Indian Peas and Tofu Curry~ Matar Tofu

As the name explains for itself, this Tofu recipe is a pure inspiration from the popular Indian Matar Paneer ( peas and Indian cottage cheese in a creamy tomato gravy). I have to admit that the more I explore with tofu now, the more I fall in love with the diverse ways it can be used.

I still remember the first time I had made Tofu and have no shame in admitting that it was so horrid that my taste buds literally went on strike. 😀 But now I feel so much more confident with a sense of knowing better how to play around with tofu. 🙂

This recipe is super easy with the least amount of ingredients and time, not to mention that it is pretty low on oil, has the richness of tomatoes and the double dose of protein coming from the peas and the tofu together. It goes great with Indian flat or stuffed breads as well as rice.

To make this is all that you will need :-

  • 1 packet tofu – well drained and dried
  • 3-4 chopped boiled potatoes (optional)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of green peas
  • 1 1/2tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/4 tsp of corn starch
  • water for gravy
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil

Spices:

  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of asafeotida powder
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp of garam masala powder
  • salt and sugar to taste
  1. Drain the tofu well in advance. I prefer to make it a little drier by leaving it in the refrigerator for 3 hours at least. This makes it more firm and prevents it from breaking.
  2. Cut the tofu lengthwise to make cylindrical pieces or as you desire. You can also lightly toss them in oil and keep them aside. I however like it as it is. 🙂
  3. In a blender, add chopped tomatoes, ginger and the green chilies and blend it into a puree. This is what will make the gravy.
  4. Heat some oil and add the tempering of the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, asafoetida and cumin seeds.
  5. Once it starts to so splutter, add the puree mixture to it. Mix well and cover for a minute or two.
  6. Now add the other remaining spices- turmeric, coriander & cumin powder, salt and sugar to taste. Mix well and let it cook covered on medium to low heat for 5-7 minutes to infuse the spices well into the puree.
  7. Add some water and continue to stir the gravy for another 3 minutes and then add in the chopped potatoes (optional) and the peas and cook covered for another 5-7 minutes.
  8. Add the cornstarch mixture to the gravy to add thickness to the gravy and gently throw in the tofu pieces and mix well.
  9. Stir carefully not to break the tofu allowing to cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Finally add in the garam masala powder and chopped cilantro to complete this recipe 🙂
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All ready to be served 😀 

P.S: I hope you enjoy this traditional Indian curry with a twist and would love to have your views and feedback. Until then happy cooking and healthy living. 🙂

Pic Source : Directly from my kitchen♥

 

Creamy Spinach & Tofu Curry

One of the most popular vegetarian dishes that have ruled the Indian Cuisine across time unrecorded is the Spinach and the Cottage Cheese Curry, popularly known as Palak Paneer.

With its origin in Punjab,the northern state of the Indian subcontinent, this dish has had a history of a long list of fan followers. I have to admit that this dish is one true example of taste and flavors of the Indian spices, so well combined that it magically brings out the best of the two individually bland tasting prime ingredients – Spinach (Palak ) and Indian Cottage Cheese (Paneer).

Yes, I remember this is my devoted happy vegan blog and I have been bragging about diary cheese here. Sorry, it isn’t my fault. This gravy recipe is a show stopper of its own kind. And so, now to the facts- I will be honest to accept that I had been craving for this curry for quite sometime and how silly of me for not even thinking of the Spinach and Tofu curry or rather the Palak Tofu Curry. 🙂

It has taken me quite a few attempts to understand how to use the Tofu, while the world was making miracles this ingredient. 🙂 And I should be humble to share the open secret of always draining the tofu well before they can be cut into cubes for any of the recipes they are meant to be used and if they can be tossed, you are surely a better step ahead. 🙂

Coming to the point, here is this quick recipe that makes each spice so worth of using it.

What would you need? (makes for 4-6 people)

  • 2 bunches of spinach leaves
  • a packet of Tofu (firm or extra firm)
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 tbsp of the ginger & garlic paste
  • 2-3 Green chilies- chopped and slit, (depending on how hot your chili is or as per your taste)
  • 1 red dried chili
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of garam masala powder
  • pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt and more as per taste. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar ( you can omit adding sugar, but I prefer balancing the taste with salt and sugar combined. 🙂 )

To Simply Prepare :

  1. Thoroughly wash and drain the spinach leaves.

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2. Chop the onions and the green chilies.  🙂

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3. Once the Tofu has been well drained squeezed of the excess water, cut them into small cubes and and mildly toss them in oil and then keep aside.

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4. Now to prepare the gravy, heat oil in a vessel and once ready, add the red chili, the cumin seeds and a pinch of asafoetida and wait a second or two till it splutters. Now add the chopped onions and the chili and keep cooking on medium heat.

5. Add the ginger garlic paste and the first batch of salt to soften the onions quickly.

6. Once the chopped onions are almost translucent, add the spinach leaves into it along with the turmeric. Reason for adding the turmeric at this point is because of it’s natural antibiotic properties, we want it to cook along with the spinach leaves.

7. In say 5 minutes, you would see the spinach softened and reduced to half in comparison to what it was initially looking like. 🙂

8. Now in a regular or a hand blender, blend this partially cooked mixture of spinach and onions and churn to see to see the creamy gravy. Yay! 🙂

9. Add 2 tsp of oil in the pan and now add the rest of the spices – cumin, coriander and garam masala powder and then add this creamy, highly rich and green gravy into the spices and stir in well. You would want to check the seasoning here once and accordingly add salt and sugar to taste.

10. Add the tossed tofu pieces into the gravy and cover it, allowing it to cook under cover 😉 for low heat for 7-10 minutes allowing the flavors to seep in the tofu, adding 1/2 cup of water.

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11. Traditionally, Ghee or clarified butter or butter is added to garnish this dish, which we can conveniently replace with a spoon of vegan butter. 😀

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12. And finally you are done. ♥

IMG_4583  Serve it hot with white rice or with any Indian flat breads of your choice and cherish the taste and health of spinach and tofu.  Enjoy!

 

Hope you relish this simple twist to this traditional rich Indian cuisine as much as I and my family did. 🙂