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Tofu vindaloo

Tofu vindaloo

Tofu vindaloo

Given how notoriously bad I am at following recipes, I have never really been into cookbooks. Sure, I had a few of them; the heavy, hard bound ones that were stacked high in the discount section of a bookstore (remember those?); the ones that promised to teach you everything about soups, cookies, Thai cooking and low-carb recipes. I would take them out occasionally, mostly just to ogle at the pretty pictures and promptly put them back in their shelves. When it came to looking up recipes, I almost invariably surfed the web or got inspired by a TV show and then put my own spin on it in the kitchen. That’s how I have learned to cook and that is still my preferred method of rustling up a dish.

However, of late, I am getting increasingly fond of buying cookbooks and actually following through with the recipes, (with just the slightest bit of tweaking, of course!). I bought Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking just after we moved into our new house and I absolutely love the recipes in there! They all seem approachable and not too complicated and I love the ease with which the dishes come together.

Since The Professor could not have the pork vindaloo that I made a few weeks ago, I decided to adapt the lamb vindaloo recipe in the book and use tofu instead. This vindaloo is quite different than the one I made earlier – while the previous one had an intense vinegary spice paste as its base, Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe uses a lot more mustard and is cooked in coconut milk. Now, I have never had vindaloo in Goa, so I have no clue which one is more authentic! What I can tell you though, is this – it tastes a gazillion times better than the “vindaloo” you get in US restaurants. Seriously, make either one of these recipes and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

Tofu vindaloo

Tofu vindaloo

Tofu is quickly becoming one of my favorite proteins, especially now that you can buy the “super firm” variety in the grocery store. They hold their shape when you saute them, get nicely browned at the edges and have a lovely chewy texture when they soak up the sauce. In fact, this texture is very, very similar to paneer and I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy having them! The tofu in this dish soaks up all the flavorful sauce that comes from combining a fabulous spice paste and coconut milk and ends up deliciously soft and chewy in the center with a crusty outside! Don’t be worried about the tablespoon of cayenne that this recipe calls for – vindaloo is meant to be a spicy hot dish! Besides, the coconut milk and the heavy cream both mellow it out quite a bit, so if you are feeling adventurous, go for it!

Here is the recipe -:)

Tofu vindaloo

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking

Ingredients

14 oz. organic super firm tofu, gently pressed and drained of excess moisture, cubed

3 tbsp grainy mustard

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp cayenne pepper powder (this will make the dish quite hot, adjust according to taste)

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

8 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press or smashed into a smooth paste

1/2 tbsp ginger paste

13.5 fl. oz. full fat coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt, to taste

 

Method

1) In a large saute pan, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom and turn it on to medium heat. Saute the cubes of tofu until it gets lightly browned on all sides. Take out the tofu cubes with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2) In the same pan, add a bit more oil (if needed) and saute the onions along with some kosher salt until they are nicely browned. Be patient, this is going to take a few minutes!

3) While the onions are sauteing, get the spice paste ready. In a small bowl, add the grainy mustard, cumin powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, white vinegar, garlic paste and ginger paste and a big splash of water and mix well. When the onions are browned, add the spice paste to it and saute for a couple of minutes. Don’t let the spices burn! If needed, add another splash of water in the pan and keep sauteing.

4) Add the coconut milk along with a little bit of water and mix well. Gently simmer the sauce on low heat for about 15 minutes or so, until you cannot taste the rawness of the vinegar in it. Add the tofu and simmer for another 5-10 minutes on low heat, until the sauce gets the desired thickness. Add the heavy cream, if using. Check for seasoning. Add the chopped cilantro and immediately serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!

Tofu Vindaloo

Tofu Vindaloo

 

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