Chilli Tofu Dry - Easy

Too many years ago, a co-worker friend took me to a vegetarian Indo-Chinese restaurant.  I had never heard of this combination, but I must have been hiding under a rock because it is very common in some areas.

After all these years, I can't recall exactly what I ate, except that the food was a fantastic fusion, the best of both worlds.  I asked this friend the other day if she recalled the name of the restaurant, but alas, after all these years she couldn't remember either ... despite the popularity of the place at the time, it apparently no longer exists.

Oh, well.  Until our schedules align and we can meet up at an alternative location, I poked around the intertubes for Indo-Chinese recipes.  Which I found at Tasty Indian Recipes, hosted by the duo (chef) Sneha and her husband (web) Developer. 

Sneha's recipe* is a parve (vegan) version of the famous Indo-Chinese dish Chilli Paneer Dry, usually made with paneer (duh), a cubed Indian cheese also referred to as cottage cheese, which, despite its name, more closely resembles packed farmer's cheese ... which is a dry version of American cottage cheese (hope that whiplash of a description didn't make you dizzy).

Chilli (spelled with two Ls) Paneer is either made with plenty of gravy (sauce), or dry-style, with just a bare coating of sauce to flavor the ingredients in the dish.  The paneer is generally deep fried,  but many home-style recipes such as this one stir-fry the ingredients.  Paneer is not available at my local Try-n-Save, but the more easily obtainable tofu makes an excellent substitute ... and helps me use up all that tofu I still have stockpiled in the back of my fridge.  I also tweaked a couple of other ingredients and quantities here and there, but it is still essentially Sneha's.

Despite the list of ingredients, this is a very easy to make main dish.  Just yesterday I threw a batch together before breakfast just so I wouldn't have to bring yet another peanut butter and jelly sandwich to work (no leftovers from dinner these last few days ... either bad planning or good planning, depending upon how you look at it). 

*update - the site is owned by Sneha, but this particular recipe was posted by Priya.

Chilli Tofu Dry - Easy
Based on Tasty Indian Recipes
Yield: 3 servings

1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (approx. 2 tsp., bottled okay)
2 Tbl. tomato ketchup
1 tsp. chili paste (such as Sambal Oelek)
1 Tbl. rice vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce (regular preferred)
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 (8 oz.) package firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium or 1/2 large red pepper, diced
1/4 cup scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish
hot cooked rice, enough for your family

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add oil, wait 10 seconds, then  add sliced onion.

Saute for 5 minutes until the onions soften and reduce slightly.  Add garlic and continue to saute for 30 seconds.

Stir in ketchup, chili paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium; saute for 2 minutes to coat onion mixture evenly and thicken sauce.

Gently stir in tofu and red pepper.  Continue to stir for 1 minute to heat and coat tofu with sauce.

Divide cooked rice between 2 plates.  Ladle tofu chilli tofu over rice.  Garnish with sliced scallions, if desired, and serve immediately.


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