Monday, August 3, 2009

Spinach-chickpea-tofu skin curry

This is the curry that we served with the salad from the last post. I was just going to use the spinach and chickpeas, but I learned that one of our guests isn't big on beans. It turns out she likes chickpeas just fine, but I wanted to make sure she'd have something substantial even if she picked around the beans. The tofu skin was perfect for that. For this recipe, I used the wet kind. It was labeled "fu chang" at the store. I don't know if that's the official name for it. It is wrinkly and has a nice chewy texture. Like regular tofu, it doesn't have much flavor of its own and picks up the flavors of a dish nicely.

Spinach-chickpea-tofu skin curry

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp curry powder (I used Penzey's Balti seasoning)
1 1/2 tsp amchoor (powdered sour mango)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small tomato, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas, or one 15-oz can
1/2 cup chickpea cooking water, if you have some
2 oz tofu skins, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 big bunch of spinach, washed thoroughly*, or one 10-oz bag of spinach

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add the curry powder, amchoor, salt, and cumin seeds and saute for one minute. Add the tomato and saute for one minute. Add the chickpeas, chickpea water, and tofu skins and cook until liquid is reduced by about 1/3. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted. Serve with naan or basmati rice. You'll probably want to add a little salt at the table.

*Greens can be pretty dirty. They do, after all, grow in the ground. Gritty food is extremely icky, but this technique gets them really clean. Fill a large bowl about halfway with water. Put your unwashed greens in there and fill the bowl most of the rest of the way with water. Most of the dirt will sink right down to the bottom of the bowl. To make sure you've got everything, rinse the leaves under a light stream of tap water before wringing them out and cooking them. Of course, if you buy the pre-washed bagged stuff, you don't have to worry about this. But it's a bit more expensive, and you might get salmonella. (Note: you probably won't get salmonella.)

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