I am very fortunate to call Melbourne my second home. It’s a cool City (although, London still wins. Hehe). Great people, excellent shopping, awesome music scene and AMAZING food. There is one thing though that Melbourne just cannot offer, no matter how many people tell you it can, you just cannot get a good Ruby Murray ANYWHERE! If you think you can, unfortunately you wrong. Sorry about that.
Things were hard enough when I was a crazy meat eater, but now I am vegan, I have had to call time on my Curry finding adventures.
So I set out to make a good vegan version of the old classic, the tikka masala. It had to follow a few basic rules – it has to be simple, so it can be made at home, on a weeknight, after a heavy day at work. It has to be relatively cheap, it has to be much healthier than the original version and it has to taste damn good. I think I got it.
First up, it has to be simple. I achieved this by using a ‘pataks tikka paste’. You can make your own, the results are worth it and I will be making a post about various curry pastes I have made in the coming months, but to be honest with you, these pastes are so tasty and cheap, it is totally worth using them. The total time will be cut in half. This is also economic as you won’t have to buy a LOAD of ingredients you will only use once. It is also much healthier than the usual sauce, this is because of reduced oil, no butter and the heavy cream has been replaced with light coconut milk. This also makes it taste AMAZING.
Have a go, hope you enjoy it and afterwards, visit your local record store like I used to by going to Rough Trade after a Brick Lane Curry. Perfect. Oh, and if you know anywhere in Melbourne you can get a good vegan curry, please let me know…
- 500g firm tofu, drained and pressed dry in-between paper towel
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large carrot, diced in large pieces
- 1 red pepper (capsicum), diced
- 1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ pack pataks tikka paste (or similar)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (if needed)
- 1 large handful spinach
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Fresh coriander, to serve
- Salt and pepper
- Heat your oven to 230 degrees celsius
- Cut your tofu lengthways into 3 equal sized rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into 4 smaller rectangles. You should end up with 12 rectangles the same size. Lay them on a tray lined with baking paper and heat for 15 minutes, turn and heat for a further 10 minutes, then turn and heat for a final 5 minutes. The tofu should be nice and crispy but not burnt
- Whilst all this is happening, get on with your sauce. Start by heating a sauté pan over a medium to high heat. Add the oil
- Fry the onions, carrot and pepper for about 5 minutes until softened
- Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for 2 more minutes
- Spoon in the paste and mix everything. Make sure all the veg is covered in paste and fry for another minute
- Add in the tomatoes, coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. As soon as it does, lower to a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover and leave to boil for about an hour, stirring regularly. Add some water to loosen if you need to. If you find it doesn’t thicken then add some tomato paste after about 45 minutes
- 5 minutes towards the end, add the tofu, spinach and peas and stir everything until the spinach wilts
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in some fresh coriander
- Serve with either rice or naan. Or both. In fact, just do both. You might as well get some poppadums too. And chutney. Actually, make it 2 naans
Alabama Shakes “Boys & Girls”
As mentioned earlier, no curry for me would be complete without going to Brick Lane and then, half cut on a few pints of cobra, making a visit to Rough Trade Records, the second best record shop I have ever been to (Amoeba wins!). Therefore, the connection here will be Rough Trade Records and one of my favourite albums of recent years.
Something tells me these guys ain’t vegan. In fact, the first time I saw them, half the band looked like they had just come from a cattle ranch! But you get no judgement from me here, especially when you make music THIS good.
If you can, check them out live. A seriously good band.
Listen – but do yourself a favour and buy it on vinyl!!