Monday, 10 October 2011

Kashmiri Masala Tofu

Punk Housewife will go through a little revamping quite soon: my friend and photographer extraordinaire, JD, took some rather brilliant pictures of me in my lovely kitchen. They will soon be on this little blog's background. As fun as it was, please don't imagine I usually cook in such fancy outfits; it's more often jeans and Threadless t-shirt than a cute dress and platform heels. But it was awesome!

Now while he took those pictures, I couldn't just stand there and be pretty, so I got busy and whipped up a lovely Kashmiri Masala tofu for my awesome crew! Although, I confess I did make them chop the onions, for fear that I would ruin my make-up. And need I say I loved watching them do it! I took care of everything else, and JD took great pictures of that, so I will show them off along with the recipe, because they really are beautiful shots. I wish he could take pictures of every meal I cook so that I could post them here, but I imagine his living in my kitchen might upset his fiancée...

I have my gorgeous Russian boyfriend to thank for my appreciation of curry. I can't handle as much spice as he can (freakin' ex-smoker stainless steel taste buds...), but the comforting heat and flavors of a lovely tomato-based curry such as this one are a constant hit with me. I have not yet attempted to make my own home-made curry paste, but it's high on my to-do list. In the meantime, I use Patak's pastes. One little jar contains enough paste to use about 4 times, and I have yet to be disappointed with the different kinds I have tried. Some grocery stores carry them, but if you can't find it at yours, hit a gourmet or Asian market.

Kashmiri Masala literally means "blend of spices from Kashmir"; this paste is mainly chile and garlic. I doubt the tofu is traditionally Indian, but it goes oh so well here, as it absorbs the flavors of the paste in chewy little bites of spicy goodness. The yogurt at the end is optional; it softens the heat without drowning the flavor, and makes the texture creamier. You can either mix it in at the very end like the recipe says, or dollop a spoonful or two on top before serving.

I love this curry recipe because it is very simple and basic; it's my "I-dunno-what-to-cook-but-want-something-tasty-that-can-be-made-with-the-almost-nothing-left-in-the-fridge" solution. And as we are now moving in the colder months of the year, a little spice is never a problem. It is not my spiciest curry, but dose the paste carefully if you don't want to cry while enjoying your plate.

Kashmiri Masala (for 4 to 6):

1 clove garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon Kashmiri Masala paste
1 pound tofu, pressed and diced or cut into small triangles
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cups water
1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Fry the onion and garlic in a glug of olive oil. When the onion is soft and golden, add the curry paste, and mix well so that the onions are coated in the paste. Add tofu, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tofu is slightly browned on a few sides. Add the tomatoes, and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced a bit. Carefully add the water, give the mixture a good stir, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt and serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

If you are going to substitute the tofu for chicken or lamb (two delicious alternatives), add the tomatoes when the meat is browned, and simmer until cooked through and tender, so you may need to adjust your simmering time. I would say 25 minutes for chicken, and 30 to 35 minutes for lamb.

As you can see, JD is an amazing photographer! Check out his website! He rocks!

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