For now, I'm following an essentially dairy-free diet. That's not really a drastic change for me as I've been a strict vegetarian for over 20 years now and dairy has't made up a significant portion of my daily meals for quite some time now. It's unlikely I would follow a strict vegan diet, but for digestive reasons, this seems to be the right approach for me personally for the time being.
The thing is, some of my favorites happen to be not so dairy-free. Like cheese! That's the sad part. The fun part is finding alternatives that closely mimic my favorites, while still focusing on real and nourishing food. So far, I've been quite satisfied with vegan versions of some classics such as coleslaw and Caesar salad. It's a refreshing challenge and my taste buds and body are certainly content.
When it comes to cheese, paneer is a particular weakness of mine, if you could call it that. A succulent soft and mild cheese with a high melting point, it is perfectly suited to curries as it takes on the flavors of the dish it stars in, and adds a unique chewy texture. And then I found a recipe for "chickpea tofu" from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen. Without soy and containing only chickpea flour, some spices, and my own addition — nutritional flakes for a bit of a cheesy flavor — these cubes are not only easy to make, but delicious as a snack. I had to restrain myself from snacking too much, otherwise there wouldn't have been enough left over for this tomato-based curry that I also adapted from Richa's book.
This dish reminded me of very much of mattar paneer, one of my all time favorite North Indian classics featuring cubes of paneer simmered in a spicy tomato gravy with green peas. As an analogy to my habit of ordering mushroom dishes on those occasions when I happen to dine out to test the prowess of the chef, likewise I seem to judge the quality of Indian restaurants from the paneer dishes offered up and am always finding new ways to make it in my own kitchen.
Here chickpea flour cubes instead of paneer cheese are smothered in a smooth, rich and fiery tomato gravy with green peas. The heat builds with each luscious bite. The cubes turned out to be a fantastic alternative to paneer too. They held their shape nicely, adding a nice chewy texture to the curry and some legume goodness too. This just might be one of my new favorites.
|Chickpea Flour Cubes in a Spicy Madras Sauce|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook
Published on September 1, 2015
An elegant, rich and spicy tomato and green pea curry with tender creamy pieces of chickpea "cheese" made from chickpea flour and spices
Print this recipe
Chickpea flour cubes:
I'm sharing this recipe with Jacqueline's weekly Meat Free Mondays event. I'm also sharing with My Legume Love Affair, a monthly event celebrating the goodness of legumes, started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, now administered by me and kindly hosted this month by Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen.
You may also enjoy:
Classic Mattar Paneer
Butter Paneer Masala
On the top of the reading stack: And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov