Vegetable and Tofu Masala

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I like to experiment with spices when I cook and I often use big quantities of it. The Indian kitchen is one example that has everything that I look for when it comes to cooking and eating. Indian cuisine has a very nice balance of flavours that I appreciate. It is sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty. I also like the fact that many of spices used has beneficial health qualities.

For this recipe I have made my own masala which is a blend of spices. The blend I have made for this dish resemble the famous spice blend Garam Masala. This is not a quick weekday recipe in it’s original form but there is a short cut if you would like to shorten the preparation time. The trick is to prepare the curry paste ahead and store it in the fridge. You will then have shorten the prep time with at least 30 minutes. The curry paste will stay fine in the fridge for up till five days.

If you, like me, are a big fan of curries I urge you to make this dish. Once you have gotten the hang of it you can adjust the spices after your own flavour and choose the vegetables that you prefer. The tofu is both marinated and baked in the oven before it is added in the curry but you could also add the tofu directly without either marinating or baking it. If you prefer your tofu with more flavour you should follow the recipe below but if you like it more plain you can just skip the tofu prep part. Using plain tofu together with beforehand made curry paste will make this recipe quick and very suitable for a weekday.

I suggest you eat your Vegetable and Tofu Masala together with rice, millet, quinoa or chapatis (Indian wholegrain flat bread). It also tastes great with some pickles or chutney.

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Vegetable and Tofu Masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red pepper
  • 2 small green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 100 g frozen chopped spinach
  • 7 dl /3 cup water
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vinegar

Curry Paste

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 millilitre ground clove
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorn
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil (or more)

Tofu

  • 400 g unflavoured firm tofu
  • 8 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 tbsp water

Method:

1. Dice the tofu and place it in a jar with a lid. Add the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and water (it should cover all the tofu). Close the lid and turn it over a few times. Let the tofu marinate for at least half an hour and continue to turn it over every now and then. The longer you leave it the more flavour it will absorb. Take the frozen spinach out from the freezer and let it defrost on a plate.

2. Heat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Remove the tofu from the liquid and place it on a baking tray covered in baking paper. Bake the tofu dices in the oven for 2o minutes and turn them over once in a while. When they are done you take them out and set aside.

3. In the meantime you prepare the dry spice mix. Use a pestle or a coffee grinder to grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and the seeds from the cardamom pods into a ground powder. Set aside in a bowl and add the rest of the dry spices except the salt.

4. Chop the onion, garlic and ginger in small pieces. Dice the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a pan and start by frying the onion on medium to hight heat. When it starts to get a bit of colour you lower the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Fry for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes. Let it simmer until all the water has evaporated and then you add the dry spices and let them fry along for a couple of minutes. Remove everything into a food processor (or you can use a hand blender) and blend until you get a roughly mixed curry paste. If you want to prepare ahead you can save the paste inside the fridge and use it within five days.

5. Cut the peppers in moderate chunks. Place the curry paste in a pan, add water and salt. Give it a good stir and bring to boil. Once it is boiling you lower the heat and add the vegetables (spinach and pepper). Let it simmer until the pepper has become soft but not over cooked. Finally you add the tofu and your Vegetable Tofu Masala is done. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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