Tag Archive for curry

Butter Paneer {Vegan option}

It’s the end of January, and let’s be real; comfort food is on the menu 24/7. 

For breakfast most days I have warm maple oatmeal, and lunches are often rice bowls with tofu and veggies, or a hearty soup. I am craving warming, comforting foods pretty hardcore these days. 

Vegan Butter Tofu

And that includes food that’s spicy. Ginger, garlic, chili; as well as cinnamon, cardamom, and cumin are all warming spices that make you feel cosy. Like a hug for your insides. 

 

So a great deal of what I’ve been craving lately are things like laksa, curries, dosas. Warm, comforting, and satisfying. 

Just before Christmas, I had a work lunch with a bunch of my colleagues and we ended up meeting at an Indian restaurant. It was perfect: fluffy white basmati rice and pillowy warm naan bread, along with generous spoonfuls of warm, spicy curry. 

I love Aloo Gobi (which is potatoes and cauliflower), and I’m also a huge fan of chana masala (chickpea curry), but at this particular lunch, I couldn’t get enough of the Butter Paneer. It’s basically the vegetarian version of butter chicken; the sauce is spicy, but also rich and creamy. 

Indian Food

Traditionally, this sauce is made with tons of butter and whipping cream, but coconut milk makes a great vegan whipping cream substitute. 

So I played around with cashews and coconut cream, and came up with a nice, satisfying vegan version of the sauce. Paneer is an Indian cheese, but you can easily sub it out for tofu to get a very similar effect. 

Serve this over basmati rice with a side of naan bread. You’ll want the bread to sop up every last drop of this warming and satisfying sauce. 

Butter Paneer

Butter Paneer

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter substitute
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1″ thumb of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 bird’s eye or Thai red chili, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 can tomato sauce (156 ml)
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml) 
  • 1/4 cup cashews 
  • 200 g (half a package) of either paneer or tofu, cut into 3/4″ cubes

Method

  1. Place the cashews in your blender container, and cover with 1/2 cup of water. Set aside to soak. 
  2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the vegan butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until melted together. Add the ginger, garlic, chilies and cumin and coriander and stir well. Allow to cook in the oils for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn (especially garlic, it burns quickly). 
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir well together, allow to cook down for about 5 minutes, until it is starting to caramelize. 
  4. Place the masala (spice & tomato mixture) along with the can of coconut milk in the blender with the cashews that have been soaking, and blend well on high for at least a minute, until smooth. You can run it through a sieve if you are concerned about particulate. 
  5. Pour the sauce back into the pan, and bring it up to just under a boil, and the sauce thickens. Add the cubed tofu or paneer, and stir, allowing them to heat up in the sauce. When everything is heated through, serve atop a bed of basmati rice, garnished with chopped cilantro if you like. 

Vegan Root Vegetable Curry

Last weekend was Diwali. Now, I am neither South Asian, nor am I Hindu. But I live in an incredibly multi-cultural city, and I am a sucker for a “good triumphing over evil” story.

Diwali is a Hindu festival that takes place in the fall. The word “Diwali” means row of lamps, and small oil lamps are the symbol of Diwali. Lighting the lamps symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and, like many holidays, food is an important part of the celebration.

It’s probably no coincidence that this holiday takes place in the fall. It’s now November, and it’s getting colder. Root vegetables are very much in season right now, and I love the warming spices, like cloves, cinnamon, curry and ginger.

This is vegan comfort food. It’s a warming stew which you can make with pretty much whatever you have on hand, and the joy of this is that I can pretty much make it at the drop of a hat, as the ingredients are ones that my pantry is never without. In case you have an unexpected dinner guest…

I serve this with basmati rice (and I add a little coconut milk or some whole cumin seeds to the water) and crispy papadums. You could finish the meal with my Vegan Chai Creme Brûlées.

Vegan Root Vegetable Curry

Vegan Root Vegetable Curry

Ingredients: 

  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 thumb of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1-2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1-2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • root vegetables: carrots, yams, squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp apricot chutney
  • 1-2 cups water or vegetarian stock
  • handful of spinach, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro to garnish

Method:

  • In a large stew pot or dutch oven, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the onions and fry about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the ginger and garlic, stir, and sauté for another couple of minutes.
  • Now add the spices, mix well, and sauté for another few minutes, to get them to release their oils and fragrances.
  • Next add the vegetables and the can of tomatoes, the chickpeas, the chutney, and one cup of the stock or water. Stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and you are able to pierce them with a fork. Add the coconut milk and stir well, and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the spinach and cilantro, and taste to adjust seasonings.
  • Serve over rice with crispy papadums.
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