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Bengali Style Curry

A tomato based curry with cream added at the end carries amazing flavour from the Bengali Panch Phoron which is roasted and ground before blooming briefly in oil. Add steamed vegetables, or protein of your choice or simply dip fresh naan into the sauce. If you prefer a vegan version use ground cashews instead of cream.

  2-3 tbsp Bengali Panch Phoron (lightly roast in a dry pan for 2 minutes, stir constantly, let cool then grind)
  1/3 c vegetable oil
  28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  1-2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  1-2 tsp Moghul Curry
  1 c water
  1 c whipping cream or cashew cream***
Heat oil in a medium pot on medium high for 30 seconds. Add ground Bengali Panch Phoron and let sizzle for 30 seconds. It should foam slightly. Remove pot from heat and immediately add the tomatoes and stir so spices do not burn. Stir in salt and Moghul Curry. Return pot to heat and cook 10-15 minutes until oil comes to the top. Stir in water, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes. Add cream, stir, bring back to a simmer.

This is delicious with brown lentils*, crispy pan-fried tofu**, chickpeas and cauliflower or served over steamed vegetables, rice or with warm naan. Make it vegan by using cashew cream*** instead of whipping cream.

*To prepare 1 cup lentils: put 3 cups of water or unsalted stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, pick through the lentils to remove any stones or foreign objects then rinse well in cold water 3 or 4 times. Add the lentils to the water and let boil vigorously uncovered about 15 minutes until they are nearly done. Add salt to taste (1/2 - 1 tsp) and cook another 5-10 minutes. Drain lentils and add to the curry sauce.

**To prepare tofu cut tofu into 1cm thick slices. Heat butter and oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Season the tofu slices and add to the pan. Cook on both sides until evenly browned 10-15 minutes per side turning until evenly cooked on both sides. When brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and blot on a paper towel. Cut tofu into cubes and add to curry sauce

***To make cashew cream soak 1/4 c raw cashews in water 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse, then add to a food processor or blender along with 1/2 c water. Blend until smooth. Add to curry sauce and heat through.