I don’t know about you, but despite how geographically challenged I am, I’m still map-obsessed and can happily look through a world atlas for hours on end. It was with a fiendish curiosity that I tuned in to a travel documentary the other week that was loosely based around India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Naturally, they had a segment dedicated to the countries’ traditional cuisines and this pretty much had my mouth watering. Fast-forward a couple of days and I was in the kitchen figuring out my own recipe adjusting spices according to what I found to be the tastiest. And here’s the result! Happy cooking! And happier eating!
4 big vine tomatoes 3 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup finely chopped peeled shallots (about 3 medium ones) 1 Tbsp minced or finely grated peeled ginger 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped 2 green chillies – I like hot ones – finely chopped 1 tsp ground turmeric 1 tsp coarsely ground cumin 2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp salt 700g (1pound 8 ounces) potatoes (salady waxy type so they hold together), peeled and cubed 400g (14 ounce) can chickpeas 1 cup water 1 cup coarsely chopped coriander 300g (10 ounces) tofu, cubed 150g (5 ounces) baby spinach Masses of coriander (a cup or more, at least, chopped) Rub for the tofu: 3 Tbsp vegetable oil ½ tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp turmeric 1 tsp garam masala ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Bring a pot of water to the boil and carefully put the tomatoes in, count to 10, then lift them out with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. This will make them waaaaay easier to peel, so the curry won’t be left with tough bits of skin floating on the top! Once they cool a bit, peel them and cut out the bottom core part, then chop them up, but not too fine.
2 Heat oil in a deep pan over a medium heat and add the shallots, ginger, garlic, and green chilli. Revert to a low heat and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s really important to use a big deep pan here as this is what the curry is going to be cooked in and we gotta fit in all those ingredients!
3 Add the spices and continue frying for a minute, not much longer, as then they could burn, and all we want to do here is open them up to maximise their full flavour potential.
4 Add the tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas, salt and water and bring to a gentle bubble. Lower the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
For the tofu:
1 Drain the tofu and give it a gentle ring and pat dry – you want to get as much water out of the tofu as possible to limit the potential spitting in the pan when we fry it. Once sufficiently dry, cube into inch-sized chunks, or whatever.
2 Mix the spices, salt and pepper together and rub into the tofu. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and add the spiced tofu immediately. Fry until golden on the bottom, then turn the pieces over with two spoons and fry until all is golden and crispy. And smelling good!
3 Remove the pieces of tofu from the pan and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt, then leave until the potatoes are tender.
4 When the curry is ready, add the spinach and chopped coriander and stir through until the spinach has wilted. Garnish with tofu and more coriander. Serve immediately ‘cos you’ll be hungry!
Store ginger in the fridge wrapped in paper towels. The paper towels absorb moisture and stop the ginger from getting moist and rotting.
This is a good dish to have prepared in advance as you can get the curry cooked, tofu fried, and when you’re ready, all you’d need to do is heat it up and chuck in the spinach and coriander. Easy as!
This curry is quite substantial in itself because of the carby potatoes as well as the proteins – tofu and chickpeas – but if you want to bulk it up even more, just serve it with a good spoonful of rice, or with naan bread.