Sunday, 22 March 2015

Vindaloo Variations (V.0.1)

I went out for dinner last night with my partner and some old school friends (and SOs) to an Indian restaurant in Melbourne called Gaylords. It was exquisite, though I somehow ended up with an extra-hot vegetarian Vindaloo. It didn't list that it included paneer, which was annoying, but it did, so it was not vegan. But it was exquisite. It inspired me to make a vindaloo of my own. I've used other people's recipes, or book recipes, for years now, but I've not tackled a vegan vindaloo yet. To be fair, I'm not entirely convinced it should be called a vindaloo, though of course there is so much variety in these curries that it probably doesn't matter. Anyway… for the base of this recipe I used Madhur Jaffrey's Goan Pork Vindaloo recipe (from her Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, which is written for a pressure cooker, which I don't have!)

I've not tried the original recipe, but it served as a decent basis to build mine off. So I want to acknowledge that source material.

This recipe also differs from, as far as I can tell, a lot of Indian cooking because it is baked in a cast-iron pot (pot-roasted?) rather than cooked on a stove, or a pressure cooker. Also note that this is a recipe designed for bulk cooking so that my partner and I can take food to work with us over the coming days.

Variation on a Vindaloo (V. 0.1)

General ingredients:

1x large potato + 2x medium potatoes, loosely cubed in various sizes
550g firm tofu, cubed
~2-3 cups of (soaked/cooked) chickpeas. I used dried, which soaked for about 12 hours.
Couple of handfuls of green beans, with ends removed.
1 tin of whole tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk
1-2 tbsp of coconut oil

Curry paste ingredients & method:

1.5 tbsp brown mustard seeds
1.5 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar + more as needed (I used white as I ran out of AC)

STEP ONE: Using a large mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds and vinegar into a paste that still has quite a bit of texture.

To this paste, add:

~12 large cloves of garlic
~1 medium red onions, loosely chopped
3 heaped tsp of ground turmeric
3 heaped tsp of ground coriander seed
3 heaped tsp of ground cumin seed
3 heaped tsp of cayenne pepper
3 dried kashmiri chilis
~1 tsp of asafoetida powder
2 level tsp of salt
~9-15 dried curry leaves
~3 tbsp of red wine vinegar

Pulverise until a chunky paste consistency is achieved.


Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced), with large cast-iron pot (with lid) inside
In a separate frying pan, heat on a hot heat the coconut oil.
Once hot, add about 1/3 of the curry paste and fry until fragrant
Add the cubed tofu and fry until it starts to absorb the colour of the paste

Remove hot pot from oven, transfer contents from frying pan to pot
Add the remaining paste and fresh ingredients
Add tomatoes including juice, then use scissors to chop them up
Add coconut milk and about 1/2 a tin of extra water

Put the lid on and put it in the oven for about an hour and a half, stirring every 30 or so minutes.

Once the hour and a half is up (or the potatoes/chickpeas are nearly cooked through), turn the oven up to 200C (fan-forced) and cook for a further 30-40 minutes until well-reduced and a thick, clinging gravy exists and the tomatoes have basically turned to liquid. Sauce should be a dark caramel colour by this stage.

Serve with basmati rice or whatever you want.

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