Monday, 5 September 2016

low fodmap tofu and vegetable korma

unlike hubs, who missed sliced bread above all else, when we started eating low fodmap, i missed curries. ever tried to cook curry without an onion? i used to think it would be easier to make coffee without water. fast forward almost 2 years and i now knock curries out of my kitchen like a batsman at a cricket game. almost any curry can go low fodmap and still taste as good, with a few crafty tweaks.

so... i've been getting my curry fixes on a regular basis, but last week, i was seized by a specific craving for matar paneer so intense, i just grabbed my pan and started rummaging through the veggie bin and spice drawer, determined to turn whatever i found, into my favourite vegetarian curry. never mind that i have no clue how to make or even, where to buy, paneer. never mind that paneer is sky-high in fodmaps.

all viable ingredients were mobilised, blitzed, chopped and thrown into the pan. what came out of the frenzied flurry of peeler, blender, knife and scorching flame was this slightly confused but completely delicious hodge podge of colour and spice, which I will gladly make again.

it's quite a large amount, but is so moreish, you will be glad there's enough to eat over 2 or 3 days. i had it over brown rice, inside flat bread and just by the forkful, cold from the fridge, one night, when the post midnight munchies struck. i opened the lid, inhaled and all thought of stoves and how to light them, just flew out of my head. i can't even remember how the fork got there...

makes 6 - 8 servings

spice paste

2 large stalks spring onions (use only the green tops) thickly sliced
3 cm (1 1/4 in) length ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
3 large red chillies (i leave the seeds in)
3 cm (1 1/4 in) fresh turmeric, peeled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon black (brown?)  mustard seeds
2 cinnamon sticks (each about 4 cm/1 1/2 in long)
1/2 teaspoon wheat-free asafoetida powder (hing/perungayam)

2 tablespoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 medium sized aubergine (brinjal/eggplant/terong) cut into largish chunks
1 cup water
30 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (reserve a few for garnishing)
4 small (about 5 cm/2 in) squares firm pre-fried tofu, cut into largish squares
300g (10 1/2 oz) baby or Chinese spinach (leaves and stems)
2 cups frozen baby green peas
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander

  • put all spice paste ingredients into blender and blitz into a fine paste
  • heat about 5 tablespoons oil in a deep pan
  • when moderately hot, add mustard seeds and cinnamon
  • stir until mustard seeds pop
  • stir in asafoetida
  • add spice paste and cook stirring, until fragrant and oil and paste separate
  • stir in coriander, pepper and cumin powders
  • cook for 2 minutes until very fragrant
  • add aubergine, stir then pour in water and bring to the boil
  • cover and simmer for 3 minutes
  • add tomatoes and tofu squares, cover and cook until aubergine and tomatoes are tender but not mushy
  • add spinach, peas and salt
  • stir thoroughly taking care not to break tofu squares
  • when spinach and peas deepen in colour, turn off heat and dish out
  • garnish with chopped coriander and reserved tomatoes before serving

  • chinese spinach (puay leng) is very tender, cooks much faster than regular spinach and is cheaper than baby spinach
  • regular spinach stems need peeling as they are very fibrous, and a longer cooking time than baby or chinese spinach
  • sunflower seeds can be replaced with macadamias or any low fodmap nut

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