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Annualised Wage Arrangements: Australia’s Modern Awards

By Human Resources, Simon Says No Comments

O n 1 March 2020 the Australian Modern Award landscape was adjusted to include new provisions for Annualised Wage Arrangements. I’ve been reminded this week, through a large amount of marketing material offering professional services, that one of the clauses requires a review of the arrangements in place after a period of twelve months (or when each relevant employee terminates their employment). That twelve month period starts from last week.

In 2019 and 2020 a number of large organisations were caught out underpaying their employees. Large-scale internal payroll audits were completed across the Australian corporate sector throughout 2020 in part because of these annualised wage arrangement provisions; in part because knowingly underpaying employees became a criminal offence and few people would want to be the first successful prosecution in that space; and also because a number of these large organisations were implementing new HR and Payroll systems to assist them in complying with an increasingly complex Industrial Relations framework and these new best-of-breed solutions uncovered historical inaccuracies. The Fair Work Ombudsman undertook 1,432 workplace audits in 2020 based on “public knowledge reports” and found a 71% non-compliance rate. Of the large organisations who self-reported underpayments, more than AUD$90m (perhaps up to AUD$600m) is now due as back pay.

On 1 October 2019, the Fair Work Ombudsman released the following statement putting employers on notice regarding underpayment of workers:

“The Fair Work Ombudsman will be holding Wesfarmers to account after self-disclosing significant underpayments of its workers. Each week, another large company is publicly admitting that they failed to ensure staff are receiving their lawful entitlements. This simply is not good enough. Companies will be held accountable for breaching workplace laws. Companies and their Boards are on notice that we will consider the full range of enforcement options available under the Fair Work Act, including litigation where appropriate.”

There isn’t data available that discusses positive compliance – noting that 29% of the audits completed by the Fair Work Ombudsman found no compliance issues – and there is no data available on companies that weren’t audited. My personal view is that large organisations aren’t making deliberate decisions to underpay workers. They may be arrogant and trying to skate close to the line when it comes to compliance, and some have been caught out when reviewing past practices, however I’d be surprised if there are large organisations that are deliberately trying to underpay Modern Award entitlements. Australia’s IR framework is complex and not easy to understand, and often the people who are configuring the software solutions that manage time and attendance, and payroll, are not IR experts who understand how the different configuration options may impact statutory entitlements. In the Wesfarmers example above, their public statement illustrates that they identified payroll issues whilst implementing a new payroll software system and subsequently engaged the professional services firm PwC to complete a detailed audit. And the same was the case at Woolworths who identified significant payroll errors for their Modern Award-covered salaried employees of around AUD$500m whilst implementing a new Enterprise Agreement and a new payroll software system. Ignorance is not an excuse, and this is a good reminder that IR requires care and investment to get right.

The changes

The rules for annualised wage arrangements that came into effect on 1 March 2020 are located within the various Modern Awards. Employees not covered by a Modern Award are not covered by the rules for annualised wage arrangements. Each Modern Award embeds the annualised wage arrangement rules in a manner which suits the context of the applicable Modern Award. As an example, below is the language used in the Clerks – Private Sector Modern Award:

18. Annualised wage arrangements

[Varied by PR719747]

18.1 Annualised wage instead of award provisions

[18.1(a) varied by PR719747 ppc 29May20]

(a) An employer may pay a full-time employee an annualised wage in satisfaction, subject to clause 18.1(c), of any or all of the following provisions of the award:

(i) clause 13.8 (Make-up time); and

(ii) clause 16—Minimum rates; and

(iii) clause 19—Allowances; and

(iv) clause 21—Overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and

(v) clause 22—Rest period after working overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and

(vi) clause 23—Time off instead of payment for overtime (employees other than shiftworkers); and

(vii) clause 24—Penalty rates (employees other than shiftworkers); and

(viii) clause 26—Ordinary hours of work and rostering for shiftwork; and

(ix) clause 28—Overtime for shiftwork; and

(x) clause 29—Time off instead of payment for overtime for shiftwork; and

(xi) clause 30—Rest period after working overtime for shiftwork; and

(xii) clause 31—Penalty rates for shiftwork; and

(xiii) clause 32.3—Annual leave loading.

(b) Where an annualised wage is paid, the employer must advise the employee in writing, and keep a record of:

(i) of the annualised wage that is payable;

(ii) which of the provisions of this award will be satisfied by payment of the annualised wage;

(iii) the method by which the annualised wage has been calculated, including specification of each separate component of the annualised wage and any overtime or penalty assumptions used in the calculation; and

(iv) the outer limit number of ordinary hours which would attract the payment of a penalty rate under the award and the outer limit number of overtime hours which the employee may be required to work in a pay period or roster cycle without being entitled to an amount in excess of the annualised wage in accordance with clause 18.1(c).

(c) If in a pay period or roster cycle an employee works any hours in excess of either of the outer limit amounts specified pursuant to clause 18.1(b)(iv), such hours will not be covered by the annualised wage and must separately be paid for in accordance with the applicable provisions of this award.

18.2 Annualised wage not to disadvantage employees

(a) The annualised wage must be no less than the amount the employee would have received under this award for the work performed over the year for which the wage is paid (or, if the employment ceases earlier, over such lesser period as has been worked).

(b) The employer must each 12 months from the commencement of the annualised wage arrangement or upon the termination of employment of the employee calculate the amount of remuneration that would have been payable to the employee under the provisions of this award over the relevant period and compare it to the amount of the annualised wage actually paid to the employee. Where the latter amount is less than the former amount, the employer shall pay the employee the amount of the shortfall within 14 days.

(c) The employer must keep a record of the starting and finishing times of work, and any unpaid breaks taken, of each employee subject to an annualised wage arrangement for the purpose of undertaking the comparison required by clause 18.2(b). This record must be signed by the employee, or acknowledged as correct in writing (including by electronic means) by the employee, each pay period or roster cycle.

18.3 Base rate of pay for employees on annualised wage arrangements

For the purposes of the NES, the base rate of pay of an employee receiving an annualised wage under clause 18 comprises the portion of the annualised wage equivalent to the relevant rate of pay in clause 16—Minimum rates and excludes any incentive-based payments, bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime and penalties.

How did these changes come about?

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission made a decision in 2018 regarding annualised wage arrangements ensuring:

  • There should be a requirement for individual agreement to be reached with the relevant employee before an annualised salary arrangement is introduced in circumstances where the working hours of the employee are highly variable from one week to the next or over the course of a year;
  • Where the annualised salary arrangement is by agreement, it should be terminable by the employer or employee at annual intervals upon notice;
  • The annualised salary arrangement should be in writing;
  • In no circumstances should an annualised salary clause in a modern award permit or facilitate an employee receiving less pay over the course of a year than they would have received had the terms of the modern award been applied in the ordinary way, and it is essential that the clause contain a mechanism or combination of mechanisms to ensure that this does not happen. The Full Bench has identified three types of mechanism to ensure this:
  • A requirement for a minimum increment above the base rate of pay, prescribed in the annualised salaries clause itself, including an outer limit on the number of overtime or penalty rate hours which are compensated by the increment;
  • A requirement that the arrangement identify the way the annualised salary is calculated; and
  • A requirement that the employer undertake an annual reconciliation or review exercise, and be required to keep records of overtime and penalty rate hours; and
  • Annualised salary arrangements should only have application to full-time employees unless a workable proposition can be identified for the application of such provisions to part-time employees.

This led to a consultation period which formally evaluated submissions from a variety of Unions and employer groups. Following the consultation period the Fair Work Commission determined to implement standard annualised wage arrangement rules across the various Modern Awards which subsequently came into effect on 1 March 2020 (noting that not all of the principles outlined in 2018 were implemented).

Who doesn’t this apply to?

Workers who are covered by an Enterprise Agreement are not covered by a Modern Award. Such workers should consult their relevant Enterprise Agreement regarding terms and conditions for annualised wage arrangements.

Workers covered by a Guarantee of Annual Earnings – a written arrangement that allows an employer to pay an employee the high income threshold or higher over 12 months or more – will not receive entitlements from a relevant award.

A number of employers, occupations and industries are not covered by Modern Awards. For example, most State and Territory employers are governed by State-based industrial relations legislation and instruments. If you’re unsure if there is a Modern Award for your occupation contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or use their Award Finder service.

Key Process Changes

Annual Reconciliation

Many employers undertake an annual salary review process already so the impact of an annual reconciliation shouldn’t be too burdensome – in theory. However what the annualised wage arrangements rules require is that this reconciliation takes place annually from the commencement of the annualised wage arrangement rather than at a fixed annual date for all employees as would usually occur during a salary review process. This means that these reconciliations will occur, staggered, throughout the year as contract anniversaries come around, and also when each relevant employee leaves the business.

Time Keeping Requirements

Inherently linked to the requirement to complete an annual reconciliation is enhanced timekeeping requirements. Under the annualised wage arrangement rules all related employees need to sign or acknowledge as correct a record of hours worked, held by the employer, for every pay period or roster cycle. These records must be used as part of the annual reconciliation referenced above. This is quite common for hourly employees, however this is rather novel for employers of professionals and for those on annualised wages.

Contract Language

Contracts of Employment, or related documentation, may also needed a refresh. Each employee working under an annualised wage arrangement must have the methodology used for calculating the annualised wage explained. The Contract of Employment must also explicitly state the outer limit of hours used in the calculation of the annualised wage. This outer limit is relevant, not only for the annual reconciliation, but also because any hours worked outside this outer limit within a pay period or roster cycle need to be managed in accordance with the terms of the relevant Modern Award and paid/processed in that same pay period or roster cycle. These hours worked outside this outer limit are not covered by the annualised wage arrangement.

Fair Work Commission and other cases

I’m not aware of any cases that have come before the Fair Work Commission dealing with a dispute around the annualised wage arrangements provisions of the Modern Awards, and I’m not aware of any related civil proceedings either. This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been disputes and settlements, just that none have progressed through to a hearing or trial (that I’m aware of). This does pose a challenge for employers as there are no decisions or judgements which may be referenced in setting policy or procedure. For example, some questions that immediately come to mind are:

  • If an Annual Reconciliation was conducted in December as part of a company-wide salary review process, is that sufficient for the Annual Reconciliation requirement under the relevant Modern Award? If not, how close to the twelve-month anniversary must the review be completed and what is a reasonable time frame for completion?
  • Does the outcome of the Annual Reconciliation need to be communicated to the employee?
  • Can time-keeping acknowledgements be administered by exception? For example, can a Contract of Employment include language that has the employee acknowledge that they agree in advance that all hours worked in a pay period or roster cycle are as defined in the Contract of Employment unless the employee formally follows whatever process the employer has in place to adjust hours (e.g. an application for overtime form)? This way the only records that need to be reviewed each pay period, roster cycle, or twelve month period are the exception forms.
  • Can a generic Guarantee of Annual Earnings clause be sufficient to offset the annualised wage arrangements provisions? For example, can a clause that says that if at any time the employee’s earnings exceed the High Income Threshold then the employee agrees that they are the covered by a Guarantee of Annual Earnings and the relevant Modern Award no longer applies?

It’s still early days with this new requirement and perhaps we’ll start to see the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Commission publish in this space now that the initial systematic Annual Reconciliations are coming due.

 

Workday Logo

Workday acquires Peakon

By Business & Administration, Human Resources, Simon Says No Comments

Those of you who follow the Human Capital Management market will have read that Workday have acquired Peakon this week press release here. A move like this was inevitable with the shift to Human Experience Management (HXM) over the last couple of years with the conversation being led by the SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics ecosystem. It’ll be interesting to see how Workday incorporate Peakon’s technology into their product, how it’s priced, and how they’re going to spin Qualtrics’ recent IPO as a key differentiator with their product (continuing to spin of the “power of one” mantra the sales team rely upon).

An area that workday can likely get ahead is deep integration. The promises of deep integrations between SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics haven’t entirely been met, and the separation of Qualtrics from the SAP banner, spinning off on its own, is something that Workday ought to jump on immediately. Workday ought to be working with some key implementation partners on demonstration environments that meet customers’ HXM needs now to demonstrate how the Peakon technology, embedded within Workday, can deliver on some areas that are difficult to build-out using the SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics ecosystem.

Workday, however, still need to work heavily on the time and attendance limitations within their product, particularly if they are going to make a dent on the large industrial businesses that rely on rosters, contractors, and a workforce dispersed across geographies. SAP SuccessFactors isn’t strong in this space either, however SAP have a strong partnership with UKG Kronos integrating their Workforce Dimensions product in a meaningful manner with SuccessFactors. Workday don’t yet offer anything similar, with the best current offering being an integration of a near end-of-life Kronos product, white-labelled as “e-time” and sold with ADP‘s payroll solution. The problem here (ignoring the end-of-life issues) is that the integration is shallow and transacts on a lot of out-of-date information.

The acquisition of Peakon is an excellent move by Workday to get in front of the HXM marketplace, however the product still has some development required to get ahead in the time and attendance space.


If you have an interest in the HCM/HXM market and are currently looking for your next employment opportunity, I’m currently recruiting to fill a number of project roles on an exciting global HCM/HXM transformation for the Glencore Copper business. Details of the project and the roles being recruited for can be found here.

Glencore logo

Global HCM/HXM Project Recruitment: Glencore Copper

By Business & Administration, Human Resources, Simon Says No Comments

 note: This post originally appeared on LikedIn and is reproduced in a different format below.

In December I was given the amazing opportunity to lead one of the most exciting people-tech transformation projects of 2021 and beyond. In February we’ll be commencing the project in Australia as phase one – recruitment is now underway.

The project is focused on building a Human Capital Management / Human Experience Management (HCM / HXM) ecosystem for Glencore’s global copper business that will transform the way in which the Company and its workers engage. The technology mix is driven by SAP SuccessFactors and includes both Kronos Workforce Dimensions and Qualtrics products. These will integrate with existing corporate systems to modernise HRPayroll, and Training enabling a shift from transactional Human Resources Management to end-to-end employee experiences and empowering a more flexible, engaged workforce and a more resilient business.

Project Employment Opportunities

We’re currently recruiting to start filling out the “owner’s team” of the project. An overview of each role we’re looking to fill is included below, and I’ve got a LinkedIn post with dedicated links to these roles as well.

Change Lead

This is a leadership role on the project that will work closely with the implementation partner to define and deliver project change initiatives into the organisation. The role will supervise a small team in order to deliver the change initiatives required, and you’ll have the opportunity to recruit this small team upon commencement. This role is critical in ensuring the success of the transformation and assisting the organisation to be ready to receive the new solution.

Apply

Ref.No.0225

Systems Integration and Testing Analyst

There are two Systems Integration and Testing Analyst roles we’re looking to fill that will be responsible for bespoke integrations not covered by the implementation partner, along with supporting the user acceptance testing process using test software from Audacix. A key deliverable will be the creation of test cases and scripts that can be reused across future phases of the project.

Apply

Ref.No.0202

Data Migration Analyst

There are three Data Migration Analyst roles we’re looking to fill that will be responsible for data extraction and transformation ready for inclusion in the future-state technology mix. Source systems include Ellipse, Pronto, and Spreadsheets.

Apply

Ref.No.0226

Technical Support Advisor

This role will work closely with all project members and the local operational IS&T teams to provide tech support within the project. This will include access provisioning across the various software environments, supporting network troubleshooting, and coordinating IS&T support between Glencore and the implementation partner.

Apply

Ref.No.0227

Support Officer

This role will provide administrative support to the project team as well as being responsible for the administration of project files, project schedules, and scheduling supports.

Apply

Ref.No.0229

Glencore Careers Portal

Visit the Glencore Careers Portal to view employment opportunities across the business.


About Me

Formal Portrait

I’m a full-stack HR professional with an interest in both strategic & operational human resources focusing on people-driven business transformation, particularly with a technology focus. I’ve been leading teams of experts for nearly two decades and have strong depth and breadth on transformation projects. I’ve worked on large-scale transformations including Virgin Australia‘s UNIFY project and QLD Health‘s SAP modernisation projects (Integrated Workforce Management Project, Integrated Safety Information Management Project, SAP HR MyHR Implementation Project etc.), through boutique transformations including LMS implementations and business process transformations.

I take a non-traditional approach to leadership, focusing heavily on servant leadership. I am committed to collaborative mentoring throughout the project life-cycle and recognising the valuable contributions of all.

There’s more information about me in my LinkedIn profile and on my About Me page on this website.

Podcast Screenshot

David Epstein On Why Generalists Are More Successful Than Specialists

By Business & Administration, Simon Says No Comments

This was a really enjoyable podcast episode and is a great listen for anyone interested in their own Full Stack Human Resources journey.

Podcast Logo ScreenEpisode description
Studying the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors and scientists, David Epstein demonstrates why in most fields – especially those that are complex and unpredictable – generalists, not specialists are primed to excel. No matter what you do, where you are in life, whether you are a teacher, student, scientist, business analyst, parent, job hunter, retiree, you will see the world differently. You’ll understand better how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed. You’ll see why failing a test is the best way to learn and why frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The podcast was hosted by Linda Yueh.

Subscribe to Intelligence Squared Business (Apple | Web | RSS).
Download David’s book Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World (WebLibro.fmAmazon | Audible)

MIT – Business Process Design for Strategic Management

By Education & Training, Simon Says No Comments

MIT Sloan School of Management

I’ve recently completed an Executive Education program via the MIT Sloan School of Management on Business Process Design for Strategic Management. This was a really interesting program that covered Dynamic Work Design, Structured Problem Solving (e.g.), Designing Work (and the workplace) for People, and Visual Management. Special thanks to my employer, Glencore Copper Assets, for putting me through this one. Read More

The Einstellung effect

By Business & Administration, Simon Says No Comments

Have you ever worked with someone who’s brilliant in their field, however has been completely unable to find and develop creative solutions to problems? It could be a brilliant surgeon who’s been promoted into a leadership role and is stumped by administrative problems, or a cook trying to prepare a meal using ingredients they’re unfamiliar with, or an engineer trying to understand why HR turnover data was unreliable in their civil construction project. Cross-domain problem solving is a widely studied phenomenon, and what you may have witnessed is the Einstellung effect. Read More

Cooking @ Govindas Maroochydore

The best, most simple, foolproof rice

By Cooking with Simon, Recipes One Comment
Cooking @ Govindas Maroochydore

Cooking 40kg of rice @ Govinda’s Maroochydore

Plain rice is a staple for millions of people all over the world yet some still struggle with this simple dish. I’ve seen the bottom burned off a plastic dish when rice was being microwaved, I’ve seen rice burned on to the bottom of a pan on a stove top, and I’ve seen still crunchy rice come out of a rice cooker.

I cooked rice professionally every day for years – from single cups of the grain at home, to literal tonnes for food distribution programs. There are a few simple, yet key, principles to follow when preparing rice. Stick to these and your rice will be perfect every time.


General Principles

1

Use long grain rice

For daily use I prefer jasmine rice, and I use basmati rice for special occasions of if I'm after something a little more sturdy as an accompaniment.
2

Always add fat

Rice is sticky, and sticky rice burns. Always fry your dry rice in a fat of your choosing prior to adding the water. At home I use Nuttelex as it's vegan and works well, however butter and ghee are popular.
3

Always add hot water to hot rice

Always have your hot water ready to add to your hot rice. Never add cold or luke-warm water to your rice.
4

Never check your rice whilst it's cooking

Don't be tempted to lift the lid to "see how the rice is going" or to "give it a little stir". There's no need, and you need that heat to stay trapped to help with the cooking.
5

Cook for 20 Minutes

20 minutes is the standard cooking time for plain rice, whether you're cooking 1 cup or 100 cups. As you get familiar with your favourite rice brand you can experiment with adding or subtracting a minute or two on either side to obtain the texture that you like, however 20 minutes is the foolproof standard.

Fancy-up your rice

Always fry your dry rice in a fat

There are plenty of small adjustments you can make to “fancy-up” your plain rice. Some are:

  • Add some turmeric to make your rice yellow. The rice accompanying my Vegan Palak Paneer has turmeric for this reason.
  • Add some spices that suit your main dish if you’re serving rice as an accompaniment. A couple of cardamom pods adds a beautiful and delicate floral element, kalonji (black onion seeds) adds almost no flavour but has a great colour contrast, and cumin seeds add a great earthy element that goes well with many Indian and African dishes.
  • Instead of salted water, use stock of your choosing. This will add a more robust flavour to your rice and is great if you’re serving the rice on its own.

The best, most simple, foolproof rice recipe

The best, most simple, foolproof rice

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 2x saucepans

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup long grain rice Jasmine or Basmati preferred
  • 2 cups later
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fat Nuttelex, or butter/ghee if you take dairy

Instructions
 

  • Add the salt and water to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Whilst the water is coming to the boil, in another saucepan melt the fat and gently fry the rice until the grains begin to become translucent.
  • Slowly poor the boiling salted water over the rice. Be careful as the hot water will cause the fat to spit.
  • Put on a tight-fitting lid, turn the temperature down to the lowest setting, and cook for 20 minutes.

Notes

To make more or less you simply multiply the quantities.
  • 1 part rice to 2 parts water is the key.
  • 1 tsp of salt per cup of dry rice, or 25 grams of salt per kg of dry rice
  • 1 tbsp of fat per cup of dry rice, or ~70 grams of fat per kg of dry rice
Keyword Comfort Food, staple
LSAY Infographic

25 years old: Longitudinal surveys of Australian youth

By Education & Training, Simon Says No Comments

The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) data set is now twenty five years old. Incredible! The survey and data is administered by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) on behalf of the Federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment and includes some really interesting information. LSAY has been following Australia students’ transitions from compulsory schooling to post school education and into employment. Twenty five years of data is summarised in the infographic below.

Read More

Vegan Italian Red Sauce

By Recipes No Comments

Two staples in our household, particularly with two small children, are pizza and pasta. This vegan Italian red sauce recipe is incredibly quick and easy to whip up in the thermomix, and uses pantry staples that you’ll most likely already have on hand.

This recipe will make enough sauce for four pizzas, or pasta to serve around eight people. I usually make this up on a Sunday and freeze it in four separate containers or bags. Its a lifesaver having this on hand when you’re tired and the kids are hungry.

If you like you can “hide” some veges from the kids in this sauce. I’ll often add carrots and zucchinis to the mix. I just up the quantity of herbs to compensate for the additional volume.

Vegan Italian Red Sauce

A quick and delicious vegan Italian red sauce that freezes well and kids love.
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 16 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 People

Equipment

  • Thermomix

Ingredients
  

  • 1 400gm Can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 Brown onion
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Place the onion and garlic in the bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7.
  • Add the Olive oil. Saute 5 min/Varoma/Speed 1.
  • Add the tomatoes. Saute 5 min/Varoma/Speed 1.
  • Add the salt, pepper, and herbs. Saute 5 min/Varoma/Speed 1.
  • Blend 60 Sec/Speed 10 (slowly increase to speed 10).
Keyword Vegan

Use this as a pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or really anything where a tomato sauce is called for. Lunch today was some fettuccine from the pantry, the vegan Italian red sauce, and some mushrooms. I sauted some mushrooms in a frying pan with some olive oil whilst the fettuccine cooked. Once the mushrooms were done I stirred in the vegan Italian red sauce from the freezer and added the pasta. Delicious lunch ready in ten minutes.

Palak Paneer

Vegan Palak Paneer

By Recipes No Comments

In 2016 my wife bought a thermomix for our kitchen. When I found a little time to myself I decided to try converting one my favourite traditional recipes. The title says Vegan Palak Paneer (vegan spinach & cottage cheese), however a more correct title is Vegan Sak Paneer (vegan greens & cheese) as it’s not just spinach greens included. To make this recipe vegan friendly I’ve used firm tofu instead of paneer, and coconut yogurt instead of sour cream. The coconut yogurt works wonderfully in this recipe, and the firm tofu is delicious if you take the time to treat it well and shallow-fry it nicely. The only other item that I modified was the use of powdered spices instead of whole spices – this suited the cooking process in the thermomix.

Anyhow, my recipe conversion worked a treat.

Palak Paneer

Vegan Palak Paneer

A delicious vegan take on one of the most popular Indian dishes
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 People

Equipment

  • Thermomix

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Bunch Silver beet
  • 1 Bunch Course greens (something with a stem you can keep on)
  • 1 Bunch Fresh coriander
  • 1 Bunch Fenugreek leaves (or 5tbs of dried leaves)
  • 2 Green chillies
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Red capsicum
  • 1 Fresh ginger (about an inch piece)
  • 5 Garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp Oil (plus some oil for frying the tofu. My preference is rice bran oil)
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Garam masala (or your preferred spice blend)
  • ½ tsp Red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 200 grams Firm tofu
  • 150 ml Coconut yogurt (plain)

Instructions
 

  • Place the onions and oil in the bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 9
  • Saute 5min/Varoma/Speed 1
  • Add the garlic and the ginger to the bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 9
  • Saute 2 min/Varoma/Speed 1
  • Add the tomatoes to the bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 9
  • Saute 3.5 min/Varoma/Speed 1
  • Add the turmeric, garam masala, chilli powder, half the sak (green leafy vegetables), green chilli, and ½tsp salt to the bowl. Saute 5 min/100/Speed 1.5
  • Add the other half of the sak. Saute 5 min/100/Speed 1.5
  • Blend 15 sec/Speed 9 (slowly increase to 9)
  • Add coconut yogurt to bowl. Saute 5 min/80/1.5 (reverse)
  • Cube the tofu and shallow-fry in oil (I fry just the top and bottom so there is still a nice white colour around the sides of the cube)
  • Slice the capsicum into strips and shallow-fry in the leftover oil
  • Poor the sak mixture into a serving bowl and stir in the tofu cubes and capsicum strips
Keyword Comfort Food, Vegan

You can serve Vegan Palak Paneer with rice or breads (chapatis, naan, etc.). I served mine (below) with mustard and turmeric rice, mango pickle, and plain papads.

Palak Paneer