This recipe is inspired by my recent experience at Saffron Indian Restaurant. I have already forgotten about my favorite Indian dish – Tamatar Paneer Malai, which is usually made with paneer (unaged cheese, reminds feta cheese). The restaurant had the vegan option with tofu instead of cheese! I usually associate Tofu with Chinese or Japanese cuisine, and did not even try to combine it with tomatoes. It turned out to be very tasty with indian spices!
Tamatar Panir Malay is the first Indian dish we have reproduced at home. I remember very well the day my sister came up with this idea. She very mysteriously cracked down on the products that she bought specifically for this (then we still ate feta cheese, as the only cheese on the market that did not contain rennet). When it came time to try it, I had the feeling that we are eating at an Indian restaurant! Such a vivid experience that the same vivid memory remains. And what a pleasure it was to taste the veganized version again and bring this treat back to your diet!
How to make Tamatar
Panir Tofu Malay
As I found out on the Internet, “Malay” means something like cream. I am not an expert in Indian culture, so in my innocence I could just call this dish “curry”. In general, the procedure for preparing most of Indian dishes is pretty similar to curry. The name of an Indian dish usualy does not reflect a method of cooking, but its components. For example, “Tamatar” – it is easy to guess that this word is for tomato, “Panir” – means cheese, “Malay” – cream. In this recipe instead of cream, I add cashew cream and I use tofu instead of paneer. Maybe I should have called the dish Tamatar Sweet-Potato Tofu Cashew-Malay? Ha ha!
I like how sweet potatoes taste with Indian spices. Its sweet taste contrasts pleasantly with hot chillies. Instead of sweet potatoes, you can use pumpkin or regular potatoes, or (which will be even better) a combination of both.
Regarding the color, I must warn you that depending on which type of tomatoes come across, the color may turn out to be redder or more creamy-orange, as in the photo above.
I use soft tofu in this recipe, not silken (the link you can find below). I tried to cut it into cubes and break it with my hands – both options are good in their own way. If you break it randomly into pieces, it seems to me that the bright aromas of Indian spices infuse tofu even better. I highly recommend trying both options!
Vegan Tamatar Paneer Malai
- 130 g Brown rice (raw)
- 1 medium Sweet potato
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 medium Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp Ginger (paste)
- 400 g Tomatoes (canned)
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Coriander (crushed)
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1/8 tsp Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 100 g Tofu (firm)
- 30 g Cashews (soaked)
- ½ cup Spring Water
- 2 tbsp Cilantro Leaves
- Put the rice to cook: add water to the raw brown rice in a 1: 2 ratio and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Pour boiling water over the cashews.
- Dice the sweet potato into medium-sized cubes, cover with water and cook over medium heat in a separate saucepan. Pumpkin or regular potatoes would work well instead of sweet potatoes (if you don’t have it). Sweet potato skins are rich in antioxidants, so you don't need to peel them, just rinse them well.
- Preheat the oil in a skillet. I currently use grapeseed oil, but you can use any oil you like, or you can skip this ingredient, if you go for WFPB.
- Chop the onion and saute until golden brown. Add cumin seeds and then add finely grated garlic and ginger (preferable consistency is paste).
- In 30 seconds, add tomatoes, turmeric, chili and garam masala. Simmer the tomato sauce for about 5 minutes, covered with a lid.
- Meanwhile, drain the cashews and place them in the blender container. Add 0.5 cups of water and process at high speed until creamy. Add more water if necessary (up to 1 cup).
- Check the sweet potatoes - if it’s ready, drain the water and transfer it to a skillet with tomato sauce.
- Dice the tofu and add it to the skillet as well. Add cashew cream, mix thoroughly, check for spices. Season with salt / pepper to taste.
- At this point, the rice should be ready. Garnish with cilantro when serving. Bon Appetit!
Things I use in my kitchen
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