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 cuisine of the country. Each of the 29 states have their own cuisine and some regions within the states also have their own cuisines. Imagine all those plant 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 sauce has some specific spices and ingredients, which give it the texture and flavor. You can omit the ingredients you do not have on hand. The sauce is usually served with Paneer cheese or meats. I used a Hemp-Tofu block (Tofu made of Hemp seeds, yup, no Soy!). Each 8 oz pack has 30 gms of protein! This curry is loaded. Or use chickpea-tofu from my book to make soy-free.
Like the pasanda sauce, there are many such complex flavor sauces that are generally served over meat or paneer, but hey, all the flavor is in the sauce! So use it with anything, veggies, beans, tofu, tempeh. It is difficult to name most of these sauces/curries. Most of them end up being called creamy 🙂 But believe you me, they taste and feel very different.
There are several ways to make the sauce. This version is nut-free, uses pumpkin seeds to add the richness. You can also add kofta balls (veggie “meat” balls) to the curry.
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.
Cook the hemp-tofu with spices.
Cook the curry ingredients, then blend and return to pan with the tofu.
Cook until thick and aromatic.
- 1 8 oz pack Hemp-Tofu cubed 1/2- 3/4 inch cubes regular or Chimicurri flavor, or use Firm Tofu, pressed and cubed
- 2 tsp oil use less or more to preference
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 inch ginger chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 clove
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds or sunfllower seeds
- 1/2 tsp white or black poppy seeds khus khus
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne or to taste
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
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 saucy. Mash the larger tomato pieces while it cooks.
Cool slightly and blend to a smooth puree with a 1/2 cup coconut milk. Blend well until the poppy seeds break down.
Add puree back to the pan. 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 sauce thickens and the tofu picks on the color. 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.
Serve hot with rice/quinoa, flatbread, Naan.
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.
Nutritional information based on one serving