Lucky Comestible 4 (4): Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce
[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this fourth edition, I'm focusing on Coconut. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the fourth entry on coconut.]
Remember the Ziggy cartoon character from the 80′s? (Well, I suppose that only applies to those of you already born in the 80s. . . sheesh, am I old, or what??). One of my favorite strips involved the Rotund One scrabbling across the surface of a globe and yelling at the top of his lungs: “Stop the World! I Want to Get Off!” At the time, with my typical adolescent insouciance and belief in my own immortality, I saw the cartoon as an amusing, wry comment on the state of my (then) parent-dominated existence. (It may be true, youth is wasted on the young. . . or was that just “youth are wasted”? I can never remember.)
These days, I’m as old as my parents were then, and it seems there’s no stopping the world; I’m sure ol’ Ziggy would be itching to jump. I certainly don’t need to enumerate all the lovely global challenges and crises we’re facing; I’d guess you’ve got your own list of woes (and top of the list for us Canadians: it’s our election day today, and, given the choices we’ve got, it doesn’t look like things will be picking up any time soon).
This past weekend, as fellow Canadians know, was our Thanksgiving. At first, I felt a little downcast about it all; suffering with an impertinent and intrusive cold (courtesy of the HH–that guy’s just just gotta share everything), I was moping after we canceled our trip to my friend Gemini I’s cottage for the holiday. I’d been looking forward to spending time with good friends, clinking glasses in front of the fireplace as The Girls romped and gamboled outside in the woods. Instead, I spent the day in my jammies, semi-comatose in front of the television, while the HH and The Girls romped and gamboled without me at the nearby trail.
But you know what? The weather was glorious here in Toronto, gifting us with just the kind of Thanksgiving weekend for which I always long: temperate, radiantly sunny, clear as the squeals of pure delight you’ll hear when you tickle a baby’s belly. Knowing that the dank, icy winds and pelting snow of winter will pounce upon us before we can even holler, ”Hey, pass the pumpkin pie!” made me realize: instead of being under the weather, I should appreciate the weather; in fact, I ought to appreciate all the good things in my life right now.
Wait. . . am I being too maudlin? A bit too mushy? Too. . . Oprah? Yet there really is so much to be grateful for, from the HH (11 years and counting) to The Girls (five treats so far tonight and counting) to a steady job (far too many years. . . I’ve stopped counting) and many dear friends with whom I’ve shared the best and worst of all of the above.
In the end, it turned out to be a very thankful Thanksgiving. As I approach my one-year blogiversary, I’m perpetually grateful that I discovered this world of food and writing and wit and fellow bloggers. It’s truly a privilege to be able to choose any recipe I wish, then simply go to the store and purchase the ingredients so I can whip it up, photograph it, and write about it. And if the dish doesn’t work out, I can draft an amusing post about the kitchen calamity, or a cautionary tale on what not to do–or I can simply throw it away.
If you’ve been preoccupied by the woes of the world lately, try this dish. No, of course it won’t actually change anything. But it’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s hearty, it’s nourishing, and it’s delicious, all in one. A little forkful will make you feel cosy and content, at least for an instant. Then, you can dig in, spoon it up, and repeat as many times as necessary.
“Mum, we’re thankful for all those pats and treats you give us. But of course, six would be better than five.”
Given the high legume content in this dish–both from the chickpeas and the tofu–I thought it would be the perfect submission to Susan’s event, My Legume Love Affair, this month hosted by Sra at When My Soup Came Alive. This month’s prize is Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook–so if you’re interested, get those entries in! You have until October 31st.
Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Thick Creamy Coconut Sauce
adapted from The New Indian Cooking Course
The recipe is my adaptation from my first cookbook on Indian cooking, The New Indian Cooking Course by Manisha Kanani and Shehzad Husain. As a newbie in Indian cooking, I bought the book because of its step-by-step instructions and accompanying step-by-step photos. The dishes in it have all been spectacular, too.
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) ground almonds
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) dessicated coconut
2/3 cup (160 ml.) coconut milk
1/3 cup (80 ml.) unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp. (7.5 ml.) ground coriander
1 tsp. (5 ml.) chili powder
1 tsp. (5 ml.) crushed garlic
1-1/2 tsp. (7.5 ml.) freshly grated ginger pulp
1 tsp. (5 ml.) sea salt
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (500 g.) firm or extra-firm tofu, diced into 1 inch (2.5 cm.) cubes
3 green cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
1 cup (250 ml.) cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 dried red chili, crushed (about 1 tsp. crushed chili)
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) chopped fresh cilantro
In a large nonstick frypan, heat the almonds and coconut over medium heat until the coconut browns slightly. Remove to a medium bowl and add the coconut milk, soy milk, lemon juice, corainder, chili powder, garlic, ginger and salt; mix well.
Heat the oil over medium heat in the frypan. Add the tofu and cook, tossing the cubes to cook all sides evenly, until the tofu is browned, about 10 minutes. Just before tofu is ready, add the cardamom and bay leaf and cook for another minute or two. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.
Pour the coconut milk mixture over the tofu and chickpeas, and add the crushed chili and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated somewhat. Uncover and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Serve over steamed rice. Makes 4-6 servings. May be frozen.
Other posts in this series:
Lucky Comestible 4 (1): Cabbage T’horin
Lucky Comestible 4 (2): GF Coconut Mini Loaves or Cupcakes
Lucky Comestible 4(3): Savory Veggies with Rice and Coconut
Lucky Comestible 4(5): Raspberry Coconut Coffee Cake
Other DDD Coconut Posts:
Mrs. K’s Date Cake (coconut topping)
Tropical Lemon-Coconut Muffins (with coconut and avocado)
Aloo Masala (Potato Curry with Coconut)
Polish Lemon Cake (lemon cake with gooey coconut topping)
Anzac Biscuits (the Australian tradition)
Coconut Recipes on Other Blogs:
From Lisa at Lisa’s Kitchen:
From Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi: