Monday, November 14, 2011

Indian Night!

Tonight was Indian food night at my house! Yum! I have had the cookbook 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer for quite a while but never made anything from it. So I decided to finally give two recipes a go. I am trying to make a conscious effort to use some of my more neglected cookbooks so good for me! This is a pretty awesome cookbook by the way. Although it is not vegetarian, there are hundreds of vegetarian recipes. Included in that number are about 30 pages of paneer recipes, which in vegan translation means 30 pages of tofu recipes. Awesome.

On to the food. I decided to make the Punjabi dum Aloo (Baby Potatoes with a Carmelized Onion Sauce, p. 554) and the Simia Mirch Paneer (Cashew Cheese with a Bell Pepper Sauce, p. 289).

The potato recipe consisted of baby potatoes cooked in a sauce made of red onions and tomatoes, and was seasoned with Serrano chiles, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. I’m not going to post the potato recipe because I didn’t change much and also because the recipe was very time consuming (about 90 minutes). Although these potatoes were very good, I don’t think they were 90 minutes good. If you know what a mean!

The Paneer (read: tofu) recipe, on the other hand, was out-of-this-world delicious. I changed quite a bit about this recipe, including adding coconut milk. This makes a lot of sauce for the tofu – I think you could double the tofu or add veggies here if you would like. If there is one recipe I hope you will try on this blog, it’s this one. Yes, it’s that good.

Simia Mirch Tofu

¼ cup raw cashews
2 medium yellow or red bell peppers (about 12 oz), chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 serrano chiles, not seeded, sliced
6 cardamom pods
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
½ cup full fat coconut milk
12 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls rice vinegar
1 tlbs peanut oil
Cilantro, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine cashews, bell peppers, onions, chiles, cardamom pods, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cubed tofu with soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl. Toss to coat and allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add marinated tofu and fry until browned on most sides. Remove from heat.

When bell pepper mixture is done, puree until smooth with an immersion blender or blender. If using a blender, be careful! Hot liquid + blender = potential explosions!

Pour blended sauce back into saucepan. Add salt, cayenne, coconut milk, and tofu. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Taste for salt.

Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro if desired.

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