I don’t think I blog enough about veganism, given that veganism is such a huge part of my daily life. Therefore I will be adding vegan-oriented posts every so often, from recipes to vegan philosophy to, uh. . .vegan. . . humor? Do we have a sense of humor?
I realized that I think the only time I even mentioned being vegan on this blog was a very unhealthy rant, and usually veganism is one of the bright points in my life, as it touches my emotional, physical, and cognitive selves.
I’m going to kick off this project by posting one of my most successfully veganized recipes, tofu tikka masala.
Tofu Tikki Masala
Cooking Indian food is always challenging for me, both in terms of patience and in terms of sheer willingness to chop so much stuff, organize so many spices, and dirty so many dishes. This tofu tikki is worth any amount of effort, which is awesome because of all the Indian dishes out there it’s not too bad in terms of length of time needed to prepare the dish and the state of the kitchen afterwards. It’s a hearty, flavorful dish that goes beautifully with only basmati rice and a side salad.
The original recipe was from Cook’s Illustrated, and needed tinkering in terms of ingredients (the original contained chicken as the protein, and also sour cream and yogurt) and in terms of methodology.
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. table salt
2 blocks extra-firm tofu (the water-packed kind, not the vacuum-sealed Mori Nu)
1 c. plain soy yogurt
2 tbs. vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tbs. fresh ginger, minced
3 tbs. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tbs. fresh minced ginger
1 jalepeno or serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed if you want it less spicy, minced
1 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. garam masala
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/3 c. plain soymilk
1/3 c. tofutti sour cream
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
For the tofu:
Cut each block of tofu into four equal slices (8 total). I did this lengthwise, so the slices were longer and thinner. Press for 30 minutes to an hour. While tofu is pressing, whisk together the soy yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger. Set aside.
For the sauce:
Heat oil in a largeish pot (I used not my pasta pot but the next size down– you’re going to be making the sauce and then dumping in all the tofus) over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are lighly golden (8-10 minutes). Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant (2 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, stir in soymilk and sour cream, return to a simmer. After it simmers one more time, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
While the sauce simmers, put your oven rack to the upper-middle position (6 inches from heating element) and heat your broiler. While it heats, sprinkle the salt and spices over both sides of your tofu, pat down to get them to stick, and then dredge your tofu in the yogurt mixture to coat it thickly. Put the tofus on a foil-lined (make sure to line it with foil or it will be a bitch to clean later) baking sheet– the kind with edges. Put under the broiler with the door cracked, broil for 8 minutes each side. Tofu will get golden brown and smell amazing.
Let the tofu sit for five minutes or so, then chop into cubes and dump in the sauce. Stir in the cilantro, and then serve over basmati rice.