Here’s a dish I fell in love with a few years back at an Indian restaurant. I was blown away by how creamy and nutty and delicious it was. So when I turned vegan it was on my to-do list of dishes to recreate.
I love making this dish for my girlfriend – she’s not a fan of spices so its mild spices are perfect for her tastebuds. The cheesy paneer is a winner straight away. This is a lovely change to korma when your guests don’t like to stray far from the creamy path.
200g firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp gram flour
2 tbsp cornflour
Neutral oil, for frying
60g cashews, plus 60ml water
2 tbsp ground almond
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
160g chopped tomatoes
2cm fresh ginger, peeled
2 cloves garlic, chopped
180ml coconut milk, refrigerated
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)*
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch of salt and sugar
Neutral oil, for frying
Getting it made and into your mouth
Soak the cashews in water for half an hour.
Wrap the tofu in kitchen roll or a tea towel and press for 20-30 mins to drain any excess water, Unwrap and cut into medium cubes. You should get around 16 cubes.
Mix the lemon juice, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, gram flour and corn flour in a bowl. Add the tofu pieces and mix well. Let them marinade for 15 mins, then shallow fry in neutral oil until all sides are golden brown. Remove the tofu from pan drain and set aside.
Puree the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, ground almond and nutritional yeast with half the water in food processor or blender. Add slightly more water if needed to get a smooth puree.
Heat neutral oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.
Add the mustard seeds. Once they start to pop, add the asafoetida, coriander, cumin and garam masala. Fry for 1-2 min, stirring constantly.
Next, add the tomato puree, bay leaf, tomato paste and turmeric. Mix well, bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce partially covered, stirring occasionally, until sauce becomes thick.
Add remaining water and continue to stir for 5 minutes.
Blend the cashews with the soaking water in a food processor until smooth. Add the coconut milk and blend again.
Add the cashew mixture to the pot ,along with the tomatoes, spices, salt and sugar.
I like to add a bit more ground almond and nutritional yeast at this point, but play it by taste.
Mix in the fried tofu cubes.
Serve with rice, peas and onion bhajis. Garnish with coriander.
*Asafoetida (or hing) is a yellow-coloured spice with a very strong smell. It’s super healthy and an amazing spice to add to your Indian dishes. You only every need to use it in small amounts but the flavour that it adds will set your dishes apart from the rest.