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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Kale Cutlets ~the Queen of the Greens

When, “where do you get your nutrition from?” is the most popular questions for vegetarians and vegans alike these days, nature seems to have thrown the answer to us, just in time and that too in abundance ~ KALE.SONY DSCKale is topping the charts in terms of whole food nutrition and pretty much flooding the green grocery section as the show stopper. Well, if we were to discuss the benefits of this leafy produce that belongs to the cabbage family, to enlist that here, would be a mere dishonest job on my side.

5279419_origHowever , I just cannot emphasize less to modestly mention it’s power when it comes to it’s carotenoid nutrient, that supports eye health and even can improve glaucoma and promising doses of Vit K,calcium, magnesium, potassium, omega 3, folates, protein, iron, phosphorus, the B family of vitamins & fiber. Phew! I am sure , I still may have missed some here.

While Kale can be consumed in the form of a salad, even these steamed Kale cutlets here are not a bad variation at all for a change in taste, for treating guests with a healthy starter option, or just to prepare them in advance and store them in the freezer and toss out a patty once in while. Quite a few options here 🙂

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of kale
  • 2-3 boiled potatoes
  • 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
  • 6 Tbs of dry roasted chickpea flour/gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp of carom/ajwain seeds
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bread crumbs to coat and shallow fry.

To Prepare:

  • Blanch the kale leaves in hot salt water until soft and blend it in a blender.
  • In a hot pan with a tsp of oil, temper with carom seeds and ginger garlic paste and add the kale puree to it and mix well.Add the spices and stir until the excess water dries out and keep aside.
  • Dry roast 6 tbsp of gram-flour in a vessel and keep stirring gently to avoid it from burning or over roasting.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the seasoned kale, mashed boiled potatoes, the roasted gram flour and knead it in a consistency that helps you make small cakes out of it. The gramflour and the potatoes both help in keeping the kale together.
  • Cool this mixture completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Your mix is now ready to be used right away or for a cold ‘stored away’ to be served later. 🙂
  • Scoop a a large tbsp of the mixture and make small patties pressing against your palms. Roll them into the breadcrumbs and shallow fry them, flipping gently on both sides.

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Serve hot with a dip of your choice or simply with some classic ketchup.♥

Hot, Creamy & Healthy Tomato Soup ~ my mom’s way

The cold strong breeze has struck and the chill has set in. Admist all of this, what strikes me most is wanting to spend fewer hours in the kitchen and prepare a meal that is warm, delicious and of course a healthy one.

This creamy homemade tomato soup is my Mother’s recipe. I fondly remember her making this during the winter holidays along with some croutons that I used to call as bread crumbs and a spoonful of butter floating valiantly in the off-white ceramic soup bowls. We all were such a huge fan of her winter break tomato soup that no other could satisfy us more.

With some warm nostalgia and for the love of her recipe here is the ingredient list:

  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small cinnamon stick broken down into pieces.
  • 2 tsp of cornstarch
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • some water
  • oil
  • 1 tbsp full of coconut cream(optional)
  • some croutons and vegan butter/ grated cheese for garnish

To Prepare:

  • Poke the tomatoes with a fork and put them to boil with some salt for 20-25 mins on medium heat.
  • Once soft and mushy, drain the excess water and allow them to cool. Carefully remove the peel and mash them roughly with a fork and keep aside.
  • In a vessel, heat some oil and add the cinnamon stick pieces and the garlic cloves and fry them not turning the garlic brown.
  • To this add the freshly prepared tomato puree, some salt, sugar and freshly ground pepper and cover the lid. Let the aroma of the garlic and the cinnamon infuse with the tomato puree.
  • Keep stirring the mixture intermittently until all the pieces of the tomatoes have blended well.
  • Now add the cornstarch and water mixture and some more water and mix well. Boil until the soup has reached its desired consistency.
  • Check the seasoning and add some sugar to beat the sourness. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper.
  • Add a tbsp of coconut cream to enrich the taste.
  • Your soup is now ready to serve topped with some croutons and vegan butter/ grated vegan cheese.

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A warm dinner for two served with some vegan sausage (coming up soon) and sesame butter toasted bread and a glass of wine. 🙂

I hope you enjoy my all time favorite mother’s recipe too. 🙂 ♥

 

Poppy seed Fritters ~ with onions and grated coconut

“Poppy Seeds” or popularly known in Bengali Cuisine culture as” Posto”, is a very fascinating ingredient  rather spice, that makes itself as a ‘must-be’ in most of the special Bengali culinary events.

Well of course here, they are not used as sedative purpose but its mild flavors and nutty texture is what almost most of the people melt for. In spite of Poppy seeds being dense in calcium,magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and other essential minerals, I am pretty certain, that when added to enrich any cuisine, they are devoured without even giving a second thought to it’s hidden qualities. 🙂

These poppy seed fritters are an excellent and quick item to be served as a starter or even as an accompaniment. The crisp crunch on the outside and the moist onions inside gives your palate an exciting experience of a whole new taste and trust me, you won’t stop munching them. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 -3 tbsp of poppy seeds – available at any Indian store. I use a measurement of 1 tbsp/2 people. Soak them just about enough for 10-15 mins prior to grinding them into a coarse paste.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of desiccated coconut or freshly grated coconut, whichever is more handy to you.
  • salt as per taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of gram-flour (for binding purpose)
  • oil to shallow fry

To Make:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the coarsely grind poppy seeds, the chopped onions and green chilies and the gram flour to make smooth & thick consistency.
  • Add salt for seasoning and as per your taste.
  • Heat enough oil in a non stick pan for shallow frying.
  • Once hot, take a portion as much as a tablespoon can hold and gently shaping it, release it into the heated oil. Ensure to fry these fritter on low to medium flame so that they cook through.
  • Flip sides when golden brown and they are ready to be drained of any excess oil and good to be served hot. ♥

These fritters can be a good change for a starter menu or just enjoyed over some hot chai. and lots of chit-chat. 🙂

 

 

Savoury & Crunchy Peanut Sago ~ Quick Breakfast Fix

Sago or the Sabudana is a very popular food ingredient in India and there are so many interesting ways of preparing them, that I still have a long way to go as I have just begun exploring it.

They serve as an excellent source of food nutrition for kids, aged people or those who are on fast because they are so easy to digest and yet filling. Being extracted from the cassava root, these are shaped in lump forms, roasted and dried and are easily available in all Indian stores across everywhere. Sago

These need to be soaked for atleast 6-8 hours/ can be soaked overnight for ease of access during the morning rush hours and you are so good to go for a tummy filling, lip smacking breakfast experience.

To Make:

For a breakfast of two:-

  • 1/4 cup of dry roasted peanuts, crushed in a blender. You may crush the peanuts with their skin as this adds a very nice brown color to the sago.
  • 2 -3 small potatoes diced into small pieces
  • you may choose to add more veggies of your choice. 🙂
  • 2 green chilies chopped or as per your desired taste
  • 1 cup of sago/sabudana washed and soaked overnight ( remember they double in quantity when soaked. 🙂 )
  • 1/4 tsp of red chili powder to add some color not heat. 🙂
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • around 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of coriander powder
  • some lemon juice &
  • freshly chopped cilantro for refreshing garnish.
  • oil to cook (of course 😉 )

To Prepare:

  • Drain the soaked sago well and add the crushed peanuts to it, sprinkle some salt and red chili powder and mix well so that these spices coat the sago well.
  • In a non stick pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil.
  • To that add the cumin seeds and let them splutter and roast for a second or two.
  • Now add the chopped potatoes and the green chilies and fry them well.
  • Add some salt, some coriander powder, remaining of the red chili powder and the sugar and cover it and cook on medium flame allowing the potatoes to cook.
  • Once they are almost done, add the marinated sago and mix well along with the other ingredients and cover it for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  • You will now notice , the sago turning soft and translucent in color and that is when you are sure your dish is almost ready to be served. YAY! 🙂
  • Squeeze some lemon juice and add the chopped cilantro.

Next ⇒ SERVE & ENJOY ♥

This quick simple sago recipe is such a must try if you want to cook up something hot and savoury for the chilly winter mornings as a breakfast or as an evening snack and get tempted to try it more often. 🙂

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♥

 

Healthful Thai Curry

My husband and I are happy foodies and we keep making detailed plans where and which restaurants to hop and explore. Round the corner special occasions can just double our intentions or else we just make it special…simple.

So it was on our first wedding anniversary that we happened to visit a Thai restaurant and I have to admit that I was blown away with the mild yet overly perfect subtlety of all flavors immersed in the natural bliss of coconut milk. It has been since then that this has been my listed favorite veg/vegan gravy recipes of all time.

Not only is it healthy, delicious and an open scope to add all that your heart wants, it is time saving and a sure hit for parties (specially when you have friends coming over who do not consider vegetarian or vegan items as delicious and just consider them as difficult items to prepared. This is a totally ‘turn around of opinions’ dish.)

So coming down to the preparation story, I am a free bird when it comes to adding as many veggies as I have in my stock and evade limitations as much as possible. 🙂

For my version of this personalized and bountiful Thai Curry, here below is :

The veggie list:

  • a medium sized onion diced into chunky pieces
  • 8-10 baby carrots
  • chopped cabbage leaves (no cabbage at home, chop up some lettuce leaves. Afterall the best outcomes arise with innovations 😉 )
  • 6-7 chopped mushrooms
  • diced pieces of cucumber (say half of it)
  • some chopped pieces of pineapple
  • some broccoli florets
  • half of a capsicum, diced
  • a cup of frozen mixed veggies
  • 8-10 pieces of Tofu (drained, cut into small cubes and mildly pan fried)

For preparing the gravy:

  • 2 1/2 tbsp of the Red Thai paste ( you may choose the red or the green as per your preference. I love both of them)

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  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • and 1 cup of water

From the Spice Rack:

  • Salt 
  • and Sugar as per seasoning
  • pepper just to add some flavour
  • 1 tbsp of olive or regular cooking oil

To begin cooking:

  • Heat oil in your pan. Add the Thai curry paste to the hot oil and stir in.
  • Mildly fry the onions first in the paste and gradually start adding the vegetables one by one with the mushrooms being the last one to go in. This will prevent them from over cooking.
  • Now mix all the veggies well such that the curry paste coats them well enough to allow its flavors to get into them.
  • In a bowl pour the coconut milk and water and stir.
  • Add this mixture to the vegetables to make the gravy. If you want a thicker gravy, you can add a tsp of cornflour to 1/2 cup of water and add this mixture into the gravy. I generally prefer a  moderately thick curry.
  • Its now time to add the drained and pan fried tofu cubes in the gravy. Add your seasoning of salt, sugar and a pinch of pepper and cover the lid and allow to cook on low -medium heat for another 10-12 minutes and you will just know when you are done.
  • In the end, squeeze and add a tsp of lime juice and your ready to garnish and serve this superbly healthy, all veggie, customized Thai curry.

Serve it with hot plain, basmati or jasmine rice to woo over friends who believe that vegetarian or vegan friendly food is all boring. And for you, you needn’t hit the restaurant each time you run out of time or crave for a Thai curry dish.

This has been the third time in a row that the bowl has been almost swiped off clean by my guests and nothing could have made me happier. 🙂

 

 

P.S: I am an Indian and this may not be the perfectly authentic Thai curry, but surely food is tastier when you add your passion, love and instincts into it and you can take my word for that. 🙂