I’m adding “spice shop” to my list of Dream Businesses To Own, somewhere between “bakery with the best scones in town,” “vineyard in Sonoma,” and “Nordstrom.” In the meantime, I’m content with my plate of Tofu Curry.
Maybe I sniffed one too many seasonings at Penzys last week, but owning a spice shop sounds irresistibly exotic and romantic. I would wear boldly patterned silk dresses that flatter my figure and refer to myself as a “merchant.” My hair would smell like cinnamon, and I would have a mysterious ability to select the perfect spice for each customer. My every dinner would involve exotic spices that I first roast whole over an open flame, then grind with a mortar and pestle.
In reality, seasoning my dinners involves standing on a stepstool (best-case scenario) or hoisting myself on the counter (actual-case scenario) to rummage through an overcrowded, obnoxiously high cabinet/spice pit. I am habitually out of basics like dried thyme, yet own three separate containers of smoked paprika. (Am I the only one who chronically believes that I am out of a certain spice?) Though I am intrinsically drawn to spices that smell like far away places I would like to visit—saffron, curry leaves, peri peri—and like the idea of grinding my own, I rely on my local grocery store for most of my spices, and my overworked cabinet doesn’t have room for a mortar and pestle.
This easy Tofu Curry has the wonderful flavor and richness of a traditional curry, but is healthier, prepared entirely with ingredients you can find at an average grocery store, and cooks up in a single pot. [One dish wonder alert!]
The tomato curry sauce is a vibrant blend of spicier ingredients (curry and cumin) and warm flavors (coriander and cloves.) In place of the heavy cream typically used to thicken and enrich curry, we’re calling in Greek yogurt. The Greek yogurt calms the spices and gives the sauce a lovely creaminess, without the excess. (Looking for a dairy free recipe that’s still vegetarian? Check out this Coconut Curry recipe and this Slow Cooker Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry! Or try this Thai-inspired Chickpea Curry!)
The final zip of freshness in Tofu Curry is ginger. Ginger is an acrobat in the spice circus. It majestically walks the tightrope between “hot” spices such as cayenne and “warming” spices such as cloves, making it the ideal flavor to incorporate in Tofu Curry.
The ginger in this recipe arrives in two forms: fresh (I like to zest it right into the pot with one of my favorite kitchen toys) and via Asian Cuisine Cooking Oil from STAR Fine Foods. By sautéing the tofu in the STAR Asian Cuisine Cooking Oil (an olive oil that is infused with traditional Asian flavors, including ginger) I was able to add extra ginger flavor with zero additional effort. More flavor for the same amount of work? Sign me up!
If you are not a fan tofu (as I shared in my post for Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu, I’m aware the subject is divisive), feel free to swap in chicken or try chickpeas for a hearty vegetarian twist. (Another delicious recipe to try would be this Thai-inspired Chickpea Curry!)
I may not be a spice merchant (yet), but I’m considering investing in a few boldly patterned silk dresses, just so that I can eat my Tofu Curry in style…with a mammoth napkin (and possibly a side of this Homemade Naan). I hear silk is dry-clean only. Memo to self: open future spice shop directly beside a dry cleaner’s. Ensure owner is cool with being paid in cinnamon.
Tofu Curry with Tomatoes and Peas
- 6 tablespoons STAR Asian Soy & Ginger Cuisine Cooking Oil, divided
- 1 block extra firm tofu (14 ounces) pressed dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 can diced tomatoes with their juices
- ¾ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups frozen green peas thawed
- Cooked brown rice for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro for serving
- Heat 4 tablespoons STAR Asian (Soy & Ginger) Cuisine Cooking Oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add tofu in a single layer and let cook undisturbed for a few minutes, until the tofu is brown on one side. With a spatula, carefully turn the tofu so that all sides brown, cooking for a few minutes on each side. Once tofu is lightly browned and crispy (about 10 minutes), remove tofu from pan and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons STAR Asian (Soy & Ginger) Cuisine Cooking Oil to the skillet, along with onion and ginger. Cook until onion softens and begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic, curry powder, bayleaf, salt, cumin, coriander, cloves, and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat. Add tomatoes, yogurt, and water, return to medium heat and let cook 10 minutes. Add reserved tofu and peas, cover, and turn off the heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Remove bayleaf and discard. Serve warm with brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
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Star Fine Foods compensated me for my time to develop this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.
Want to make tofu that tastes deep fried but isn’t? Check out this recipe for Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu. I’m spilling my secrets for restaurant-style tofu that’s simple to make and healthy too!