As a child, and until I became a pescatarian, eating “mattar keema” (lamb mince with peas) was the norm. Aunty invented this many years ago, she struck up a very close friendship with a Taiwanese girl and then incorporated some of the cuisine from the far East into her own cooking. In particular, she replaced paneer (an Indian cheese) with tofu. It’s advantageous as it is much lower in fat than paneer and an excellent food from a nutritional health perspective. (See also recipe for Tofu pilau which will follow in due course). It’s quick to both prepare and cook, it freezes beautifully, and leftovers can even be used as a filling for pasties.
Since we are now in Veganuary this month, it is only fitting that we share this recipe now.
Serve with naan and a side salad of spinach, grated beetroot and carrots with a dressing of some lemon juice, rapeseed oil, freshly milled salt and pepper.
Preparation : 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Vegan and gluten free (be sure to buy gluten free naan)
I pack of tofu (not silken variety) – squeeze as much water from the block, you can do this by using a few pieces of kitchen towel or a clean tea-towel. Grate the tofu after you have done this; this can be done a day ahead.
1 medium onion – chopped (not too finely)
1 teaspoon salt
½ level teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
I dessertspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon green chilli (finely chopped)/ red chilli powder
2 black cardamoms (crushed in a mortar and pestle – opening the pod really brings out their flavour)
A few cinnamon sticks – roughly crushed, as above
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 mug frozen peas
1 teaspoon garam masala – to garnish
Chopped parsley – to garnish, but not essential
You will need a large pan, preferably a frying pan, with a lid
1. Heat the oil on a medium heat, and after a couple of minutes, add the crushed cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and cumin seeds. Then add the chopped onion and salt. Keep the heat on medium, cover with a lid and stir frequently. When the onions are a light golden colour, add the turmeric, garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir well. Cover again for a few minutes. (NB – keep the heat low or else the garlic will burn, making it bitter).
2. Then add the grated tofu and stir well. After a few minutes, add the frozen peas. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or so, until the peas have cooked. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with garam masala and parsley if so desired and enjoy!