To make this Indian tofu rice pilaf recipe vegan, I’ve substituted tofu for panir and oil for ghee.
1 1/4 c long grain brown or white bhasmati rice
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 lb firm tofu, drained
2 Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1 small zucchini, cubed
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1 or 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped or 1/2 c tomatoe puree
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 – 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded, or 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne
1 – 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced, or 1/2 – 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
4 green cardamom pods
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c cashew pieces, toasted in a dry pan or with a little oil
2 1/4 c. water
1/4 c. minced cilantro or parsley
If using brown bhasmati rice, soak 4 – 6 hours, or 1 hour in boiling water
Drain (your plants will love the soaking water), rinse 3 times, set aside
If using white bhasmati rice, rinse and drain until the water is clear
Drain and cut tofu into smallish cubes or slices
Marinate in Braggs or soy sauce 15 min – 1 hr
Heat 1 Tbsp oil or ghee in a non stick frypan, and lightly brown tofu pieces on 2 sides and set aside (leave this until last for slow cooker or crockpot cooking)
Sauté* veggies, (including jalapeno & fresh ginger if you’re using) in oil 5- 10 minutes
Add remaining spices and herbs, except cilantro, and sauté another two minutes
Add rinsed, drained rice, sauté another 2 minutes
Add salt, water & tomato puree if using
Slow Cooker or Crockpot: Place all in preheated crockpot, cook on low for 1 hour, or 2 hours for brown rice. For the slow cooker, it’s better to marinate the tofu ahead, then fry just before before adding to the cooked rice and veg
Stove Top: Bring to a boil, cover & simmer 30 min for brown rice, 10 – 15 min for white
Remove the bay leaf and cardamom pods, which will be floating on top
Gently stir in the tofu, cashews and cilantro or parsley, and cook for 5 – 10 more minutes
*’Sauté’ means fry on med-high heat, stirring constantly. It’s different from stir fry, which uses more heat, and is the end step in cooking. Usually after sautéing, the contents are subjected to another step, like steaming or adding to a soup or stew.
Although white rice is faster cooking and lighter, the brown rice adds taste, texture and substance that is truly satisfying.
I reduced the fat content and cooking time, varied the vegetables, and added cashews. This dish is lovely served with a green salad. The original Indian vegetarian version, with zucchini, ghee and panir, is also delicious.
Nutrition Info for 1 Serving, 141g: 238 calories, 35g carbohydrate, 9g fat, 350mg sodium, 3g dietary fiber, 6g protein, Estimated glycemic load: 23 This food is very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, and a very good source of Vitamin K and Manganese.
Serves 4 – 6: Either white or brown long grain bhasmati rice works well. For more heat use the larger amount of jalapeno, ginger and cayenne.
Adapted from Lord Krishna’s Cuisine – The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi