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Tofu & Eggplant Curry
2 h 15 m
“The spice blend in this vegetarian curry may seem like it has a lot of ingredients, but it's very easy to blend together and makes a curry that will rival your local Indian restaurant's. Serve with brown rice and naan to sop up all the sauce.”
2 (14 to 16 ounce) packages extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
1 large eggplant (about 1½ pounds), cut into 1½-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup finely chopped cilantro stems plus ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (from 2-3 bunches), divided
½ cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Curry Spice Blend
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ajwain seeds (optional)
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds (not pods)
1 tablespoon New Mexico chile powder or paprika
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1To prepare tofu & eggplant: Slice tofu crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Place a folded clean kitchen towel on a baking sheet. Place the tofu on the towel, cover with another folded towel, place another baking sheet on top and weight with two 28-ounce cans. Let stand for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
2Meanwhile, toss eggplant with ½ teaspoon salt in a colander. Drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
3To prepare curry spice blend: Heat a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, peppercorns, ajwain (if using) and cardamom. Toast the spices, stirring constantly, until very aromatic and starting to smoke, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a small bowl to cool. Grind in a spice grinder (such as a clean coffee grinder) or mortar and pestle to a coarse powder. Return to the bowl and stir in chile powder (or paprika), turmeric, crushed red pepper and cinnamon.
4To prepare curry: Line a large baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°F.
5Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons curry spice, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon salt and toss again. Spread on the prepared baking sheet.
6Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Toss with 4 tablespoons oil and 2 teaspoons curry spice in a medium bowl. Spread onto a baking sheet.
7Roast the tofu on the lower rack, turning once halfway, until lightly browned and beginning to crisp, about 30 minutes. Roast the eggplant on the upper rack, turning once halfway, until soft, about 30 minutes.
8Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the onion is quite soft, 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the remaining curry spice and stir to coat.
9Add tomatoes, broth and cilantro stems, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Stir in yogurt, then the tofu. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
10Stir in the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more. Stir in the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with cilantro leaves, more yogurt and Tabasco, if desired.
To make ahead: Store curry spice blend (Step 3) at room temperature for up to 1 week.