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"Panch" Up Your Pulse!

Posted by Spice Girl on 4/28/2016 to EAT TASTE LOVE
We are nearly one third of the way through the "International Year of the Pulse". For my third Eat Taste Love blog I thought I would feature the Bengali Style Curry Sauce recipe I am sampling this season at the Saturday Market. The sauce is simple but delicious and goes really well with the combination of brown lentils and pan-fried tofu used here. (I won't tell the "Pulse Police" if you substitute a different protein!)

Never fear if brown lentils are outside your comfort zone. Just follow the directions and you won't be disappointed. (Some people have a bit of a tough time digesting whole lentils, if this is the case, start with a smaller amount and gradually increase your daily intake until your body has a chance to develop the necessary enzymes to digest lentils). You should only add salt towards the end of cooking lentils.

Bengali Style Curry with Lentils and Tofu

(Note: this image is just the sauce, pureed as I sample it at the market.)

For the sauce...
2-3 tbsp. Bengali Panch Phoron (toast slightly in a dry pan stirring constantly, let cool then grind)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-28oz can diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp Moghul Curry
Salt to taste (2 tsp+)
1 cup water
1 cup whipping cream (substitute ground cashews if you prefer)

For the lentils...
1 cup brown lentils
3 cups water or salt-free stock
Salt to taste

For the tofu...
1 lb firm tofu
Butter and oil for frying
Salt & Pepper to taste

Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Prepare the sauce...
Begin by heating a dry pan and toasting the Panch Phoron slightly. Remove from heat, let cool and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Heat oil in a large pot on medium high for 30 seconds. Add ground Bengali Panch Phoron and let sizzle for 30 seconds until it foams a bit. Remove the pot from the heat, 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.

While the sauce is simmering prepare the 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 and cook another 5-10 minutes. Drain lentils and add to the curry sauce.

While the lentils are cooking prepare the 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.

Bring sauce back to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes then add the cream, heat through. Serve over steamed rice, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Visit our Recipe Page for more inspiring ways to use Bengali Panch Phoron and Moghul Curry.

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