A plant-based delight!
With a blender, some minor chopping and love over the stove, your taste buds will delight in the flavor of this Indian Butter Tofu dish.
Adapted from New York Time’s Cooking. While the protein here is tofu, you can substitute any protein of your choosing (chicken, shrimp, etc). The ingredients of this Indian Butter Tofu may look quite large, but it’s mostly spices, and I encourage you to use what you’ve got and like. As always, do you boo!
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 tablespoons ghee, unsalted butter (1 stick) or plant-based butter (vegan-friendly)
- 1 yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon ground chile powder, such as cayenne (omit if you do not like heat)
- 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
- White rice for serving
Drain water out of tofu by wrapping in paper towel and placing a heavy object, such as a cast iron skillet, on top of tofu to press out the moisture. In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, cumin and 1 heaping tablespoon turmeric with 1 tablespoon water to make a thin paste. Pat the tofu dry and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Add it to the turmeric marinade you just made, and gently stir to coat. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Good job.
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil. Add the onions and chile powder (optional), and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Practice being present in this process and really savor the experience of cooking for yourself. Lower the heat to low, add the butter, ginger, garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, gently crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you go. Add the cinnamon stick, paprika and sea salt along with the remaining 1 teaspoon turmeric. Cook until the tomatoes and onions break down and the sauce is the consistency of a thick ragù, about 10 minutes.
Blend with an immersion blender, or transfer sauce to a blender and purée until smooth. Return to the pot. Gently stir in the coconut milk and the marinated tofu. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, until the tofu has taken on the color of the sauce and is flavored all the way through, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally but gently, so the tofu doesn’t fall apart.
Finally, plate the tofu and sauce over white rice, and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro.
Enjoy this home cooked meal. I personally made this during a time of transition and introspection. The warmth of the dish, and cohesive flavor felt both healing and invigorating. I hope you can find comfort in the food you are eating.