Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Tofu Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi (Jal=spicy, frezi=suitable to diet) like its name suggests, is a diet-friendly preparation. I call it company food. When friends drop by unexpectedly, if I have peppers at home, then jalfrezi it is. With rice or chapati, it makes a quick and decent meal. The vegetarian version of jalfrezi is commonly prepared with paneer, peppers, onion and tomatoes. For today’s meal, I replaced the paneer with tofu. As you may already know, tofu enjoys vibrant vegetable supporting company. And in jalfrezi, the jazzed up tofu sure tasted good.

Tofu and Bell Pepper


Preparation is like saying one, two, and three. That easy.

Cut a red onion, two tomatoes and one big bell pepper into chunks of one-inch size. Slit a chilli pepper lengthwise to two or four thin pieces. Cut extra-firm tofu into one-inch cubes.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat a teaspoon of oil. Add and toast a pinch of cumin. Add onions, tomatoes and peppers. Grate a half-inch piece of ginger over the skillet. Stir-fry for about five minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt and garam masala powder to taste. Mix, and then add the tofu cubes. Keep the heat medium, and cook for another couple of minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime juice. Serve hot with chapati or rice.

Tofu Jalfrezi with Chapati ~ Meal Today

Jalfrezi, the tech type.

~ Indira
(Busy days. See you again on Sunday.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper,Peppers,Red Onions,Soy (Tofu, Yuba),Tomato (Tuesday March 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Palak Tofu

Photo Purchase Keywords: Soy, Spinach
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

It’s appalling to see the cookery programs like ‘America’s Test Kitchen’, and others still touting and using nutrient-nil, all-purpose flour for sauces. There are many natural and quality ingredients readily available at the market place right now for cooking purpose.

Almonds, cashews, coconut, chestnuts, dalia, sunflower seeds, peanuts and poppy seeds, to name a few.

Cost-effective and nutrient rich, just few tablespoons of any of the above in paste form would be enough to thicken the sauce or gravy and turn them to tasty. It’s 21st century, and proven information is out there on how harmful the all-purpose flour diet can be to a human body. Still, these so called chefs posing as cookery educators seem to relish falling back on the faux traditions. They won’t hesitate to leave their spouses and relationships behind when they become unhealthy. It’s puzzling why they continue to enjoy and propagate this dreadful all-purpose flour abuse on humankind.

If you are one of those struggling to break away from all-purpose flour addiction, the following recipe will work wonders to train the taste buds fearlessly boo the bland bechamel.

Palak (Spinach) and Tofu
Spinach and Soy Bean Curd (Palak and Tofu)


For Palak (=Spinach) Puree:
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup, finely chopped onions
4 green chillies, Indian or Thai variety- finely chopped
2 cups, finely chopped tomatoes (2 large tomatoes)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 bunch, fresh spinach, cut to big pieces, about 6 cups

For Palak Tofu:
1 teaspoon peanut oil
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup poppy seeds (or ½ cup cashews), powdered
2 tablespoons kasuri methi (livens up the Palak Tofu)
½ teaspoon each – garam masala, salt and turmeric
15 tofu cubes, about 1 inch sized

Palak Puree Preparation :

Heat oil in a wide skillet to a smoking point. Add onion, green chillies and tomatoes. Cook them to soft brown mush. Remove the contents to a plate.

Add the spinach to the skillet, and saute until the leaves collapse. Remove to a plate and wait for at least 5 to 10 minutes for them to cool down.

Take the cooled onion, chillies, tomatoes and spinach in a blender. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to thick puree. Set it aside.

Palak Tofu Preparation :

Clean or wipe the same skillet and then add and heat oil. Add and toast the cumin. Add the spinach-tomato puree. Sprinkle the powdered poppy seeds, kasuri methi, garam masala, salt and turmeric. Along with about a cup of water. Stir well. Add the tofu cubes. Simmer on low heat for about ten minutes. Serve warm.

Palak Tofu, as you can see is a very easy preparation, takes about 20 to 30 minutes. That’s all, and makes a memorable meal when eaten with chapati, paratha, rice, pasta, or millet.

Palak Tofu (Soy Spinach)
Palak Tofu, to Satiate the Sharp Hunger Pangs ~
Meal Today, and for Rajitha’s WBB: Soy Event

Calorie count – poppy seeds

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Poppy Seeds,Soy (Tofu, Yuba),Spinach (Wednesday January 30, 2008 at 11:56 pm- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Vegetarian Congee with Rosematta and Yuba

I’ve been experimenting different recipes with Rosematta rice (the terracotta colored rice variety from Kerala, India).

In addition to the traditional steam-cooked Rosematta rice, I’ve made Rosematta pongal and Rosematta idly so far. Everything turned out excellent. Rosematta truly brings wholesome and wholegrain rosy goodness to a meal. The Chocolate Lady seems to agree with me. Check out her Rosematta rice and cashew matar meal combination.

One another recipe I wanted to try with Rosematta is vegetarian congee. Congee or ganji is little amount of rice simmered in large quantities of water to a creamy porridge. At its most fundamental, congee is rice water, flavored with buttermilk or coconut milk, chilli and salt. For today’s meal I dressed up the Rosematta congee with vegetables and Yuba (The thick cream that forms on the top of simmering soy milk is removed in layers, sun-dried and rolled into sheets). Add few pieces, the yuba will soak up the saaram, become soft and taste like milk meegada. A neat protein delicacy popularized by Buddhist monks, I gathered.

Sometimes you have to spend hours in the kitchen to make a remarkable meal. Sometimes it becomes effortless, today is one such day. Rosematta and yuba together made a hearty vegetarian congee. We loved our soothing, simple supper.

Broken Rosematta Rice and Yuba
Coarsely Milled Rosematta Rice Grains and Yuba (Soymilk Meegada, Bean Curd Sticks)


1 cup – coarsely milled (broken) Rosematta rice
½ cup yuba (bean curd sticks, broken to one-inch length pieces)
½ cup each – cut pieces of carrot and ridge gourd (turai, beerakaya)
6 cups water and 1 cup milk.
1 teaspoon peanut oil or ghee
6 fresh curry leaves
1 tablespoon ginger juice (Grate or crush the ginger & squeeze.)
1 teaspoon – coarsely crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

In a big pot, heat ghee or oil.
Add and saute curry leaves, black pepper, carrot and ridge gourd pieces 2mts.
Add the yuba, Rosematta rice, water and milk.
Stir in salt and ginger juice.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
When the congee becomes thick and creamy, turn off the heat.
Serve warm. Tastes great with pickle.

Vegetarian Congee with Rosematta and Yuba ~ Our Meal Today

Homemade Yuba ~ Recipe
Rosematta rice ~ Broken variety purchased at Apna Bazar, Bellevue
Yuba (Bean Curd Sticks) at Uwajimaya or also at Chinese grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd),Biyyamu (Rice),Rosematta Rice,Soy (Tofu, Yuba) (Wednesday July 18, 2007 at 9:23 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Turai-Suwa (Ridge Gourd-Dill) Curry

Fresh Dill (Suwa)
Fresh Dill (Suwa) for JFI-WBB ~ Greens

I think culinary knowledge is two types – “Knowledge of” and “Knowledge how”. “Knowledge of” is what psychologists call declarative knowledge – knowledge of facts and rules. It is easy to parrot nutritional information and gave instructions like add this much at this step in the recipe. Difficult to write down and explain is “knowledge how”, the procedural knowledge. It is acquired through practice, by observation and internalization. The suitable amount and how much is too much, when to add – this kind of knowledge is what makes people like my mother and mother-in-law extraordinary cooks, in my view.

In the pursuit of gaining some “knowledge how” I used the “knowledge of” a recipe I got from Dilipji. I tried to recreate the dish with little touches here and there, and the end result turned out to be remarkable. The springtime green herb, the soothing dill worked well with tender ridge gourd. And coarsely ground soy nuggets addition gave the dish little bit body. Assembled between two slices of bread, ridge gourd-dill curry tasted quite good.

Ridge Gourd, Fresh Dill and Coarsely Ground Soy Nuggets


3 ridge gourds – peeled, washed and cut to bite sized pieces
1 small bunch of fresh dill – washed and finely chopped – about ¼ cup
¼ cup coarsely ground soy nuggets
(soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes beforehand)
1 small red onion – finely chopped
5 green chillies and 1 tbs coconut – grinded to smooth consistency
¼ tsp turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients – 1 tsp oil, ¼ tsp each- cumin, mustard seeds

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. Add and saute onion to soft. While onions are cooking, squeeze the water from soy nuggets and add them to the pan. Stir-fry for few minutes. Add dill and ridge gourd pieces. Stir in green chilli-coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix and cook, covered for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the ridge gourd pieces become soft. Serve hot with chapati/bread.

I prepared a ciabatta sandwich. Cut and toasted the bread lightly. Filled it with liberal amounts of curry and spooned some yogurt on the top as dressing. Ciabatta bread absorbed the moist curry flavors very well. The highlight of course is fragrant fresh dill in the curry. Delightful Dill made my dil happy and I loved my meal today!

Ridge gourd-Dill Sandwich with Cucumber Slices and a Piece of Karachi Halwa

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd),Soy (Tofu, Yuba),Suwa (Dill) (Monday April 9, 2007 at 10:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Rice Noodles & Tofu in Fiery Peanut Sauce

Rice Noodles and Extra Firm Tofu

I indulged in junk food during our road trip, but Vijay was strict about his diet. His junk food was fruits, mainly lot of oranges and mandarins. My mood was going up and down along with the road curves we were taking, but Vijay was his usual chirpy, pleasant self the whole trip. I guess all that Vitamin C (known to cause sunny disposition in people) does effect one’s mood and also taking them was his way of dealing with unpredictable moods of his companion.:)

One of the healthy meals during our travel time was at Madison. We went to Noodles and Company (Asian fast food joint) next to our hotel for dinner. We didn’t have this chain in our part of Ohio and PA, and it’s a refreshing fast food experience we had in a while. Most of their menu was filled with decent real food like items and I went with ‘Indonesian fiery peanut saute’. As written in restaurant menu, this dish was prepared by sauteing rice noodles with fiery peanut sauce, broccoli, carrot and Napa cabbage and garnished with bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and lime wedges. You could also order tofu or chicken strips with it. Of course I went with tofu. I liked the whole combination so much, and had decided to recreate this dish at home once I reached Seattle.

If you have all the ingredients at hand, preparation is quick and easy, and it can be a filling meal.

Ingredients for Noodle Preparation

(for two hungry people)

Prepare Fiery Peanut sauce:

Half cup of roasted peanuts
8 dried red chillies – Indian variety
½ tsp of each – salt and jaggery(/sugar) or to taste
Take them all in blender. Add a cup of water and blend to smooth paste. This is our ‘fiery’ sauce.

Vegetables and Tofu:

Broccoli: wash and cut or separate small florets (10 to 12)
Carrot: cut to thin, vertical strips of 2 inches length (15 to 20)
Spring onions (1 bunch) – finely chop
Tofu: Extra firm variety, cut to 1-inch cubes (10 to 12 cubes)
Bean sprouts: wash and half them (about a cup)
To garnish: prepare cilantro and lime wedges
You also need soy sauce and salt to taste.


In a big skillet, add a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add and fry tofu cubes to pale gold color. Remove to a plate and keep them aside.

To the same skillet, add the vegetables and stir-fry them to the tenderness you desire. Then add the fiery-fragrant peanut sauce, a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of soy sauce. And also tofu cubes and bean sprouts. Mix. Cook for about 5 minutes, covered. If the sauce is too tight, add little bit of water and adjust the seasoning (salt and jaggery) also.

Meanwhile cook rice noodles (purchased at Trader Joe’s grocery shop), 2 bundles, one for each person, according to packet instructions. Take care not to overcook. They would stick to each other and become a soggy mess if overcooked. Drain and immediately add the rice noodles to skillet.

Toss the rice noddles with vegetables and peanut sauce. Sprinkle some more bean sprouts, cilantro and squeeze some limejuice. Serve hot.

Rice Noodles and Tofu in Fiery Peanut Sauce ~ Our Simple Meal Today

This sauce is really ‘fiery’. For medium fiery sauce – reduce the number of chillies to 6, for mild sauce to 4 or even less.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Rice Noodles,Soy (Tofu, Yuba) (Thursday October 12, 2006 at 3:55 pm- permalink)
Comments (44)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba) ~ Savory & Sweet

Fresh Soymilk Skin (Fresh Yuba, Uba, Bean Curd Skin, Fuzhu, Foo Pi)

Few months ago, after much hesitation I dared and prepared soy milk at home. The milk was alright, but what I liked most was the skins that would form while boiling soymilk. Do you remember from India, when you boil cows/buffalo’s milk, a thick layer of skin would form on top of boiled milk. You can just lift the layer and eat – Milk meegada or malai, do you remember the taste? Mildly sweet and irresistible because of limited amount. Same thing here with soymilk.

Soymilk skins are much thicker, almost like samosa/wonton wraps. They taste sweet and have a distinct soy smell. What I gathered from the web is that Japanese call this soymilk skin “Yuba” and they are an expensive delicacy. Famously and religiously prepared by Buddhist Monks and used in several Buddhist recipes for its protein richness.

I wanted to try an Indianised yuba recipes and prepared two entries with soymilk skins. A savory and a sweet – Yuba:Potato Curry Rounds and Soymilk Halwa. As entries to IMBB+SHF ~ Soy, hosted by Reid of Ono Kine Grindz. Started the whole process first by preparing fresh soymilk. And then boiled the milk for about an hour. Constantly picking up the milk skins with a chopstick. I wrapped these milk skins around the potato curry and sauteed them for few minutes. With leftover soymilk skins and soymilk, I prepared halwa by adding sugar, finely chopped dates and freshly grated coconut. Simmered the whole thing until it came together like pala kova. Removed to a box and kept it in the freezer to make the halwa little bit firm.

Both the yuba-potato rounds and soymilk halwa tasted superb. Time consuming but worth my effort and I am glad that I tried this ancient classic Buddhist delicacy.

Here is the whole process in images. Enjoy!

Boiling homemade soymilk to pickup soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)

Wrapping Potato curry in soymilk skins (Yuba, Milk Meegada)

Sauteing the Soymilk skin (yuba) wrapped potato curry rounds on low heat

Golden colored yuba-potato curry rounds – in closeup

Yuba-Potato Curry Round in fresh soymilk skin (soy paala meegada) with red chilli-garlic powder as garnish

Soymilk Halwa with dates and fresh coconut

More about YubaHere and from Egullet
Yuba making – in images
Tags: +

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dates (kharjuram),Potato,Soy (Tofu, Yuba),Sugar (Friday June 23, 2006 at 9:33 am- permalink)
Comments (49)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Home Made Soymilk

Homemade Soya Milk

I was looking for recipes to prepare soymilk at home for a while now. The reason ofcourse is the recent pricehike of commercial soymilk. In big warehouse shops like Costco, the price for 3 packets of ‘Silk’ brand soymilk was 4 dollars, few years ago. It is now around 8 dollars. Vijay and I, we both like soymilk – for cereal, for cooking and whenever we feel like drinking something refreshing particularly during summer months. Cold soymilk has been our drink of choice. But now with the recent price increases, I’ve been feeling little reluctant to pay that kind of price, it felt like ‘organic’ kind of ripoff.

That’s when I found this clearly described recipe at fellow foodblogger/chef’s blog “Tasty Bytes” for home made soymilk. I had to give it a try. I brought some books from the library and also googled; what I found out was there are mainly two ways to prepare soymilk.

1.Soybeans are soaked, cooked first & then pureed to extract the milk.
2.Soybeans are soaked, pureed first to extract the milk& then the milk is boiled. (This method is traditional Japanese way of preparing soymilk according to this book.)

I was pendulating which method to follow, because this is my first time preparing at home and I wanted it to be a success taste wise. Well, I left it for Vijay and he chose the second method – Puree, extract and then boil. So last weekend, for the first time, we prepared homemade soymilk. I could not believe how easy it was. The whole thing of extracting the milk took about 30 minutes, that’s all.

What about the taste – we added vanilla and honey for flavoring and tasted the chilled soy milk. It has a strong, more robust flavor than the commercial vanilla soymilk. Not off-putting at all, but again we are motivated to like it :). Adding vanilla and honey was a good choice, because we are accustomed to vanilla flavored, mildly sweet commercial (Silk brand) soymilk. For those of you who ask, why soymilk, what’s so special about it? – We prefer it mainly because it’s a guilt free, hormone and cholesterol free choice we have available here. And soymilk is high in protein and rich in iron but low in sodium, fat and calcium. Also we like it for taste… heavy textured but it has a smooth, silky taste.

Dry Soya Beans, Soaked Soya Beans, Rubbed and skins removed Soya beans
Soybeans – Dry, Soaked, Rubbed and skins removed


2 cups of dried soybeans
4 glasses water
2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of honey(or sweetener of your choice)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
Big pot and cheesecloth (gangi gudda/cotton cloth)

Preparation is real simple and 3 steps.
(1) Soak and rub (2) Blend and extract (3) Boil and chill.

Soak and Rub:
Soak the beans overnight in lot of water. They expand considerably, so take a big vessel and add at least two to three glasses of water for them to soak. By Morning, they will double in size. Rub soybeans with hands to remove the outer covering. The flimsy outer covering will easily separate from the beans and will float to the top. With hand, scoop them and remove. Repeat like this, two or three times to remove the covering. I was able to remove the outer layer for at least 75 percent of Soya beans.

Extracted soymilk and the squeezed out bean pulp
Extracted soymilk and the squeezed out soybean pulp

Blend and Extract:
Pour the beans into a colander to drain the water. Take the beans in a blender and in batches, grind them into smooth puree adding water.

Keep a big pot on the side. Cover it with a cheesecloth or gangi gudda/cotton cloth. Pour the pureed bean mixture into the cloth. Pull the cloth together and twist and allow dripping for few minutes. And then with your hands gently squeeze as much milk as possible. Take care not to squeeze the soya bean pulp.

Do this in batches. I kept the squeezed out soya bean pulp from each batch on a plate. Finally I blended this pulp again two times, adding water, to extract as much soymilk as possible.

Boil and Chill:
Pour the milk through a fine sieve into a big pot. You see white foam (the kind, that forms when you blend urad dal or moong dal) floating on the top of milk. Scoop it with a spoon or with your hand. I did this to clear the surface of milk.

Bring the milk to a boil. Add honey and vanilla. Reduce the heat to medium. Partially covered, simmer it for about 30 minutes, stirring in-between. Just like cows milk, layers of skin (meegada) were forming on top, I removed the skin (meegada) layers to a cup and later added this meegada to the ‘aloo chole’ I was preparing for supper. The meegada skins tasted melting delicious.

Allow the milk to cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean bottle and keep the bottles in the refrigerator to chill. Serve and enjoy.

Homemade Soya Milk
Home made soymilk – all ready for chilling in the refrigerator.

Caution: Extremely acquired taste.
Recipe Source: Foodblog – Tasty Bytes and Cookbook – “The science and lore of the Kitchen
Yield: 1 liter (quart) or two bottles like in the photo above.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Soy (Tofu, Yuba) (Monday April 3, 2006 at 12:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (72)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Potato Kurma

This potato kurma with soya chunks goes great with rice or chapatis/nans.


3 to 4 potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
4 juicy tomatoes and 1 onion cut into small pieces
Half cup peas
1 tsp of ginger,garlic,cilantro paste,
2 tsp coconut powder (fresh or dried)
1 tsp each of red chilli powder, salt and turmeric
popu or tadka ingredients (read the preparation)

I also added protein rich soya chunks (the white round ones in the photo below) to this carbo rich curry.

Potato Kurma Ingredients

Add 1 tsp of oil to a hot pan, saute 1 tsp of each cumin, mustard seeds(popu or tadka), when they start to splutter, add garlic ginger cilantro paste, sauté it, and then add onions, tomatoes and peas.

First step Final step

Once the tomatoes are well cooked and juicy, add potatoes, soya chunks, salt, red chilli powder, coconut powder, turmeric and little bit of water. Cook them covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, for about 10 to 15 mts, on medium flame.

Potato Kurma with Chapatis

Chapati and potato kurma, yum…. this is good eating. How many times I prepare and eat this curry, the taste never gets boring.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato,Soy (Tofu, Yuba) (Thursday April 28, 2005 at 9:13 am- permalink)
Comments (47)

The New Home of Mahanandi: