Sunday, 25 November 2012

Kashmiri Masala Tofu, Take 2

Recipes are not static. They evolve, and they change as you learn about new ingredients and new cooking techniques. I've blogged about my favorite go-to curry before, but like any good old recipe, I ended up tired of always making it the same way and had fun throwing a few different things in it.

Recipes (mine, and everybody else's) are not gospels. Quantities can be changed, spices can be omitted, ingredients can be substituted. That's what's awesome about cooking: unless you are baking (and therefore conducting a chemical experiment requiring great precision), you can be as creative as you like. Make a recipe one way today, then make it with different veggies tomorrow. Just taste as you cook; trust your taste buds, nose and eyes.

No one's perfect, and everybody cooks duds every once in a while. Everybody burns food, cuts fingertips, ruins cooking pots. It is not a tragedy, and despite how I feel about it when it happens, no one dies from fucking up dinner. Cooking means learning from your mistakes as much as it means enjoying your success.

Enough philosophy! Here is my re-vamped Kashmiri Masala tofu!

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup Kashmiri Masala paste
1 pound tofu, pressed and diced or cut into small triangles
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup plain yogurt (optional)

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Fry the garlic, ginger, onion and bell pepper in a glug of oil.

When the onion is soft and golden, add the curry paste, and mix well so that the onions and bell pepper 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, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced a bit. Bring the mixture to a boil, give the mixture a good stir, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt (if using) and serve with basmati rice.

This curry never fails to be satisfying and filling: big chunks of veggies and tofu in a fragrant, spicy sauce; can't go wrong there! This version has red bell peppers, giving it a lovely crunch, and the extra diced tomatoes make it super-saucy. With the cold days right at our door, the vitamin C from the bell peppers and the powerful immune boosters and anti-oxidants of the ginger, garlic and other spices will be much appreciated by your body! Use cubed chicken breasts instead of the tofu for a meaty bite; just let it simmer 25 minutes instead of 15, to make sure the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Have fun with your recipes: the only risk you are taking is being pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

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