INDIAN MATTAR TOFU (Spiced Tofu and Peas)
Adapted via Manjula’s Kitchen
Serves: 2 to 4
• 1 (16-oz) package of firm/extra-firm tofu
• 5 tbsp peanut or saffron oil, divided
• 3 medium size tomatoes, coarsely chopped
• 1 small piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
• 1 green pepper (jalapeño), seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
• 2 tsp coriander seeds (originally called for 1 tbsp powder)
• 2 bay leaves (tajpat)
• 1/2 inch of cinnamon stick (dalcheene)
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
• 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon salt, or adjust to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 16 oz. bag of frozen green peas
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the tofu: slice into 1/2-inch slices (horizontally) and place on a cutting board or large plate – place a second cutting board/plate above slices and weigh down with a book or heavy dish; allow to press for atleast 30 minutes. Remove slices from plate and press with a paper towel lightly to remove excess water. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a skillet, and add tofu slices – cook until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes per side); remove from the pan and set on a plate lined with a paper towl to remove the excess oil.
For the gravy: Blend the tomatoes, ginger, and jalapeno in a blender or food processor to make a paste; set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil. If the cumin seed cracks right away, the oil is ready. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon, and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the tomato puree, turmeric, chili powder and paprika; cover and cook until the mixture reduces to half (about 3 to 4 minutes)
Add the green peas and a splash of water; cover the pan and cook on medium heat. When the peas are tender, add the salt and tofu. Make a slurry by whisking together 3 tablespoons of warm water with cornstarch – add to thicken the gravy. Cover the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add more water if gravy is too thick; serve immediately.
Read more about this dish and my musical pairing by clicking HERE.