Tofu Curry with Aubergine, Tomato and Spinach
A tofu curry is an extraordinary dish to enjoy.
The tofu – I use a moderately firm one – acts like a sponge and absorbs all those beautiful flavors coming from the spices. Of course, you do need to make sure your spice mixture is fresh and you add them to the dish at the right time.
The aubergine (you can feel free to call it eggplant if you wish) in this dish makes this curry extra delicious.
Aubergine also works as a sponge and absorbs flavors really well. The richness comes from the roasting process and then adding the cooked and flavored aubergine to the curry so they can bath in some additional flavors and absorb even more intensity. The result – flavor explosions in your mouth!
Yield: makes 4-6 servings
2-3 medium-sized aubergine
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500 grams (1 pound) fresh spinach
500 grams (1 pound) semi-firm tofu, cubed
2 medium onions, cut into medium dice
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 2-cm (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
500 grams (1 pound) fresh tomatoes
sea salt to season
fresh coriander or parsley to garnish
- curry thickener
- Preheat your oven to 210°C (410°F). Prepare a baking pan by lining it with baking paper.
- Prepare your aubergine by removing the ends, then slicing the aubergine in half. Cut each half into 2- or 3-cm (about 1-inch) half-moons. Place the cut aubergine in a large bowl. Season with sea salt, mild curry and the extra virgin olive oil. Combine very well (I just use my hands, but I do wear gloves because of the turmeric in the curry powder). Place all of the aubergine on your prepared baking pan, then into the oven. Roast for 17-20 minutes – the aubergine should be soft and have slightly darkened edges. Reserve the aubergine.
- Heat a large pan over moderate heat. When the pan is hot, turn the temperature to high and add your spinach to the pan along with a teaspoon of sea salt (it is helpful if the spinach has some water on it from washing – otherwise add 2-3 tablespoons water to the pan with the spinach). Cook until just wilted – about 1 minutes. Strain and reserve the spinach.
- Wipe your pan clean, then return it to the stove and heat again over moderate heat. Coat your tofu cubes with a bit of extra virgin olive oil – not much, just enough for them to glisten. Season with sea salt, then place in the preheated pan. Cook over medium-high until the bottom begins to brown – about 2 minutes. Turn the tofu pieces and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve. Be sure to work in batches if your pan is not large enough to cook all the tofu pieces at once.
- Wipe your pan again, then return it to the stove and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add your onions with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Give them a gentle stir so they release their water. Cook over medium, stirring every so often until the onions begin to stick to the pan. Add 2-3 tablespoons water to release the onions and continue to cook. Keep this up until the onions begin to turn a golden color – after 10 minutes or so.
- While your onions cook, heat a small pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and whole fenugreek seeds. Cook until you begin to smell the aromas – about 1-2 minutes. Don’t venture off anywhere or you will forget about the spices and they will burn. When they begin to give off their aromas, remove the spices from the pan and add them to a mini-blender or coffee grinder. Add the curry powder and cayenne pepper. Grind well – the spices should be like a powder.
- Add your spice mixture, the grated garlic and the grated ginger to the onions when they are ready. Stir well and cook about 1-2 minutes. It is sometimes helpful to add 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil at this point, or just a bit of water if you want your dish to have a small amount of fat.
- Add all or your tomatoes to a food processor and pulse a few times so they are roughly chopped – of course, you can achieve the same by simply using your knife and roughly chopping the tomatoes. Add the chopped tomatoes and all of their juice to the pan. Mix well and cook about 10 minutes over medium-high. You want to make sure the sauce thickens a bit.
- Add the cooked eggplant and tofu to the tomato mixture. Add some water if you feel the curry mixture is too dry. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Chop your cooked spinach roughly and add it to the curry at the last possible moment. Stir well to combine. Garnish with fresh coriander or parsley and enjoy alone or with some basmati rice. Be sure to see the tips below to make your curry creamy!
Jack’s Fresh Tip
You can use frozen spinach in this recipe in place of the fresh. Just defrost the spinach and add it to the curry at the end of the cooking process – frozen spinach is already cooked, so no need for further cooking.
You can use canned tomatoes in place of the fresh. Use about one can, which should be about 450 grams (1 pound) of chopped tomatoes. Don’t worry if there are seeds. Just add the entire can with the juices to the curry in place of the fresh tomatoes.
You can also grind the spices using the traditional mortar-pestle method.
The final consistency of the curry is up to you. Some like it a bit loose and with a lot of moisture – sort of like a stew. Others prefer a drier consistency that works well when piled onto rice. Me…well, I like a creamy curry, so I use my curry thickening technique to make sure I have a rich and creamy version.
This is a Sample Recipe
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