Last Saturday, I had a craving for a spicy curry which refused to go away. A hot spicy, coconut based, chicken curry. Well, I had decided I am switching to being vegetarian for a while, so I had to put on my thinking cap to decide about a vegetarian ingredient able to stand up to the spice and layers of flavor offered by curry. Potatoes, Chickpeas, all were out. So in walked Tofu. I figured extra firm could stand to all the boldness. I just had to tweak the curry a bit. I must say it turned good enough I simply had to share the recipe!
Coriander seeds 1 tblspn
Grated fresh coconut 1/4 cup
Black peppercorns 5-6
Cinnamon stick 1/2 inch
Red onion 1 medium
Garlic 3 cloves
Cumin seeds1 tspn
1 to 1-1/2 Green bell peppers, chopped into inch size pieces
1 cup extra firm tofu, cut into inch size cubes.
Roast coriander seeds. Add cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns, roast for a couple minutes. Keep aside. Roast coconut add curry leaves and roast for a couple minutes more. Fry onion and garlic keep aside. Add all the above ingredients to the blender and grind to a smooth paste. You can add upto 1/2 cup of water.
Heat 1/2 tblspn oil (I used olive oil) in a pan, fry the tofu till the surface of the cubes become brown. Take the tofu out, onto paper towels. To the pan, add 1 tblspn oil, when oil is heated, add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start changing color, add the green pepper and fry well in high heat. Turn the heat to medium, add the ground paste, and enough water to make a thick gravy. Add salt to taste. When the pepper has softened, add the tofu. Simmer for a bit. Serve with hot rotis or hot basmati rice.
If you'd like it spicier, add a tspn of red chili powder to the cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns and roast for a bit.