Voracious Vegetarian: Spicy Tofu Chickpea Curry

As a vegetarian who does not eat fish, it is often difficult come up with a dish to make for dinner guests who are not. Sometimes it’s easier not to have them. But when friendship or courtesy demands, Spicy Tofu Chickpea Curry is an easy, filling answer. It can also change people’s minds about tofu if it is prepared with love and care.
By the way, I am not a big tofu advocate; nor do I see vegetarian meals as some effort to replicate meat and potatoes with veggies. You will not find a Tofu Turkey recipe in my box.
Vegetarian eating is its own, tasty, nutritious and heath-supportive mode of dining with a plethora of recipes that make my heart sing and my body vibrate with joy.
Anyway, here’s an easy dish that has been a big hit at my house for vegetarians and meat eaters alike … especially for folks who have an inflated idea of the importance of dense protein.
I originally found the recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home and have adjusted it, adding more spices and offering alternatives due to lack of some ingredients in the islands.

– 1 medium/large onion; I almost always use red onions, but any kind will do
– 4-5 garlic cloves; you can never have too much garlic I always say, but reduce if you don’t agree
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 4 tsp ground cumin
– 2 tsp ground coriander
– 1 tsp turmeric
– pinch of cayenne (optional)
– 1/4 to ½ tsp black pepper
– 1 cake of firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
– 2 cups undrained cooked chick peas (16 oz. can)
– 2 tomatoes, chopped (about 1 ½ cups) or a 16-oz can of diced tomatoes if you can’t get nice tasty tomatoes.
– salt

Place the tofu between two small plates with something heavy, like a can of chickpeas, on top.
Drain off the liquid periodically. It should take about 15 minutes to drain the tofu properly.
Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for five minutes or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and optional cayenne. It should be noted the spice amounts have been doubled from the original recipe. You might want to cut back if you are not a spice lover. Add the cubed tofu and cook for several minutes to absorb the essence of the spices into the tofu. You can even let it brown a little. Add the chick peas and some of their liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes and cook until they break down a bit. Add salt. Serve with brown rice—I like basmati—and top with yogurt, cilantro or both.

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