Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Aromas of India

Does this make your mouth water?

In the IBD Guide to Eating Out, we mentioned that typical Indian restaurants in  the U.S. serve many dishes that are oily, creamy, and incorporate lots of fat (and sodium as well).  In general, individuals with IBD need to be conscientious of the amount of fats/oils in their food, and must also be aware of the amount of spices used.   IBDers should know, however, that almost any recipe can be modified to fit their dietary preferences.  There is always an IBD-friendly version of a dish.  Here, we present you with an alternative to the Indian dish Palak Paneer (farmer’s cheese in a thick curry sauce based on pureed spinach) called Palak Tofu, a vegan twist to the normal recipe.   It tastes very similar to Palak Paneer, but is healthier, less oily, and more protein rich.   The dish is basically tofu cooked in curried spinach, a very healthy dish that goes well with some rice or naan.  You will love the green color, and your house will smell like an Indian restaurant for hours afterward….what could be better??

You do not have to forego flavor and live on bland foods to manage IBD.  Often, the real problem with spicy foods is that they are usually very greasy (chilis, curries, tacos), and often meat-based.  For many, it is the high fat content that causes problems, not the seasoning.  Hot chili peppers such as cayenne, jalapeno, habanero and so on, can cause GI distress in some IBDers, but herbs and spices as a whole are often not triggers.  Some IBDers do react to certain spices because of their seasonings, so as always, trial and error is the best way to identify these triggers.

For the Palak Tofu, you can adjust the amount of spice by lessening the amount of spices that you throw in, and omit the cumin seeds if you have trouble digesting seeds.

Skewer IBD Update

We have logged 143 miles in training for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon that we will be running on June 2 with Team Challenge. We are still the top second fundraiser on our team with $4,777. That money will go directly towards finding a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis.  Marnina had a rough ending to Passover this year which brought her back to the white rice diet. For 24+ hours she lived on bananas, rice, rice cakes and apple sauce.  Once she started feeling better she slowly introduced hard-boiled eggs and peanut butter.  White rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Oy vey.  Thankfully, she is feeling better now.   These low-points are reminders of why we are fighting for a cure.

Seth has been experiencing some pain in his illiotibial band, which is a common injury in runners.  The iliiotibial band is a tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh.  The tissue extends from the hip to the knee.  The continual rubbing of the band over bone, combined with repeated flexion and textension of the knee during running can cause this area to become inflamed.[1]   Seth’s pain is mostly on the outside of the knee just above the knee joint.  The pain intensifies when he runs, especially after the 5-6 mile mark.   Marnina convinced him to see a physical therapist, and his first appointment is tomorrow!  He is hoping to stretch, strengthen, and recover in time for the race!  In the meantime, he will be resting the injury, and doing everything the therapist recommends!

Thank you for your continuous support.  If you would like to make a contribution to our efforts to Skewer IBD, please click here.

Pictures and Recipe

Preparing the vegetables

The smell of the spices is overwhelming!

Sauteeing the tofu

Mixing everything together

The finished product!

Palak Tofu
Serves: 2


  • Baby Spinach – 2 cups
  • Sugar – pinch
  • Tofu (Sprouted Tofu) – 12 cubes (1 inch size)
  • Onion – 1
  • Tomato – 1
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp (we substituted 1 tsp cumin powder)
  • Asafotieda – 1/2 tsp (we substituted ½ each of onion powder and garlic powder)
  • Ginger Garlic paste -1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder –  1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 1/4 cup (use soy milk if you cannot tolerate dairy)
  • Dry Fenugreek leaves/ Kasoori methi – 1 tbsp (we omitted)


  1. Microwave Spinach with 1 cup water and sugar for 5 mins
  2. Strain water (retain the water) and coarsely blend spinach
  3. Heat pan, add oil, fry tofu till its golden brown on all sides and set aside
  4. In same pan, add little more oil and fry cumin seeds, asafotieda, chopped onion, salt to taste and cook till onion is translucent
  5. Now add ginger-garlic paste and cook till raw smell subsides
  6. Add chopped tomato and fry for couple of mins
  7. Now add spice mix ( turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala) and cook till oil separates
  8. Now add water used for cooking spinach with milk
  9. Add fried tofu, cover and cook for 5 mins
  10. Add crushed kasoori methi / fenugreek leaves and serve with saffron rice (we omitted the kasnori methi and fenugreek leaves)

Recipe adapted from:


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