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♥

 

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Simple Tofu Tikka Masala

This vegan side is an inspiration from the typical and popular Indian Paneer Tikka Masala recipe.  Paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese is such a popular vegetarian ingredient that it’s probably the first protein providing item that strikes every possible mind when it comes to vegetarian eating. I am so glad that additional to plant based milks, Tofu has too gained a substantial ground in vegetarian/vegan eating, not to mention how much a healthier version it is by itself.

The ‘Tikka Masala’ concept as I understand, involves an aromatic marination of the key ingredients, tossing or shallow frying them and using them in a thick and lip-smacking gravy and it also means that I could not have waited any longer. 😀

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of extra firm tofu – pressed, drained and cut into medium/large sized cubes
  • 1 green bell pepper- diced
  • 2 medium onion- 1 diced and the other chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes – pureed
  • 2-3 green chilies split (optional)
  • 1 cup soy curd
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder ( for color)
  • 1 tsp garam masal powder
  • 1/4 cup of cashew paste- (soak cashews in water for 30-45 mins and grind them in a blender to form a rich white paste)
  • water 2 cups
  • salt as per taste
  • cooking oil
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

To Make:

  • In a deep mixing bowl, add the curd, the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1 tsp of the turmeric powder, ginger -garlic paste and mix well to prepare a batter.
  • To this batter add the the diced capsicum, the onions and the tofu cubes and coat them well leaving it for at least 30 min to marinate.
  • In a shallow pan, add some oil and place the bell peppers, onions and the tofu cubes, frying them on both sides and then keep them aside.
  • In a frying wok, add a tbsp of oil. To that add the chopped onions, some salt and saute until soft.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes & the split green chilies to the saute onions and mix well.
  • Add the cashew paste, remaining red chili powder,turmeric powder, garam masala powder and 1/2 -1 cup of water. Mix all well and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • After this add the kept aside fried tofu, bell pepper and onion cubes and the remaining batter if left to this gravy, some water and allow it to boil till the gravy begins to thicken. Check the seasoning to suit your taste of salt and you are done. 🙂

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Adding freshly chopped cilantro enhances the taste of this simple yet rich Indian- Vegan version of the Tikka Masala recipe and it goes extremely well with white rice, pulao, Indian flat breads and so much more. 🙂

Enjoy ♥

Vegan Malai Tofu Kofta Curry

‘Malai Kofta Curry’ is a very popular Indian vegetarian dish and also one of the most popular items to be ordered while in any Indian restaurant. Cutlets or Koftas made with seasoned & mashed cottage cheese/paneer and soaked in a rich creamy gravy of tomatoes, onions blended in aromatic spices, enhanced with rich cashew paste and adorned with milk cream is what in short, the paneer malai kofta is best described. Its a delicious accompaniment with rice and flat breads both.

With the temperatures cooling down, I have been craving for this the way my Mom used to make it and serve it hot chapatis or flat breads as said. But since cottage cheese is out of the question now, I am so glad that Tofu has replaced it many ways and besides that, nothing else has actually altered much, for this lip smacking side dish.

Ingredients To Make:

makes for 4-6 members

  • 1 Packet of organic firm tofu
  • 3-4 medium sized boiled potatoes
  • 2 large onions chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2-3 large tomatoes chopped (for the gravy)
  • 2 inch grated ginger or 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 3-4 green chilies or as per taste

From the Spice Rack

  • 1/2 cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 /2 tsp red chili or paprika powder
  • 1/4 and 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of gram flour or chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup cashews soaked in water and churned into a paste in a blender.
  • some crushed cashews and raisins for the cutlets (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Salt or per taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or per taste

To Make the Tofu Cutlets

  • drain the tofu well and get rid of all excess water and crumble all of it with your hand.
  • mash in the boiled potatoes into the crumbled Tofu.
  • add the 1/2 tsp of all the above mentioned spices- cumin, coriander powder, red chili powder, salt, garam masala and the gram flour into the mixture.
  • You may also add some chopped cashews and raisins for a richer flavor but it is purely optional if you are not much of a sweet tooth fan for savory dishes.
  • Knead a rough dough by mashing and mixing all the ingredients well. The gram-flour here helps to bind the mixture so that the cutlets do not break off while frying.
  • Once done, make small round cutlets, flattening the top of it and shallow fry them in a non stick skillet unless both sides turn golden brown.
  • gently remove them from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil.

For the Creamy Gravy:

  • In a non stick vessel heat some oil.
  • Add the cumin seeds and as they start to splutter add the 1/2 tsp turmeric and red chili powder and the remaining 1 tsps of cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar.
  • Mix well and then its time to add the chopped green chilies and the onions, garlic and ginger paste and saute until soft and almost cooked.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well on medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
  • Add some water and keep mixing for another 5-7 minutes until the onions and the tomatoes are properly combined and soft.
  • this almost smooth gravy now needs to be transferred into a blender and churned to make a rich paste.
  • Add the blended gravy back to the pan, add some water and cover it with a lid to simmer.
  • Meanwhile blend the soaked cashews and as it now transforms into a delicious milky paste 🙂 add this to the gravy cooking in the pan and stir it in to combine well.
  • Check the salt and sugar seasoning –  the taste of it is pretty balanced with no individual flavor overpowering the other.
  • You may now add the garam masala powder and add some vegan butter instead of the ghee.
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  • Traditionally, milk cream is used to garnish the dish with tempting white strokes but the easier alternative here is coconut cream that does equally well. I din’t have one handy so I chose my garden green chilies for the garnish. 😉
  • Tip: Avoid soaking the cutlets in the gravy while it is still piping hot or else they tend to break. Transfer the gravy in your serving bowl and add the cutlets once the gravy is comparatively cooler or while you heat it up before serving it to family and friends.

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Tadaa…The outcome is definitely a more healthier, “veganised” version of the traditional paneer malai kofta and a show stopper for those who are yet to believe in the power of tofu. 😀

Served best as an accompaniment with hot rice or chapati/flat breads.

Pic Source : From my Kitchen with Love♥

 

Sweet & Sour Tofu with Vegetables

Going back to my love for Chinese meal preparations, especially with an Indian touch, I remember loving the flavor of the the sweet and sour vegetables and so it is while remembering this flavor, is what inspired me to cook this lip-smacking side dish. And so glad I nailed it. 😀

This preparation is simple, hassle free, quick and ‘finger-licking’ good. Do you need anything else ? 😛

Not only does this need less time, it can be cooked up with an assortment of some vegetables staring you back in your refrigerator and yes of course some well drained and dried Tofu. 🙂

What all you would need ( for a preparation of 2-3) : –

  • 1 green bell pepper (capsicum) diced
  • 2 big onion cut length wise and chunky
  • Some mushrooms
  • 1-2 Jalapenos
  • 6-8 baby carrots cut lengthwise ( that is what I had in stock- the baby carrots 🙂 )
  • 1 big tomato diced
  • 4-5 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
  • Some slit green chilies
  • P.S: you can also use your frozen veggies if you wish too. 🙂

From your spice rack :-

  • 2 Tbsp of vegetable/ olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • I like adding some sugar for the sweetness. 🙂
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp of Tomato ketchup

To Prepare:

  • Cut the drained tofu length wise and shallow fry them to get rid of excess water. ( I generally place my tofu in between two saucer plates and put a heavy container on top and leave it for 10 minutes for the water to drain out )
  • For the gravy, heat the oil. Once it starts smoking, add the chopped onions and saute for a minute.
  • Add the minced garlic while the onion is still partially raw and saute. This blend gives a wonderful aroma. Add the salt.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and some sugar to beat the sourness.
  • Now add the vinegar and soy sauce.
  • Its time to add the chopped veggies one by one & stir it on high heat.
  • Add the fired tofu in the end to avoid  breaking the pieces.
  • Add the ketchup and sprinkle pepper and cover the lid, on medium heat, for 5 minutes.
  • Check seasoning as per your taste and your quick side is ready. 🙂
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Pic Source: From my kitchen. 🙂 

Taste perfectly well with some veg fried rice, hakka noodles. We enjoyed it with plain rice as well. 🙂 This can be a quick fix for guests coming over too. 🙂

Thank you for reading my blogs. (I mean it with so much love. ♥ ) Hope you enjoy reading and trying this one too.

Happy eating | Happy Blogging my friends.

Scrambled Tofu & Veggies

Running short on time or have you had a busy day or is it one of those when you really do not want to spend much time thinking about cooking or in fact- cook.

I am in this position a couple of times in a week and I worship my mother thinking as to how she would be whipping up a meal day in and day out with a persistent smile, for a big family and two naughty kids (my brother and I). It is then, when I had the enlightening bulb glow inside my tired head. Scrambles 🙂

I remember her doing that. Egg scrambles and Paneer scrambles and we used to lick it up all decent and clean. So since eggs and paneer are out the question and my refrigerator, in comes the TOFU. 🙂

I quickly drain the tofu (pressing in between two saucer plates) and with hopes and anticipation, the pan was now on fire.

Your easy ingredients:

I bring out all veggies I have in the refrigerator. 😛

  • chopped mushrooms- I love mushrooms
  • 1 chopped onions
  • 1//2 chopped bell peppers ( I had the green ones and so used them)
  • 1-2 chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 small bowl of chopped frozen vegetables (easiest)
  • and of course the packet of Tofu.

For seasoning:

  • Salt to taste
  • Ground Pepper 1/4 tsp
  • Vinegar- 1 tsp
  • Soy Sayce – 1 tsp
  • a pinch of turmeric powder

To make:

  • while the pan is on fire. 😉 add a tablespoon of oil
  • add the onions and the garlic and saute with some salt until soft.
  • add the tomatoes and the veggies one by one with mushrooms to go in last if you do not like them too soft.
  • add some pepper, turmeric, a tsp of soy sauce and vinegar.
  • in the next 5-7 minutes , add the mushrooms and crumble the Tofu and add it to the veggies and mix well until it’s water dries out.

10-15 minutes and there you go, a bowl of steaming Tofu and Veggie Scramble is ready to be served with breads, rotis or even rice.

This has been one of my latest quick recreating food try’s that worked out really well for me. Please do let me know about your savior meals. I would really love to know more. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed !

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. 🙂