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Archive for the ‘Spices’ Category

Hello! I know I only update this on weekends. Seems I only really cook on the weekend. This makes me sad.

Friday I made a couple dozen pitas. That was actually pretty exhausting. I guess I forgot that when I made them the first time I halfed the recipe. Of course I didn’t remember this until all the dough was made and my phone started ringing about Friday night plans.

Saturday we were going to try saag paneer, but I found a recipe for an African dish, curried spinach & peanut butter, that intrigued me. As the recipe stood though, there wasn’t any real protein source except the scant peanut butter. I wanted to serve it with brown rice and naan (because that’s what I planned to serve the saag paneer with). *Shrug* so I just combined the saag paneer and curried spinach & peanut butter recipes.

This whole dinner was vegan, by the way! Instead of using paneer cheese, I rolled tofu in tumeric and fried it as a substitute. It was delicious!

1. Drain a package of extra-firm tofu. Press it out by wrapping it in paper towels and weighing it down for several hours (so the water *presses* out). I find tofu is less crumbly and easier to fry if you do this. It will soak up more of whatever marinade/spices/oils you’re basting it in also.

2. Drop one large tomato in boiling water for a minute or so. Peel and chop.

3. Chop an onion. Heat oil in a large (large, for real!) skillet and saute the onion, tomato, a generous pinch of salt and two teaspoons of curry paste or powder. I actually ended up adding extra curry powder toward the end because it wasn’t nearly spicy enough for us. I’m afraid the hot boyfriend and I may be develloping a curry addiction.

4. When the onions are nice and sauteed, lower the heat under the skillet a bit and add two pounds of frozen spinach. I thawed it in the sink in a colander and drained it of excess water the best I could first. Stir it up and cook it till it’s cooked! (until it’s hot. Shouldn’t take really long with frozen spinach. If you’re using fresh spinach, you need to cook it till it breaks down.)

5. Take your drained tofu and cut it into small cubes. Roll the cubes in tumeric and fry on each side for a few minutes in a well oiled pan. Take them out of the pan and set aside.

6. Combine a cup of coconut milk and just under 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Stir it up good and then pour over the curried spinach. Simmer for five minutes or so. Check to see if it’s spicy to your liking. If not, add more curry! MMMMMMmmm! When you’ve got it how you want it, toss in the fried tofu cubes.

7. Serve with rice and bread!

Curry Powder

We had some store-bought curry paste in the fridge that needed used up, but there wasn’t enough in the end to adequately spice the dish for us, so we made our own curry powder. Combine equal parts of ground coriander, cumin, tumeric, ginger and pepper. There are other kinds of curry powders you can make. I recommend the section on foodsubs.com for Indian spices.

Naan

Warm a cup of soymilk, add one package of dried yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Set in a warm place for ten minutes or so (until it’s frothy).

Mix 4 cups of all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Turn out on a floured surface and knead it until the dough is smooth and stretchy (about ten minutes).

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise until it’s doubled in size (this took over an hour for me, but I was busy making the rest of the dinner in the meantime).

Preheat the broiler.

Punch it down and knead until it’s smooth. Cut into six pieces and roll them into ovals about 10″x4″. I put two ovals on a piece of tin foil because we have a gas-stove broiler. Put them on greased baking sheets if you have an electric broiler.

Cook under a hot broiler for a few minutes on each side. Naan is a yeast-rising flat bread and it will create air pockets that puff up when you cook them. Check on them frequently so you don’t burn them. They bake quickly!

Dinner

The meal fed five people and then some. Between the curried spinach, six pieces of bread and rice (I made two cups of brown rice), Aaron, Satya, Rachel and Joe and I ate until we were sore from eating. We mostly sat around afterwards to let the saag settle. It was so tasty. I didn’t get any pictures because it was gobbled up before I could grab the camera, but the contrast between the greens and the tumeric-rolled tofu (it was a pretty yellow color) was beautiful!

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