ClevelanDish

A Guide to Dining, Eating and Cooking in Cleveland, Ohio

Adventures in Indian Cooking… April 1, 2008

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:

Mattar Tofu

Ingredients:
2 12-oz cans Del Monte diced tomatoes, pureed
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
canola oil
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.

Advertisements
 

Keep Me In Touch: Touch Supper Club March 16, 2008

Touch Supper Club

2710 Lorain Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44113

216.631.5200

Touch is a dance club known for its DJs and the Old School Hip Hop Night, a monthly throw-back to the height of 80s hip-hop music scene. On its website, this Ohio City spot bills itself as a “supper club” but I’d never seen anyone eating the food there before, so I assumed it would be your typical sub-standard bar food.

But what we didn’t know was that not only does Touch have a decent menu, but after a recent dining extravaganza there, they have my vote as one of the top 10 restaurants in Cleveland.

Touch’s menu features extensive wine and beer menus, including a wide variety of Belgian beers on tap. The entrees, generally nouveau american, ranged from roast chicken or pork filet to a burger.

I ordered and highly recommend the “Mac and Cheese,” which elevates the bland everyday dish to the opposite extreme. It balances the creamy Vermont cheddar and Cottswold cheese with nice cubed Taso ham and sweet green peas. Its leftovers even made an excellent breakfast the next morning!

I also highly recommend the hamburger, which comes with thin, crispy homemade Belgian frites and a homemade ketchup had me rethinking Heinz as my number one ketchup of choice.

Before dessert he brought us a very cleansing little amuse-bouche – a mini dish of homemade vanilla ice cream with a blood orange reduction sauce that was just right to cleanse the palate before our desserts arrived.

We ordered the Berries Foster dessert, a variation on Bananas Foster – that included delicious fresh berries over vanilla ice cream with a brown sugar, rum and cinnamon sauce.

Our attentive waiter was extremely knowledgeable about the food, wine and beer selections and was more than happy to answer questions and make recommendations for us. In short, eating dinner there was a like a really nice dream.

The one thing I will say, though, is that they need to update their restrooms. Somehow at a place that serves such amazing food, when you walk into the restroom it’s like using the restroom in a remote log cabin.

But other than that, every aspect of the evening was perfect, from the moment we walked in to the last bite of dessert.

Touch Supper Club in Cleveland