Instant Pot Vegan Chicken Saag with Soy Curls. Use seitan, tempeh, baked tofu, chickpeas or chikin substitutes for variation. 1 Pot Soy curls in Spinach Sauce. Vegan Gluten-free Saagwala Recipe Can be Soy-free and Nut-free Jump to Recipe
Saag is basically a dish made with greens. Often times it is mustard greens or a combination of mustard and spinach or others which depend on local availability and seasonality. I’ve made it with mixed greens with spinach as baby kale, bok choy, mustard and amaranth greens. Mixed greens work well when pressure cooking.
Plain Saag (just the greens dish), Saag with veggies like potatoes, Saag paneer (palak tofu), and Saag with different meats are all similar dishes, but have subtle differences based on what they are paired with. Saag for paneer is often blanched greens in both coarse and puree form for a vibrant green sauce, Saag with meats is coarse and uses yogurt for thickening and so on. This soycurl saag dish is a vegan version of Saag Chicken. See Recipe notes for variations. Finish this delicious saucy dish with some cashew cream and vegan butter for a luscious meal.
To make this dish without soy, use seitan, non soy chickin subs, veggies, use potato to make Saag Aloo or cooked chickpeas or beans with this delicious sauce. To make it without nuts, use a nut-free non dairy yogurt or coconut cream. To make it without oil, omit the oil (you will need to add splashes of water and stir more frequently to avoid sticking and burning, or roast the tomato onion mixture separately in a non stick skillet). See Recipe notes for Saucepan instructions. Lets get to it!
More Instant Pot Recipes.
- Instant Pot Vegan Butter Chickin(soycurls). GF
- Lentil Veggie Dhansak – Lentil Veggie Stew in IP. GF
- Kohlapuri Veggies – Veggies in sesame coconut sauce GF
- Lentil Sweet Potato Soup GF
- Aloo Palak Dal- Potato Spinach Lentils in IP. GF
- Chana Saag – Chickpea Spinach Curry GF
Use steamed tempeh, baked tofu, chickpeas, seitan or veggies with this fabulous saag/palak sauce for variation. Soy chunks are different from soy curls. They need a longer cooking time and are chewy (I dont particularly like them). Use other subs with this amazing sauce. If you make this recipe, do let me know how it turned out and tag me on social media!
To make cashew cream, blend equal amount of soaked cashews(soaked for atleast an hour) and water until creamy and measure and use.
In the video I am using Butlers soy curls and some home made soy curls. I have been trying to make some at home. They are just soaked soybeans, drain, blend to a thick batter, spoon onto a baking sheet and dehydrate or bake at 250. You can do this with most beans. The texture is different from curls. Also, so hard to make Indian food look good, but believe you me it tastes so good.
Instant Pot Vegan Chicken Saag - Soy Curls in Spinach Sauce.
- 1 small onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 inch (0.5 inch) ginger
- 1/2 (0.5) hot green chile
- 3/4 cup (0.75 cup) tomato
- 4 to 5 oz spinach or spinach + other greens such as baby kale
- 1 cinnamon stick , 2 inch long
- 2 cloves
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) turmeric
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) garam masala
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) paprika
- 1.5 cups (2 oz) soy curls , dry
- 3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) salt
- 1/4 cup (59.5 ml) cashew cream or 1/3 cup vegan plain yogurt
- 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar or sweetener
- cayenne and garam masala to taste
- 1 tsp fenugreek leaves optional
- Blend the onion through tomato and set aside. Blend the spinach/greens with 1/4 cup water(*inline amounts don’t change when you scale the recipe, only ingredient list scales. So adjust accordingly). Pulse to make a coarse mixture and not a puree. (use 1/2 cup water if using hardy greens and using more).
- Heat oil in saute mode. When hot, add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. Cook for a few seconds.
- Add blended onion tomato mix. Cook for 3 minutes, stir frequently. If it starts to burn, switch off saute for 2 mins, then switch on again if needed. Add the spices and mix in.
- Add the greens, soy curls and salt. Add 1/2 cup water and mix in.
- Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook (hi) 8 to 10 minutes. Release after 5 mins. (If using tofu, potato or tempeh, 3 to 5 minutes pressure cook time is sufficient)
- Fold in cashew cream or yogurt and mix in. Add some water if needed and cook on saute until the mixture starts to boil. Add cayenne, garam masala, sugar and mix in. Adjust salt, spice and heat. Add fenugreek leaves if using.
- Serve garnished with pepper flakes with rice, quinoa or with flatbread or pita bread. Additional garnish: Drizzle Cashew cream and add some vegan butter per serving.
It was delicious (as always)! Thank you for all your great recipes. With your Instant Pot Book I’ve become such a fan of using the IP for weeknight dinners.
Just a little thing I observed with the recipe: The in-text water references (blend spinach with 1/4 cup of water, etc.) obviously don’t scale when one changes the portion size. That makes sense as it is static text. But I nearly did not think of that. So maybe it might be worth it to make it easier for people to add something like a little asteriks (*) behind those in-text water references and add a little text below the recipe “does not change when changing portion size” or something like that?
Awesome! Yes I’ll update it
I knew I wanted to make Saag with soy curls so I came to your site to search for a recipe and I was not disappointed ! Every single recipe I’ve made of yours has been outstanding.
Thank you for so many delicious recipes!
Vegan Richa Support
thanks for popping in
Hi Richa – why do you cook on manual for 10 mins and then quick release after 5? Why not cook on manual for 5 minutes?
I am new to the instant pot 🙂 we had a pressure cooker before but we upgraded to an instant pot, so getting used to it
Vegan Richa Support
because it needs the residual heat to really bring out the flavours and come together
10 mins is the pressure cooking time needed for soycurls. 5 mins won’t be enough. The additional quick release time is after pressure cooking is done. So it’s 15 mins of cooking time.
Made this last night!! It was so delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!
Just prepared this and it came out so amazing. My daughter states that this recipe is slightly better than the one at the restaurant that we used to buy it from. I have made so many recipes from this site and have yet to be disappointed. Thanks so very much for sharing.
Vegan Richa Support
I love this recipe. I make it with Swiss chard because I have a lot of it in the garden and it’s wonderful. Lacking fresh tomato I have used a 14oz can of tomatoes and that worked great. I really like Butler soy curls and am always looking for recipes using them so was so glad to find this. It is a quick and so delicious dinner! Thank you!!!!
Vegan Richa Support
that’s great – fresh from the garden
I made this today. It was delicious and I will make it again in the future. I used a small can of Tomato Sauce, since the Tomato gets blended anyway. I used 1/2 red chard and 1/2 Baby Spinach and also a very small can of Coconut Cream.
Another great recipe to use my Soy Curls in and use my Instant Pot.
Why would you name a Vegan dish with Chicken? Vegan has its own identity, why to resemble it with non-vegetarian ingredients and ruin the beauty around being Vegan.
So that people who want to cook something similar as to what they have known, can find it. People who made the switch still want to find ways to replicate their favourite meals in vegan. So searching for “Vegan Chicken Saag” will help them find this delicious meal.
Love this with any kinds of greens, we’ve done all-spinach and spinach mixed with beet greens or kale. It is very forgiving if you are out of something. Easy to sub other beans too, or just make plain saag for a less hearty side dish. Would love to try with fenugreek leaves sometime! Thank you Richa 🙂
I have one regret- that I didn’t double the recipe 😭
I’ll know better for next time… and there *will* be a next time 🤩
My husband and I both loved it! I love your site, so many delicious vegan meals!
Vegan Richa Support
Thank you kindly Margaret.
Can I use coconut milk (thick part) instead of cashew cream?
Vegan Richa Support
that would work if you don’t have actual coconut cream
Hi, I’m very new to cooking.
1) Can you please clarify the use of Soy Curls? Do you break them up, hydrate before hand, etc?
2) How much cayenne and garam masala do you use?
3) When I get ginger at the store it comes in a stalk. What does “1/2 inch” mean for this? Do I cut about 1/2 inch of the stalk into small pieces? If so, how small?
4) Is there a particular “hot green chile” that you prefer?
Thanks and forgive my ignorance,
1. they are dry
2. they are to taste, you can use 1/4 tsp and add more if needed
3. just take a piece of the stalk which is about a 1/2 wide, then chop it.
4. Serrano or thai or bird’s eye
So yummy!! I bet it tastes even better tomorrow for my lunch. I added pan fried potatoes and chick peas. I miss having saag since it has dairy, now I can go back to eating my favorite, thank you🥰
I made this for dinner last night, and both my husband and I absolutely loved it! The flavors were so amazing. I prepared this on the stove top and followed the recipe pretty closely, although I started by sautéing the (rough chopped) onion, garlic cloves, chili pepper, and ginger chunks before blending, with fire roasted tomatoes. I used about 1 cup of soy curls, re-hydrated before adding in vegan chicken broth, along with three small chopped potatoes. I cooked everything a bit longer than recommended to infuse the flavors, other than the final step with the greens. The spinach, I blended with water plus the juice of 1/2 lemon for brightness. Served with turmeric rice. Really incredible recipe – we both ate way too much, and there aren’t a lot of leftovers for lunch but I’m claiming them! Thank you!!
awesome! yes more volume of ingredients will need some more cooking time.
Delicious. Used dried bean curd strips from Asian market.
Hi! When do the garlic and ginger get added?
with the onion. Blend all the ingredients from onion to tomato
I made this tonight, along with the masala lentils recipe from your cookbook. It was delicious! My husband and my kids ate every bit of it and then fought over the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Thank you so much .
Thank you so much for all the time, energy & love you put into your recipes.
I am planning to make this for an event this weekend, but wanted to know if “Mushroom Saag” is an actual Indian dish. It was served once at a buffet and it was enjoyable and was wondering if you could give feedback as to what types of mushrooms to use.
I would use white or cremini. Also make a small portion once before to see how it turns out. Portobello chopped into pieces might work too. With mushrooms you might need to saute them before cooking depending on your preference of taste and texture of them.
This looks so delicious, Richa!! Can’t wait to give it a try. I just have to get my hands on some soy curls! 🙂
Those soy curls are so eerily like chicken.
This was absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Next time I will make a double batch so we have leftovers! We ate all of this until we were way past the point of full!
Hi! I’m going to make this tomorrow! Just a curious question- in the video, it looks like the ginger is not peeled, is that a thing? Should I not peel ginger when cooking?
It depends on your preference and the type of ginger. Young ginger is juicy and has thinner skin,, so peeling is not necessary(i dont peel), but mature ginger that is not as juicy has a thicker peel which an be unpleasant to eat, so peel that if you wish.
Thank you for this recipe!! Please tell us how you make your soy curls, i’m very curious because we don’t have these industrial product in France and it seems very good ! Does the beans have to be cooked before blending ? (sorry for my english)
They dont need to be cooked, just soaked overnight. Then blend to make a really thick and fluffy batter. Spoon onto parchment lined sheet and bake at low temp until they are completely dry. Store int he refrigerator for months. I am working on a better texture closer to the shreds that soycurls have before i post a recipe. You can also get “wadi” of other beans from an Indian store as they are similar products.
Thank your for your answer ! I am waiting for the recipe then 🙂
Made this tonight. We love soy curls around here, and we love your recipes too. My mind is blown that you have tried to make them (soy curls) before! Any further progress on a recipe? I’ve soaked my soybeans today and I’m going to try making them as per your instructions above tomorrow.
I’ve tried. The texture doesn’t become as stringy. I think the company uses some big machine to keep churning the mixture or something until it gets strung before drying it out.
Do you have a recipe for the cashew cream?
its 1/4 cup of raw cashews that have been soaked for atleast and hour blended with a 1/4 cup of water to make a thick cream. If you dont have a small blender, just make a larger amount with equal quantities of soaked cashew and water. Store the rest refrigerated for upto 5 days
This looks awesome, and the fact that I have everything is a clear clue that I need to make this tonight.
Question – The 1.5 cups soy curls, socket or dry?
awesome! they are dried.
Hi Richa, I’ve been using your Indian recipes quite a bit lately and everything has been really good, so thank you.
Anyways I’m thinking to make this tonight. I have a package of soy things – not Butler (the ones I keep reading about that are supposed to be amazing) but another brand. They are large and flat and coin shaped. It says to soak them first and squeeze them, but your recipe doesn’t ask for that.
I’ve never used these because I was scared off by a previous recipe. Years ago I made something using an Indian brand of soy chunks. They were fairly small – almost dog food looking actually. They are widely available in all the Indian grocers around here. They require repeated soaking and squeezing. Unfortunately they turned out quite awful and had a strong unpleasant flavour.
So my question is to soak or not to soak, and also is there a difference between brands of these soy things? The pack is also about a year old because I was scared by my first attempt. I’m wondering if they are too old to use now and may taste weird.
If you have any words of wisdom – let me know. Thanks!
Thanks! They are probably called soy chunks. They do need soaking and squeeze them out then cook. They also need longer cooking/simmering time to pickup flavor. I personally dont like them :).
Soy curls are very different. They cook faster, are softer and generally more chikin like and overall more pleasing in flavor and texture. You can get soy curls on amazon or in whole foods (butler brand). If you cant find soy curls or are on the fence, I would suggest using seitan, tofu, tempeh, gardein, cooked chickpeas, beyond meat chikin strips or other subs rather than the chunks. Hope this helps.
Yes, thanks it does. And that is exactly what they were – soy chunks. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks they are yuck.
Sadly we don’t have the extensive meatless alternatives selection in Canada as compared to the USA. I may have to turn to Amazon. Thanks again!
just chickpeas and potatoes will work too. 4 mins with potatoes. The sauce is good with many things.
Omg this was SO AMAZING. Made it tonight for dinner and used tempeh. It was fabulous and now we are stuffed!
Thank you so much for bringing veganized Indian recipes to the world!!!
Hi Dominique! I’m in Calgary and I get my soy curls from vegansupply.ca! They are in BC. Easy shipping. I buy the HUGE BOX. It lasts ages. My kids love this recipe and soy curl jerky! Soy curls are the BEST!!
Happy cooking! 😄