With most of the leftover ingredients from my recent successful foray into Indian cooking calling to me from my pantry, I was again enticed to make something Indian to satisfy my cravings for something spicy.
However, due to a distinct lack of paneer readily available, I decided to improvised and see where I could get with some tofu I bought the other day. I probably broke some big rule about indian cooking, but I made Mattar Paneer with tofu instead of paneer. That’s right: Mattar Tofu.
Mattar Paneer is essentially yummy cheese morsels and peas in an aromatic, flavorful tomato sauce and is generally served over basmati rice. By breaking a few rules, I think I have successfully made a shorter, healthier way of making this yummy dish, by using the tofu instead of the paneer and serving it over whole wheat couscous instead of rice.
Permit me to say a few words about couscous. First of all, it’s ridiculously fast and simple. Boil 2 cups of water, turn off the heat, add the couscous and stir, let it sit for a few minutes, and it’s done! And, perhaps more importantly, Hodgson Mill whole wheat couscous I found has added flax seeds, and 6 grams of fiber per 1/3 cups of dry couscous, which I figure is about a serving cooked. Hello! Much healthier than plain white rice. A reasonable substitution in my book.
Here’s the recipe:
2 12-oz cans Del Monte diced tomatoes, pureed
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 oz. frozen green peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. First thing’s first: cut up your tofu and and puree your tomatoes so they’re ready to go in, because timing is key.
2. Get a few tablespoons of canola oil nice and hot in a very large saucepan or a medium soup pot. Add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon and stir for a few seconds to release the aromas.
3. Add the tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric, chili powder and paprika, and simmer all that together for about five minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced some.
4. Then add the peas and cook them until done, about five minutes more.
5. Add the tofu, salt, sugar, and use the cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken if necessary.
I also added tomato paste because I wanted more tomato. Serve over basmati rice or couscous.
Does anyone else have cravings for Indian food like me? Should I start up Indian Food Lovers Anonymous? Yum.