Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Indian Spiced Tofu

When I decided to start my blog, I knew there were many cooking blogs already out there. I just didn't know how many there were.

In the past two months, I discovered more cooking blogs than I ever imagined existed. I've read entries, apprenticing myself to bloggers who particularly moved me and trying to incorporate elements of their style into my own entries. I've poured over food photography pictures and experimented with angles and light and backgrounds (in some beginning ways).

I've commented on blogs every day. Some days dozens. I realize that I can't expect people to comment on my work if I never post my thoughts on their entries.

And I've been overwhelmed and blown away by the rich community that exists among food bloggers. Bloggers in the same city hold potlucks and get together to share favorite dishes. They honestly publicize their failures, in ways that help others to learn. They cook through cookbooks together, sharing tips and tricks and rejoicing in successes. They challenge each other to try daring new recipes and new cuisines.

The tofu really takes on the spice blend as it simmers in the pan.

And sometimes, they even cook the same recipe at the same time and tweet about the experience! Kayte from Grandma's Kitchen Table invited me to join with her and several other bloggers (Leslie, Margaret, Peggy and Abby). We simultaneously prepared an Indian dinner in kitchens around the country. I tweeted more than I ever have before in my life. I cooked with tofu, which I rarely do, and enjoyed a delicious meal. Best of all, I felt the companionship when I sat down to dinner that Tuesday night.

Indian Spiced Tofu 
adapted from Bal Arneson (Visit the link for a chicken version of the dish)

I pressed my tofu in between clean dish towels. I put a plate on top to weigh it down, and I let the liquid drain out of it for about 30 minutes. I changed the dish towel a few times because a lot of water drained out! Bal recommended serving the dish with rice or roti. I had fresh bread on hand, so I served it with a slice of that. The spices are strong in the tofu, so it's nice to have something more mild to balance it out.

This dish cooks very quickly. I took inspiration from Peter Reinhart. I made a mise en place and ensured I had my ingredients chopped, arranged and ready to go before I started cooking.

1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (I substituted three green onions and two shallots, what I had on hand)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon vegetable broth concentrate (or tomato paste, 2 tablespoons, if you have it on hand)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garam masala (or comparable spice mixture)
1/4 cup yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup water

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Prepare spice combinations in small bowls and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger powder, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion is golden.

Add the vegetable stock (or tomato paste, if using), brown sugar, ground cumin, garam masala, red chili flakes, turmeric and salt, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cubed tofu, and stir well to coat. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring regularly until the tofu is heated through. I left mine go about 8 minutes.


  1. MEP was necessary for this recipe, wasn't it? I can't imagine not having all those spices together before starting on the cooking which went really fast in my opinion. It was such fun having you cooking along this time and tweeting with us...gets a bit crazy, doesn't it?! I was particularly eager to see your tofu in this recipe and it looks good...I am going to have to be more adventurous with tofu and I think with he spicing in this recipe, it was a perfect fit. Looks great!

  2. Thanks Kayte! I rarely cook with tofu, and I just loved it in this recipe. The spices soaked pretty far into the tofu, and it really took on the spicy flavor. It was great with the leftover corn and some yogurt today too. It was great to join you all to cook!

  3. The blogging community truly is awesome and this sounds like such a fun event! I love the sound of this tofu! It's hard to find a really tasty tofu recipe but this definitely sounds like one!

  4. I am so glad you got to join in the fun for our TwitterCook on Indian food. They happen often and are a great way to spend time in the kitchen.

    Have never cooked with Tofu but now may have to try it because it looks so tasty in your dish.

    It is nice to meet you, Katie.

  5. This sounds delicious! I hope I can convince my husband to try tofu, or maybe this will be something for one of the nights he works late.

    It's crazy amazing how every blog leads me to another blog, to another blog, etc. I would get nothing else done if I read all of them I am interested in!

  6. This sounds like a wonderful dish. I normally don't make dishes in which tofu is the main ingredient, but this sounds so good I'll have to give your recipe a try. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. It was a lot of fun to tweet while we cooked. I would love to try tofu in something but I have not a clue what to do with it. Maybe you can give me some tips. Does it taste rubbery? That is what I am scared of. HA

  8. Peggy--Using tofu in this dish couldn't have been easier! All I did was chop it into cubes and throw it in when the rest of you added the chicken. I didn't even have to worry about cooking it through. The tofu wasn't rubbery at all!

  9. Tug's Girl: I also could spend all my time reading food blogs and bookmarking beautiful recipes I want to make!

  10. Your vegetarian version looks great! The food blogging community is fantastic! I've learned a ton and made some friends along the way.

  11. Hi, Katie! I've just been reading many of your past fun to cook with you and to get to know you! =) The tweeting-while-cooking thing is some crazy fun, isn't it? And it's so great to cook with others ~ challenges us to try new things and to get such great use out of our cookbooks, as well as learning about new ingredients and techniques (and blogs ~ I know what you mean: the reading food blogs/browsing for recipes gets addicting, doesn't it?). I see you're a teacher, too...what do you teach? Happy summer! =)