Hi everyone nomoshkar and welcome to Curries With Bumbi. Today I will be making the vegan version of what is essentially known as matar paneer in India. Matar is green peas and paneer is cottage cheese but since I am doing the vegan version I will be using tofu, as I know I have many friends on my channel who are vegan.
It is quite simple and easy to make requiring a few basic ingredients .So let’s get started. Start by heating a pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil in it. Here I have some chopped onions, garlic, a green chili and some chopped ginger.
Add them all to the hot oil. Just roughly chop all these vegetables as everything will be going in the blender later on. Fry on medium high heat till the onions become pale in color. Then I added a chopped tomato, sprinkle some salt.
Stir till the tomatoes turn bit soft. You do not have to make the tomatoes too soft. Take them out in a bowl now and allow them to cool down before blending. After they cool down satisfactorily put them in a blender jar, add a little water and blend to a smooth paste.
The paste must be smooth like this. Now I will be using that same pan as who wants to do so much of washing after cooking so I wiped it out clean with a paper towel. Heat your pan on medium high heat , add 2 tablespoons of oil and add the tofu pieces.
Cut the tofu into medium sized pieces. Before that I washed the tofu with water and wrapped it in paper towels to soak up that excess moisture. Please watch my tofu butter masala recipe where I have explained in details how to prepare the tofu before cooking.
Lay out the tofu in a single layer and fry them in batches if all the pieces do not fit in your pan in one go. You do not need to fry them too much, just give a minute or two on each side. Turn them when you see them getting that little shade of brown.
I fried the tofu in two batches. Once you are done frying take them out in a bowl. Then I added 2 more tablespoons of oil. Once the oil heats up lower the heat to the lowest possible mark and add cumin seeds.
As soon as you see them spluttering, add some kashmiri red chili powder and immediately add the blended onion tomato mixture. For any type of Indian cooking, remember to lower the heat of your stove to minimum while adding any whole spices or dry spices.
Like while you are adding your red chili powder, keep the blended tomato mix ready in your other hand so that you can pour it immediately after adding the red chilli powder. This will prevent the spices from burning.
Then my no wasting policy again comes into the scene as I added some water to my blender jar to get out all that paste till the last drop as some of you know that I have to do that. Coming to the dry spices now.
Turmeric powder without which Indian cooking will remain incomplete, coriander powder for that citrusy earthy kind of fragrance, salt and sugar to balance out flavor. Give a mix. As the sauce is quite thick so be careful from those spluttering bubbles and to avoid that cover your pan for 5 to 6 minutes.
From time to time uncover and give a stir so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. You can add a splash of water if you see your sauce is drying up too much. Next I pushed the sauce to one side of the pan and added a teaspoon of oil.
To this I added a teaspoon of tomato paste. This gives a nice flavor as well as color to the curry. If tomato paste is unavailable then you can even use 2 tablespoons of tomato puree or you can use 2 large tomatoes instead of one in the beginning when we added the tomatoes to the onions.
Okay so everything looks well fried now so I added about a cup and a half of warm water. I like using warm water as it speeds up the cooking process but you can use plain tap water if that is more convenient for you.
Once the gravy comes up to a boil add the fried tofu and the green peas. I am using frozen peas but you can use fresh ones if it is available at your place. Then cover the pan and let it get cooked on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.
From time to time in between uncover, just give a stir and cover again . After 10 minutes let’s see what’s happening in that pan. I added little water as I felt the gravy was getting bit dry. Then I added garam masala powder.
Garam masala is added at the end to maintain that maximum flavor. And finally some freshness to the curry, roughly chopped coriander leaves. This tofu curry goes very well with roti, naan or even plain rice.
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