June 20, 2022
I've been subbing firm tofu for paneer, our Indian cheese, for years now. I will agree with many of my Desi (Indian) friends that paneer is absolutely delicious. So, why would you want to mess with it? For me, it's a numbers game. One ounce of paneer is about 90 calories, versus the same amount of tofu at about 20 to 40. So, if you sit down to a meal of about 6 ounces of each, just do the math. I also believe that if I don't have to compromise taste, then I'll go for that lowered calorie count every time. It makes me feel better, I can eat a little more, and in this instance, I avoid dairy. But, how to make that tofu taste good? First, start with a quality brand, like Ichiban. Then, follow my very simple recipe below. It's adapted from my third book, Indian For Everyone and the recipe for 'Paneer Tikka' on page 69. Head to my book for the fuller recipe with even more spice, flavor, and ingredients. This is a quick shortcut that I love to use and that works every time. The key is to take a neutral ingredient like tofu and layer it with lots of delicious Indian flavors and quality spice blends like our own Tandoori, that is made without any red food dye or extra salt. We get our extra red coloring from paprika.
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy or plant-based)
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, ground in a food processor
1 tablespoon Indian As Apple Pie Tandoori Masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 15 oz. container firm tofu (Ichiban), diced into cubes
Vegetable oil for pan frying
1. In a roomy bowl, add the yogurt, ginger, Tandoori Masala, salt, and lemon juice. Stir.
2. Add the tofu pieces carefully. Stir gently until coated. Refrigerate to marinate 1 hour to overnight.
3. When ready to cook, remove the tofu with tongs and leave any marinade that drops off behind and discard. Pan fry in a little vegetable oil ideally in a nonstick pan. Cook until golden brown. You can also air fry.
4. Serve layered in a roti or naan. Top with sliced onion, green chile, cilantro, and a drizzle of Indian As Apple Pie Tamarind Chutney and/or mint chutney. This is a classic Kaati roll, or a parantha stuffed with skewered delicacies.
Want to watch me make this on my latest Facebook Live cooking class? Click here and while you are there, please 'Like' my page Indian As Apple Pie!
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