Monday, November 7, 2011

Indian Bonanza Part I: Vegetarian Korma & Crispy Tofu

You'll have to come back for part 2 to learn about the bhendi and garlic naan.
The other day I noticed something was amiss with my cooking lately. I hadn't made a vegetarian meal since I moved to Texas (despite what you might have heard, they don't actually force you to eat meat here), so I decided to remedy this with a good old fashioned Indian feast. After the Kaya Toast appetizers, I knew I had go all out to even hope to have the rest of the dinner at a close level of delicitude, so I made the amazing cashew curry known as korma, bhendi, crispy tofu and fabulous garlic naan.

Vegetarian Korma
Servings: 4-6
Time: 60 minutes

Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 potatoes, cubed
8 baby carrots, peeled and sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 oz tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp ground, unsalted cashews
1 cup green peas
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
Sriracha sauce for spice
Cilantro for garnish

  1. Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for another two minutes.
  3. Mix in the potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, tomato sauce, curry powder and cashews and stir for until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Stir in peas, bell peppers, salt, sriracha and heavy cream. Cook covered at a low simmer for at least 10 minutes (but the longer you give it the more the flavors can develop).

Ever since the first time I had korma at Tara's Himalayan Restaurant, it instantly became my favorite. The cashew based curry is by far the premier dish to dip your naan into (just pretend you're carbo loading for a big race and keep eating). It has all the perfect combination of veggies and the right amount of creaminess to bring an entire meal together. If you're not a fan of tofu, you can substitute seitan into the dish for your veggie protein. Just add it at the end right before you cook it covered. It has a great texture to go with the dish.

Crispy Indian Tofu
Servings: 4
Nutritious and fun for building things
Time: 90 minutes (60 inactive) 

1 (14 oz) packet firm or extra firm tofu
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste

My sweet tofu drainer
  1. Squeeze the excess juice out of the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels and placing it between two plates with a weight on top (just use a can of food). Let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Cut the tofu in half then make approximately 2 cm cubes.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a ziploc bag then add the tofu and coat evenly.
  4. Let marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425.
  6. Bake the tofu on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes, turning once midway. 
  7. If you don't want them crispy stop now, but if you do (and you should they're way better with a little texture) broil them for 10 minutes.

I've never been a huge fan of tofu because it's fairly hard to give it any flavor or texture (although it's great in tofu kale lasagna). Since I couldn't find seitan at HEB (shockingly it has a very small vegetarian "meat" section), I figured I'd give tofu another shot and found this wonderful recipe. Broiling it at the end is key to give it that crispy exterior that makes it much more pleasing to the palate. Although it did have good flavor to it, I would recommend doubling the spices in the marinade to boost it even more. The nice crunch paired quite well with the creamy korma to provide a solid first half to the Indian Bonanza.

Stay tuned tomorrow to learn how to make a delightful tower of garlic naan!
Judging by Alexis' plate, I'd say the meal was a success.

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