bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the onion is turning golden.

baking pan with soy curls on one half and aromatics and spices on the other half, before baking
baking pan with soy curls on one half and aromatics and spices on the other half, after baking

Remove the baking dish from the oven then add in the coconut milk, yogurt, salt, sugar, water, and mix really well.

baked soy curls, aromatics, and spices with coconut milk added
soy curls in curry sauce, after mixing together

Then add in the spinach or other greens that you’re planning to use. Toss well so that the spinach is covered evenly with the milk mixture.

adding spinach to the pan of curry, before baking

Even it out, and put it back in the oven for 15 more minutes, or until the mixture is boiling really well. 

Mix once and continue to bake for another three to four minutes, and then take it out of the oven. 

Malai Palak Chicken in the pan, after baking

Taste and adjust salt and flavor. For saucier add more heated non dairy milk and mix in. Garnish pepper flakes and serve.

Malai Palak Chicken in a bowl with naan

What to Serve with Malai Palak Chicken

You can serve this as a meal on its own with naan, rice, toasted sourdough, or garlic bread. You can also include it as part of a spread with dal and biryani.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use besides soy curls?

To make this with tofu, press and cube 14 ounce firm or extra firm tofu and then marinate it in the marinade without any water. Just use yogurt and spices and then put it on one side of the baking dish to bake along with the onion mixture. 

To make it with roasted vegetables, use quick cooking vegetables chopped small such as cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, and other vegetables of choice. Marinate them in the yogurt, and spices and no water, and put them to bake with onion on one side. Once the sauce is boiling rapidly, check the vegetables for doneness and if they’re not completely done, you can bake them for another 5-10 minutes.

What are soy curls?

Soy curls are a vegan chicken substitute made from whole soybeans. They only have one ingredient.

Is this recipe allergy friendly?

This dish is naturally gluten-free and nut-free if you use nutfree yogurt and non dairy milk. You can make it soy-free by using roasted vegetables or cooked beans or chickpea tofu in place of the soy curls.

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