Going by the number of tofu recipes on this blog anybody can guess that tofu is something i love cooking ........that too in it's simplest form .....in the form of curries mostly , indianized curries .
A while back i was talking to a good friend whom i have inducted into making soy milk and soy curd and various uses of both these in an essentially Indian kitchen and she told me that she has introduced soy curds into the recipes discreetly as family members may be skeptical even in trying the dishes if they know that it is made with soy milk or curd ...........i see that the recipes were successful in her family but there is still a reluctance over tofu , mainly because the husband tasted the tofu dishes in a foreign land and could not develop a taste for it......once a picky eater always a picky eater......the cook has to become smart....
Soy is healthy choice is something we all know....but it can be a great healthy substitute to paneer in an Indian kitchen we rarely realize . Paneer is a very healthy ingredient no doubt , especially if it is homemade .... but just read the fine print on the back panel of any brand of packaged paneer and you will realize that it has 25% fat in it to make it soft in your gravy.....which is rich n creamy nonetheless. Just think about it when you are on a weight loss diet and want to eat your normal khana , you can't afford to eat that paneer with 25% percent fat (trans) , or when you are ageing , fighting cholesterol or fighting blood sugar......
I suggest making paneer at home with toned ( skimmed ) milk , just when you need to cook the dish , as it is as soft as the high fat packaged paneer when it is fresh ( high fat in paneer ensures it remains soft even when it is kept in the fridge for a fortnight , ie, longer shelf life ) ...........at the same time all of us know that paneer is not the same when it is frozen ..........you must be wondering why i am going on n on for paneer in a post with tofu in it..........i want to emphasize that tofu can be a better choice for these few practical reasons ...........you get your nutrients plus the taste and stick to your diet plan at the same time .........one thing to remember though is that paneer has higher calcium content that tofu for sure , if both are homemade.....sometimes commercial tofu has high calcium as calcium salts are used to solidify it , so you know it can be at par with paneer in that area too...
100 gm of tofu contains 76 Kcal , 350mg of calcium (35% of RDA) ,5.4 mg ( 43%RDA) of iron while the same amount of paneer gives you 350 Kcal and 208mg of calcium ....vitamins and minerals are good in both tofu n paneer.
Enough good reasons to choose tofu over paneer, if you are on a weight loss diet........ at least a few times whenever you want those white cubes in your curry.....and make the curry yummy ...that is something you have control over ....may be not your hormones or your stress or your cravings....
The curry in question here is a tomato based gravy and i like it a bit watery with fine chunks of tomatoes n onions in it , if you like a thick and smooth gravy you can go ahead and blend the cooked gravy n strain like a soup and then add stir fried cubes of tofu ......this way it will be more photogenic for sure and you may find it fit for a get together.......i like it this way n have seen people appreciating it profusely......
tofu 200 gms ( for two large servings )
tomatoes 400 gm blended raw to make a coarse paste
onions chopped fine in a chopper 1 cup
garlic chopped fine 1 tsp
nigella seeds 1 tsp
turmeric powder 2 tsp
red chilly powder 2 tsp or to taste
mustard oil 2 tsp
chopped coriander greens to finish
Heat oil in a thick base kadai as low fat cooking can be messy in a regular kadai.
Throw in the nigella seeds and as soon as they splutter , add the garlic n onions , fry for a couple of minutes and then add the red chilly powder and the turmeric powder....mix well n fry for another minute or so.
Add the tofu pieces , mix and stir fry till tofu looks slightly pinkish as it absorbs the flavors from the other ingredients.....it is an aromatic mix without any curry powder.
Add the tomato paste and stir well ...
Cook some more and add water and salt , cover and cook till it boils vigorously......open the lid and sprinkle the chopped coriander greens , mix and cover the lid ......take off from the flame and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
Serve with hot chapatis or any kind of flat breads or bread rolls as it is enough soupy to be enjoyed like that .
Tofu is quite porous and absorbs flavors like a sponge , especially when it is fried ......that is the reason i stir fried the tofu with the onion garlic chilly mix so that it soaks the flavors while frying , the tomato gravy gives it a tangy zest enhanced with fresh coriander leaves and it is way better than any creamy paneer curry .......you know it well when you are going the macrobiotic way......
I find tofu very easily in Delhi these days and that too at very affordable prices , earlier it was quite pricey, soy milk is still very very costly and i always prefer making all of it at home ....with tofu being so easily available in my neighborhood store i have tried that too a few times n find it as good as my homemade tofu....so go ahead and buy some tofu if you have been shying away till now.
Other interesting tofu preparations which may be great first time trials for an Indian household.
turmeric soaked tofu n spinach
tofu n veggies in a hot peanut sauce
tofu with lemon n basil
tofu n palak bhurji
dahi alu in bean curd