Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back in the kitchen

...after nearly a month of not blogging and hardly cooking.  It's not that I didn't cook at all, but on the rare occasions that I did, I simply replayed favorites like the sweet potato spinach praram and pasta salad or just made a plain Greek-style spinach and feta salad.  The rest of the time, when I wasn't up for making anything, it was either frozen dinners or chips and hummus.  Clinicals are over, and I've had a little more time to cook this week.  That's a good thing, because I'm back to having a lot to work with and not a lot of time before it goes bad. 

Bring on the Indian (-style) food.

Yesterday I dispensed with a couple of carrots and a big bunch of cilantro by making something like chickpea soondal but with carrots and cilantro and no coconut.  Easy peasy.  I was afraid that the big bunch of cilantro I had would be too much for two chopped carrots and one can of chickpeas, but it actually came together really well and the leftovers were just as good in today's lunch.  I cooked up just enough brown rice to mix with both of the generous helpings I got from it.

Tonight I made palak tofu.  The inspiration was actually a frozen dinner that Steve buys sometimes called Mattar Tofu.  It's a vegan version of mattar paneer that uses tofu instead of the cheese.  Well, I just happened to have an unopened bag of spinach and half a block of tofu leftover from the last time I made the praram, so I made the palak tofu using those ingredients plus a few seasonings I always have on hand:

3 tablespoons canola oil
3 dried red chilies, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ginger paste
9 ounces fresh spinach
1 onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder (medium hot?)
8 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced into 1-inch squares

Heat the oil over medium-low heat, add the next three ingredients and saute until fragrant (just a few minutes). 

Meanwhile, puree the spinach and onion in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add to the ginger-garlic mixture in the pan.  Add salt, curry powder and tofu, stir well, cover and cook until onion flavor no longer overwhelms the dish, about 15 minutes.  (Avoid the temptation to over-salt it before it's done; the onion flavor will cook out.)

Serve over rice.

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