Happy Wednesday folks! Just a few more days until one of the most celebrated days of the year. Friday the 13th! (this is funny– cuz I hate Valentine’s Day …ahem). But seriously, I am very much looking forward to this particular Friday the 13th because little Willow is getting shipped off to spend some QT with her grandparents– FOR THREE DAYS!!!!! And let me tell you what we’re going to do now that we’re going to have a bedroom all to ourselves for 3 whole nights.
And then we’ll eat left overs from this amazing curry dish and start watching a new TV series that will consume our lives for another month. No really, we have some amazing things planned. We’ll keep you updated on how the weekend goes. Well, most of it ;).
Now onto curry.
Have you ever watched “The Mind of a Chef“? It is a show created by PBS and produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain that focuses on the work and inspiration of a single chef for an entire season. Not just any chef. The cutting edge, leading the way kind of chefs of America. First of all, if you are even remotely interested in food you must watch this show. Second of all, isn’t public broadcasting the best? Third of all, when I watch that show I come to life. It’s actually kind of bizarre. I watch this show and afterwards I feel like I am floating on air. Something about experimenting with textures, colors and flavors of food that was so lovingly grown in the ground and cultivated at the perfect moment is almost a spiritual experience for me. It invigorates something very deep inside of me and all I want to do is create and share. If only I didn’t hate the environment of the commercial kitchen so much… This is part of the reason I am constantly sharing recipes on Keeping Willow. It is an aspect of life that I am very passionate about, sharing beautiful food with people I love.
Most of these recipes are born out of love. They are things that I make at home for my family. I experiment with some things and share what I think is really delicious. This curry recipe is one of those dishes. It is some serious comfort food, but not in the super rich and heavy way that mac and cheese and chocolate cake are comfort foods. This dish is loaded with flavor from the fresh ingredients and fragrant spices but it is creamy and satisfying. The crispy tofu gives that decadence that helps this dish cross the threshold into a filling weekend feast. I served it with some quinoa, full-fat greek yogurt and fresh cilantro sprigs.
Jazz doesn’t really like eggplant for it’s tendency to sometimes be a little chewy, so I roasted it in the oven to give it a softer texture but also to add some caramelized flavor. Also, to add some crispiness to the tofu, I tossed it in a little cornstarch and shallow pan fried it in some pure olive oil, dusting it with a light dose of sea salt (for you gluten free people, this corn starch trick is a keeper when it comes to breading things). Overall, this dish is warm, fragrant, bright, creamy and rich. I hope you try it. And then try it again the next day. Curry leftovers are always the best.
Give it a try and leave a comment letting me know what you think. Do you guys have any plans for V-Day (the Vagina Monologues anyone)? Friday the 13th? Which ever it is, make sure you find some time to be with people you love.
Indian Tofu Curry with Roasted Eggplant
serves 4-6 people
1 medium eggplant, cut into this slices
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1 small onion, julienned
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup half and half
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 package firm tofu cut into large pieces
1 cup corn starch
pure olive oil or other mild oil for frying
full fat, plain greek yogurt
rice or quinoa
1. Preheat your oven to 350° F while you prep your veg. Toss eggplant slices with 1 tbsp olive oil and some sea salt on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flip and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sauté your onion and bell pepper on medium high heat (in a larger skillet or sauté pan) until just starting to soften. Add your garlic and spices and cook for one minute. Pour in your diced tomatoes and sugar and bring up to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
3. While the curry is simmering, start your rice/quinoa and fry your tofu. Put your cornstarch into a medium size bowl. Heat a medium size sauté pan on medium-high heat and add a half inch of oil. The oil is ready when you flick a little corn starch in and it bubbles immediately. Once the oil is ready, toss 1/3 or your tofu in the cornstarch (this should be done in batches). Don’t coat it ahead of time or you’ll end up with a messy 5th grade science experiment. Crisp all sides of your tofu, take out and place on a cooling rack above a sheet pan, and season with salt immediately.
4. Once the eggplant is cooked and slightly golden, toss it with your curry. Add your tofu immediately before serving to retain some crispiness. Garnish as you please. Enjoy!