Friday, April 18, 2008

Tofu Saag over Brown Rice with a Cornmeal-Chickpea Pancake and Cucumber Yogurt Salad...Strawberry Crisp for afters :-)

I have a ton of chickpea flour, so am on the lookout for recipes where I can use it. I found this recipe for a cornmeal-chickpea pancake on I'm not sure if you can find chickpea flour in a Whole Foods type bulk section, but that would be the place to look if you don't want a horrendous amount of the stuff. )If you're in Austin please feel free to take some of mine, since I did end up with a huge bag of it!)
I usually make saag with paneer, but rather than going to the trouble of making the paneer, and given I have extra-firm tofu in the fridge, I'm going with tofu this time. I'm sure I'll post on how to make the paneer some time soon, since I have a recipe for whey muffins. The whey is a by-product of the cheese making. :-) Buy whole coriander and cumin seeds in the bulk section and grind them yourself for a much fresher flavor.
I'm serving this with my favorite Bulgarian plain yogurt mixed with fresh chopped cilantro, cucumber, and diced red onion.

Saag with Tofu*:
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking

enough canola oil to shallow fry your tofu cubes
1 package of extra firm tofu (water pressed out this way, but cut into cubes instead of slabs)

Heat oil in a wok to 300 degrees. Fry 1/2 of the pressed tofu cubes until a light golden color, 3-4 min. Remove from oil and drain on paper toweling. Repeat with the rest of the tofu. Set aside.

*We didn't like the tofu in this anywhere near as much as the paneer, but if I DO make it with tofu again, I will NOT fry it. You could try it that way instead, still pressing the water from it but then disregarding the whole frying step. It'd be way easier and I think the texture would be better.

2 Tbsp canola oil
5 medium cloves garlic finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp whole coriander, then ground
1 tsp whole cumin, then ground
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 (10 oz) packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and undrained
2 cups 1/2 inch cubes of extra firm tofu (water pressed out) or paneer sauteed until golden in olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk (original recipe uses whipping cream)
1 tsp Garam Masala

Heat oil in 3 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is golden brown.

Stir in tomato sauce, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt; reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer 7 to 8 minutes or until a thin film of oil starts to form on surface of sauce. I always seem to have to cook longer than he specifies...

Stir in undrained spinach and water. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until spinach turns a light olive green. Transfer spinach mixture to food processor and puree; return to pan.

Stir in tofu or cheese. Cover and simmer 3 to 4 minutes of until tofu or cheese is hot; remove from heat.

Stir in milk (I just realized you could use soy milk if you're using tofu for a vegan saag) and Garam Masala.

Serve over jasmine brown rice.

Cornmeal-Chickpea Pancake:
Makes one large pancake to cut into quarters

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
2 large leaves basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chickpea flour*
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

*Chickpea flour, also called gram flour or besan, can be found at Middle Eastern and Indian markets or at

In heavy, 12-inch, nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, heat olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion and sauté until onions are translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in basil and cook 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.

In medium bowl, and even though you can't possibly have a whisk as cool as my Squidward...

whisk together chickpea flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk. Add to dry ingredients and stir gently just until mixture is smooth, then gently fold in sautéed onion and basil. Let batter rest at room temperature 15 minutes.

Wipe skillet clean and heat over moderate heat until drop of water dropped into pan sizzles. Pour in batter and cook, turning over once, until light golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer pancake to cutting board and cut into quarters.

I think I'll add more basil next time and maybe some frozen green peas to the cake.

Strawberry Crisp:
Adapted from Self Magazine by Cake Maker to the Stars
Makes two 5" round minis

This really wasn't ANY good. You should probably just skip this recipe. ;-)

* Cooking spray
* 2 cups sliced strawberries
* 4 teaspoons fresh orange juice
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
* 3 tablespoons rolled oats
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar (I use Sucanat...SUgarCAneNATural)
* 4 teaspoons canola oil
* 2 teaspoons agave nectar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* a couple grates of fresh nutmeg
* a handful of dark chocolate chips (optional...NOT! :-)

1. Preheat oven to 375F and spray the mini pans.
2. Combine the berries, juice and vanilla in a bowl and then distribute equally between the pans.
3. Mix together the rest of the ingredients, until it comes together into a moist well blended mixture.
4. Divide mixture equally between the two crisps and sprinkle evenly over the tops.
5. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes (the crumble mixture is already brown, so watch carefully to prevent burning).

I plopped a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of mine...The Monster decided not to be that decadent. Next time I make this...oh yes, there WILL be a next time...I'm going to use some chopped crystallized ginger instead of cinnamon just to change it up a bit.

1 comment:

Beth said...

We've made the strawberry crisp about a million times already! Tonight I even filled a 9x13 casserole dish with strawberries that didn't have much time left. I was tired of wanting seconds but staring at an empty dish. We make about twice as much topping as you list and increase the proportion of oats.