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  • Tofu Biryani

    TOOLS: You’ll need a small mixing bowl; a food processor; a large mixing bowl; a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan with a lid; a slotted spoon; a plate; a medium stockpot; and a 2-quart / 2-L ovensafe casserole dish with a tight lid (use aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid).
    NOTE: For the best flavor, the tofu needs to be baked first. Be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare ahead of time.
    TRY THIS! Substitute my Brown Rice–Quinoa Palau for the rice. If you want to try this recipe using Paneer instead of the Baked Tofu, use about 2 pounds / 910 g of it diced into 1-inch / 3-cm cubes. If you are making this recipe with vegetables, use hardier ones that will hold up to cooking like cauliflower, bell peppers, and carrots. If you are making this recipe using both Paneer and vegetables, follow the same instructions and cooking times. And, as always, you can also substitute an equal amount of seitan or tempeh for the tofu.

    This is the ultimate one-pot meal—a bed of rice and a spiced curry that are baked together until the flavors blend to perfection. It’s an easy dish to assemble ahead of time; just pop it into the oven about 1 hour before dinnertime.

    • ¼ cup /60 mL warmed milk or milk alternative
    • 1 teaspoon saffron strands
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1–4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed
    • 1 cup /20 g fresh cilantro
    • ½ cup /10 g fresh mint leaves
    • 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 cup /240 mL plain, unsweetened soy or coconut yogurt
    • 1 (14-ounce/ 400-g) package of extra-firm tofu, baked and diced
    • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons /60 mL vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 large yellow onions, cut in thin rings
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 pinches salt, divided
    • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup /185 g uncooked white or brown basmati rice, washed
    • ¼ cup /40 g golden raisins
    • Water, to cover
    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the warmed milk and saffron strands and set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, cilantro, and mint leaves into a paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the Garam Masala, red chile powder, turmeric, and yogurt and stir until well combined.
    3. Slowly fold the tofu into the yogurt mixture and stir gently until all the pieces are evenly coated. Baked tofu works best here, because it holds up better during cooking. I’ve tried this recipe without baking the tofu and it worked, but the texture was a little too soft for my family’s taste. You be the judge. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
    4. In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart / 4-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm ¼ cup / 60 mL of the oil. Add the onions and 2 pinches of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the onions are browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a plate and leave the oil behind in the sauté pan.
    5. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the tofu with the marinade and ¾ of the onions cooked in Step 4 (reserving the rest for later use) and cook for 4 minutes, until warmed through. Turn the heat off and cover the pan.
    6. Set the oven rack at the second-from-top position and preheat the oven to 400°F / 204°C.
    7. In a separate medium stockpot over medium–high heat, combine the rice, the raisins, and water to cover the rice by 2 inches / 5 cm and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 7 minutes. If using brown rice, cook about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside. If too much water remains in the pot after the cooking time, just drain and discard.
    8. Transfer the tofu mixture from Step 5 to a 2-quart / 2-L ovensafe casserole dish. Layer the rice over the tofu in the dish. Tightly pack the rice in the dish and garnish with the browned onions reserved from Step 4. Pour the bowl of saffron and milk from Step 1 over the casserole.
    9. Tightly cover the casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven.
    10. Serve immediately as a delicious one-pot meal.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.