Thursday, November 13, 2008

Red Lentil Tofu Curry

It's fun to have friends who are vegetarians come and visit.  I cook a lot of vegetarian food, but when I have guests, I always try to dig around for something new and interesting.  Someone clued me into this squash-scallop garam masala dish, but since I couldn't make the shellfish, I tried to find another recipe using garam masala. The recipe was really simple, warm and filling after a long day out in the cold.  We shared a bottle of Malbec, which was a great accompaniment.

Red Lentil Tofu Curry

1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 carrot
2 garlic cloves
½ inch piece of ginger
1 cup red lentils
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cups water
1 lb tofu
1 tsp garam masala (Indian spice mixture)*
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne
½ cup chopped cilantro

Thinly slice the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the gingerroot and mince. Rinse the red rinse lentils and drain. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat until golden. Add gingerroot and cook, stirring for1 minute. Add lentils and water and gently boil, uncovered, until lentils fall apart. This might take about 20 minutes.

While the lentils are boiling, rinse the tofu. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and gently press between paper towels to remove excess moisture

In a small heavy skillet heat remaining tablespoon oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook cumin seeds, stirring, until a shade darker, about 1 minute. Add garam masala, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir hot spice oil into lentils and gently stir in tofu cubes. Let curry stand, covered, 5 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Heat another tablespoon in an iron skillet and sautee the tofu until golden brown. When cooked, stir the tofu into the red lentil mixture and serve with a large pinch of cilantro with salt on the side.

* You can make it yourself if you have the ingredients, the time, and the energy. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I got mine from Zabar’s…and I didn’t even buy it myself, I sent my friend to buy it for me.

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