Spoiler Alert: I am not vegan. Neither is my family. I mean for the past one month I have been trying to stay away from any kind of processed sugar or carbs. And I am actually proud to say that I have very successfully been able to stick to it. But that’s as far as I can go when it comes to diet control or rather a “diet cleanse”! But I have to say this book by my dear friend Richa of Vegan Richa can very well turn me into a vegan.
OK, another confession, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen although is Richa’s first cookbook and her next one is coming out soon (which I cannot wait for!) but I started cooking with it a few months back. And very soon it has become one of my favorite cookbooks. Being someone who really enjoys her meat, dairy and poultry I was skeptical whether the book will make me feel comfortable or not, as a lot of the vegan ingredients were alien to me. But Richa made the recipes and the ingredients so accessible and simple. I’ve cooked a lot from this book and most of the recipes are quicker to fix than you’d imagine. Another positive for a busy working mom like me.
Tofu Pasanda, is one of our family favorite from this cookbook. A take on a traditional Chicken Pasanda this recipe is made gluten free or even soy free if using hemp tofu. Its creamy and rich with the use of poppy seeds, coconut milk gives this dish a refreshing sweet flavor and hearty with the mixing of sunflower seeds. We make this dish almost every other week and it being simple to put together makes weeknight dinner a delight. Try it! Also check out Richa’s blog for thousands of amazing vegan recipes.
Cooking oil- 2 tsp
Extra firm tofu- 14oz (cut into 3/4 inch cubes) pressed in a kitchen towel for 10 minutes, or hemp-tofu
Garam Masala- 1 tsp
Ground Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp
Red Onion (chopped)- 1 cup
Garlic (chopped)- 4 cloves
Ginger (chopped)- 1 inch knob
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds- 1/2 tsp
Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds- 2 tbsp
White or Black Poppy seeds- 1 tsp
Tomato (chopped)- 1 cup
Coconut milk- 3/4 cup
Water- 1/2 cup
Sweet Paparika- 1/2 tsp
Cayenne- 1/4- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 3/4 tsp (or more to taste)
Sugar- 1 tsp
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed tofu, garam masala, and cinnamon and cook until lightly golden on some edges, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, clove, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato and cook until saucy, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Mash the larger tomato pieces.
Cool the mixture slightly and transfer to a blender. Add the coconut milk and blend into a smooth puree. Add the puree to the skillet with tofu. Add water, paparika, cayenne, salt, and sugar. MIx well. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens and tofu picks up the color of the sauce, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste and adjust teh salt and spices, if needed. The sauce needs t be cooked well to cook the poppy seeds which are somewhat grassy tasting when raw. Cook longer until the sauce tastes flavorful and creamy without any grassy aftertaste.