In the earlier months of our transition to plant based diet, I felt a bit confused, like many other new vegans, about the good number of options and recipes that were basically vegan versions of meat and cheese. I was brought up mostly vegetarian. Our everyday meals were beans, grains, vegetables. So fortunately, what we would eat for lunch or dinner never became a stressful question during the early transition days. Over the months I also realized that the Vegan movement is quite different than the Indian Vegetarian thing, Vegetarian-ism (in India) is usually somewhat religious or something you are born into and just happen to be because of family or community, and not really thinking of vegetarian-izing things. There is usually a conscious reason to choose the Vegan diet, ethics, health, environment etc. Hence, there are several ways to do a plant based diet, with meat subs or without, with or without cheese subs, raw, cooked, mixed, smoothies, different cuisines, and on and on, depending on where(food wise) you come from.
Think of it this way. If most of the country(India) of more than a Billion people eats vegetarian everyday with the major portion of the meals being pulses, beans, grains and veggies. That too without an epidemic of protein, vitamin or other deficiencies. There have to be some good number of options for all those people right. And there are. There is no one Indian food of the country. Each of the 29 states have their own cuisine and some regions within also have their own cuisines. Imagine them whole foods based options!
This week for Veg Week, here is another creamy North-Indian style curry with bold flavors to add to that repertoire of Vegan Indian food. This gravy has some specific spices and ingredients, which give the gravy its texture and flavor. You can omit the ones you do not have on hand. The gravy is usually made with Paneer cheese or meats. I used a Hemp-Tofu block (Tofu made of Hemp seeds). Each 8 oz pack has 30 gms of protein! This curry is loaded.
It is difficult to name the curries. Most of them end up being called creamy But believe you me, they taste and feel very different.
To use any other meat or cheese sub like Tempeh, regular Tofu etc. Spice the sub with garam masala and then add to the curry. You can also add chunky veggies or chickpeas or white beans to the curry. Add potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, baby corn etc at the step when the tofu is added and cook until tender.
There are several ways to make the gravy. This version is nut-free, uses pumpkin seeds to add the richness. You can also add kofta balls to the curry. Crumble up the spiced hemp-tofu and add cashew flour, breadcrumbs/flour, garam masala, garlic, salt, raisins and almond slivers. Bake at 400 degrees to golden and add to the gravy.
More Restaurant style Indian curries from the blog. Use any regular firm or Extra firm Tofu, Hemp-tofu, Tempeh, Seitan or Veggies. All are gluten-free an can be made soy-free with vegetables.
Palak/Saag “Paneer” – Tofu in Spinach curry
Mutter “Paneer” - Spiced Peas and Tempeh
Vegetable Jalfrezi – Veggies in smoky tangy curry
Gobi Broccoli Makhani- Cauliflower and Broccoli in creamy gravy
Tempeh Tikka Masala with Kale
Gobi Mutter Keema – Minced Cauliflower “Meat” in cilantro onion curry.
Mango Curry Tempeh. and more under the Main course India category.
Doesn’t it look like it came right from a restaurant!
Living Harvest has a line of Hemp Tofu with plain, Chimichurri, Spicy Chili Lime and Mexican Chorizo flavors. It is currently available only at Whole foods and will soon be in other stores (in a couple of months). With 30 gms of protein per pack and a good load of Omega 3+6 aminos, this is the soy-free Tofu you should give a few chances to get accustomed to the different texture and taste. I made a Scramble Pizza with the Chili Lime Hemp-tofu, which worked well because of the added flavors and crumbling it up. This curry further masks the texture and flavor. The Hemp-tofu can be crumbly depending on the pack and quite nutty tasting with a distinctive flavor. If you don’t expect it to be like regular Tofu, you might like it more. :). Hubbs is already in love with it and I loved it much more in this curry than regular Tofu.
Living Harvest is giving away 3 coupons for Hemp Tofu to 3 readers of the blog!
If you you do not have hemp-tofu available near by, then Living Harvest will ship a cold pack to you!!
Enter the Giveaway at the end of the post.
Cook the hemp-tofu with spices.
Cook the curry ingerdients, then blend and return to pan with the tofu.
Cook until thick and aromatic.
Hemp-Tofu Pasanda Curry
Allergen Information: Free of Dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast, gluten, nut
1/2 cup red onion chopped
In a pan, add oil and heat at medium. Add the cubed Hemp-tofu, garam masala and cinnamon and cook for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden on some edges. Remove from pan and keep aside.
To the same pan, add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, clove, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes until mushy. Smash the tomato a bit while it cooks.
Cool slightly and blend to a smooth puree with a 1/2 cup coconut milk.
Add puree to the pan again. Add water, paprika, cayenne, salt and sugar and the hemp-tofu cubes.
Mix well. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 15-18 minutes or until the curry thickens and the tofu picks on the color of the curry. Stir twice in between. taste and adjust salt, spice. The curry needs to cook through to cook the poppy seeds which are somewhat grassy uncooked.
Notes: To make this with regular firm tofu, press the tofu and cook tofu exactly as the recipe.
To make this with Tempeh, cook the Tempeh with the garam masala, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of water on medium heat for 10-11 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. then continue with the rest of the steps.
To make with Veggies or cooked Chickpeas, Cook the veggies/chickpeas with the spices in step 1 for 3-4 minutes and keep aside and continue with the rest of the steps. Cook with the curry until tender.
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