Monday, April 23, 2012

Indian Tofu/Tempeh/Soy Curls Masala

It's time for me to blog about vegan Indian dishes.  I have done some experiments in the last year or two cooking strong-flavor Indian dishes.  I aimed to make them as good as authentic Indian cooking that Indian house wives make at home or Indian chefs cook at restaurants.  This means lots of spices added to the dish. This means 1-2 tablespoons and not just 1 to 2 teaspoons of spices or even less than a teaspoon.  No siree!  This recipe is for those who love spices like me.  I guess this kind of a warning to those who don't really like too much spices. This recipe may not be for you.

I learned cooking Indian dishes from cookbooks and TV shows.  After searching and trying recipes, I discover that I love Bal Arneson's recipes.  She has a TV cooking show called Spice Goddess in the Cooking Channel.   With a name such as Spice Goddess, she really does put a lot of spices in her cooking.  I like that!  Unfortunately, she doesn't cook all vegetarian or vegan meals so I decided to veganize her recipe.  The recipe below is originally for chicken, named Chicken Masala.  However, I substitute the chicken with tofu, tempeh, or soy curls.  I made it several times now and was never disappointed with the result.

I would also like to share about a cute spice dabba or masala dabba I bought.  It comes with a lid and a tiny spoon (1/4 teaspoon measurement).

My Indian Masala Dabba (from left hand corner, clockwise):  coriander, cumin seeds, chili powder, garam masala, amchur power, black mustard seeds, turmeric
   At first I bought it as a novelty but it turned out that I use it every time I cook Indian dishes.  It is so easy just to take the dabba out and spoon out the spices without searching for all my spice bottles.  It is very handy.

Indian cuisine is my husband's favorite cuisine.  I love Indian dishes too but I still prefer Thai or Vietnamese.  We also love Indian classical music and dance.  Last week was an Indian Culture week for us. Not only I cooked Indian vegan dishes, we also had tickets to attend Anoushka Shankar concert at UC Irvine, promoting her new CD, Traveller.  The first time we were introduced to Anoushka was when we watched Concert For George DVDs.  We were so mesmerized by her sitar skills.  When we learned that she will be playing nearby, we bought our tickets months in advance.  It was a FANTASTIC concert!

Indian Tofu/Tempeh/Soy Curls Masala
Serve 4-6
Veganized version of Bal Arneson's recipe


2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
   Note:  I don't like these seeds whole so I crushed them a bit with a rolling pin. 

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
    Note: fenugreek seeds are pretty strong, a little goes a long way.
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 to 2.5 cups extra firm tofu or tempeh, cubed  OR 2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls
2 cups chopped  fresh tomatoes
2 cups chopped organic yukon gold potatoes, leave skins intact
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
enough non-salty vegetable broth to cover the entire ingredients (about 2 cups)


Put oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chile, and saute for 3 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the coriander seeds, garam masala, paprika, turmeric, and salt and toast for 10 seconds and then add the tomato paste. Stir well and then add the cubed tofu or tempeh or soy curls, combined with all the spices thoroughly.  Add the tomatoes, potatoes, cilantro, and vegetable broth and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover with a lid and let cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked but not mushy. Serve the curry with white or brown rice.  Note: the curry is even better taste the next day when all the spices are absorbed to all the ingredients.

Stay tune for more Indian recipes!


Connie Fletcher said...

WOW!!!! This sounds wonderful!!! Could you please pass me a napkin? I seem to be drooling.....

Carole said...

Hi there, this is a nice post. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. Food on Friday – Asian Food

Anonymous said...

hi. nice recipe. what is tempeh called in india? where can i buy it? couldnt find it any of the grocery stores. is thr any other name for it?

Anonymous said...

When do you add the fenugreek seeds? Has anyone tried this recipe??

Anonymous said...

when do you add the tomato paste? Write recipes much?