Sunday, 22 March 2015

Mattar Tofu

I'm so envious of people who can just wing it when it comes to spices.  With spices, especially in Indian cooking, I need to follow the recipe like a robot. I'm scared of making adjustments, because I'd mess up the harmonious balance of flavors.  Indian cooking's difficult and I'd argue that it's one of the most difficult cuisines to cook.  Using 7 different spices in a dish and creating the perfect symphony of flavors where all of them sing individually and together is a skill I yearn to have.  I have a very well stocked cupboard with all the lovely spices but I'm just lazy to cook Indian food because I hate following recipes so strictly.  Well, we all have to start somewhere.

The only thing I did differently here from the original recipe is tha I used tofu instead of paneer.  I'm having a bit of a dairy overload.  I went back to Italy two weeks ago and I'm not exaggerating when I say I brought back over a kilogram of cheese.  I never have cheese at home because I just consume it all too quickly but I couldn't help myself when I was in Italy.  And since then I've just been snacking on cheese every time I pass by the fridge.  I swear it helps me sleep.  I've been eating cheese before I sleep every night for the past two weeks.

But I just couldn't buy more cheese.  My flatmates will kill me if I start taking up another shelf in the fridge with cheese as well.  I swear I'm eating the cheese all as quickly as possible just for them.
As the original recipe describes, Mattar Paneer is a "traditional Punjab dish with a fantastic combination of sweet, fresh and spicy flavours".  Yes, it's delicious.  Must be a lot better with paneer than with tofu because the paneer adds that sweet rich creamy touch.  So if you're not on some special diet I beg you to stick to paneer.  Tofu's still pretty good though.

Recipe adapted from The Guardian
Serves 4
7cm root ginger
250g frozen peas
400g tofu
oil for frying
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

Pat the tofu dry with kitchen paper and cut into 2cm cubes.

Finely chop the ginger, or grate, or put it in a food processor.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan, enough to come up to a few mm.  When hot, shallow fry the tofu until golden brown on all sides.  Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.

In a separate pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil and when hot add the whole cumin seeds.  When brown, reduce the heat and stir in the tinned tomatoes.  Add everything else, except for the tofu and the peas.  Mix well and cook for a few minutes before adding the tofu, peas and 250ml of water.  Increase the heat and bring it up to a boil, then reduce the heat again and leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes, uncovered.  Season to taste.

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