Quick and Easy Oil-Free Vegan Creamy “Masala” Style Tofu “Paneer” with Vegetables
I’ve been on an Italian kick for a while with Risotto and Lasagna, and decided it was time for a change of ethnicity in my cuisine. I was in the mood for Indian flavors but I was just back from a trip and didn’t want to go grocery shopping just yet.. I did have some tofu and frozen vegetables and decided to come up with an Indian inspired masala type dish with whatever ingredients I could find , even if it wasn’t truly authentic. This dish turned out to be so delicious and warming and filling! And incredibly fast and easy! It takes just a few minutes to put together and makes a lot of servings for family and friends, or to freeze for later. It is hard to believe that this rich and creamy tasting dish has no oil, butter or dairy!
I liked this dish with organic brown rice. So, the first step is to get your rice cooking.
While the rice is cooking, assemble your ingredients for the sauce, tofu and vegetables.
Here is how I made it:
First, I heated a large saute pan and added my spices to bring out the aromatics. I usually love using garam masala in Indian dishes, but found I was out of stock. So, I used, 1 Tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground ginger (I would have preferred fresh, but was out), 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, a dash of cinnamon, and added them all to the hot pan, stirring to release the flavors. Then I added a cup of water and about 6 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped, and a bag of frozen mixed bell peppers and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and water sautéed the vegetables with the spices for about 5 minutes.(Any vegetables you like would work–this is just what I happened to have).
While that was cooking, I made the sauce. The sauce is based on tomatoes and the creaminess comes from cashews. I decided to try making the sauce all together in my Vitamix. I used a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and a cup of raw cashew,, 1 date (dates are optional but add a little sweetness– use more if you like a sweeter taste–I think 1 was enough), and one-half cup of water and blended that on high speed and then added it to the pan with the vegetables.
I drained and cubed a package of extra firm tofu and that went into the pan as well. Then I seasoned the mixture with salt, pepper and chili flakes, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes while the rice was finishing. I needed to cover the pan because it was bubbling up and splattering all over the place!
The result was thick, rich, creamy and delicious!