Butter Tofu – Curry

This is one of our favourite twists on an Indian takeaway. The traditional North Indian dish is ‘butter chicken’ and it’s all about that rich, creamy and buttery tomato gravy. It’s mildly spicy and savoury, popular with the whole family. This is the perfect store-cupboard supper too, just the thing for those days when you’re running low on fresh ingredients.

We have replaced the dairy in the traditional recipe with Naturli butter and creamy coconut milk. And in place of chicken, our extra firm blocks of organic tofu. We also love this recipe with cauliflower, chickpeas or chunks of aubergine or mushrooms in place of the tofu. Whatever you decide to cook and fold through this mouthwatering sauce, you are guaranteed to lick your plate clean. It’s that good!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Sauce

Tofu

  • 6 heaped tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 600g extra firm tofu, drained and cubed (or sub with cooked chickpeas, cauliflower florets or cubed aubergine or mushrooms)
  • 50g butter

Method

  1. Start with the sauce. Put the onion, garlic, spices and seasoning into a blender and blend into a thick paste. Fry the paste in a heavy bottomed, deep saucepan with the butter for 10 minutes or until dark brown and very fragrant.
  2. Empty the two tins of tomatoes into the blender and blend them until smooth too. Add to the curry paste and simmer and stir for a further 10 minutes until the sauce is rich and slightly reduced.
  3. Add the tin of coconut milk, stir and taste for seasoning. Keep the sauce warm while you cook the rice and tofu.
  4. Drain your blocks of extra firm tofu and cut into bite sized cubes. If you are subbing with vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces and dunk in milk. In a wide bowl, mix the cornstarch, turmeric, salt and pepper. Tumble the tofu into the bowl and use your hands to mix well and ensure each piece is coated in the seasoning. (If you are using vegetables, dunk the veg in the milk first then roll in the seasoned cornstarch).
  5. Heat up a large frying pan (or two) and add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the coated tofu (or vegetables) and cook on a medium-high heat until crispy and golden on the bottom. Then carefully turn the pieces to cook on the other side. Keep turning and cooking until the tofu (or vegetables) is golden brown, hot and crispy.
  6. Fold the cooked tofu (or vegetables) through the warm curry sauce and serve with basmati rice and chopped coriander.

George, Florence & Veganuary

It’s been a wet, windy and cold start to the year, the water levels in the fields are high. We have been lucky enough to have harvested enough of our key root crops like parsnips before Christmas so we do not have to go out into the muck for them in the last couple of days. It would have proved difficult.

The crops are looking pretty good all things considered, we have some amazing new produce coming in from the fields next week. The purple sprouting broccoli has been flourishing over Christmas and we intend to harvest quite a bit of that for next week. We also have the first new mixed salad, it seems crazy to think it is ready but it is. We will harvest this from our own tunnels starting next week too.

It is difficult to manage all the produce around this time of year especially as we shut down for a week and everybody gets a well-deserved break and we do end up with some waste veggies despite our best efforts. Today it was my job to traverse the muddy fields with a bucket of waste veggies to feed our two rescue pigs, they were waiting and snorting and they always seem very excited about the prospect of food. George and Florence seem content, they don’t like the cold, but they do like their bellies to be scratched, they like roaming in the trees and rolling in their straw bed that they keep meticulously clean, they do not like the rain. Florence is very adventurous and constantly breaks out in search of what, I am not so sure. But I think conversation with George seems not to be up to scratch and she goes in search of more stimulating company!

Pigs are the ultimate food recyclers, but the myth that they will eat anything is far from true. I have learned that like our children, they tend to keep away from broccoli and kale! This I guess is fortuitous as whenever Florence breaks out, she wanders through fields of kale and never touches a bit! They definitely have their own little personalities, and they like to have the freedom to roam and to have access to decent straw bedding. As regards Florence and George they will grow old together on our farm provided of course George’s level of conversation improves!

But whether you eat meat or not, I think there seems to be some consensus that the factory farming of animals is wrong, it does produce cheap meat, but I wonder at what real cost to us as a society and to our health? I have found it interesting that my dad who has been a staunch meat eater all his life, has now changed his diet to mainly vegetables, not on ethical grounds but because he felt it was better in general for his health. He still eats meat, that is his decision and I certainly respect that.

Veganuary can cause all sorts of heated discussion, but I guess it is a personal choice, it is up to each individual whether we choose to eat meat or not, or choose to reduce the amount of meat we eat or not. But one thing that we all know for sure is that eating more fruit and vegetables can only do us good. With that in mind I look forward to next week to our own freshly harvested mixed salad and some gently stir fried purple sprouting broccoli with a dash of sesame oil.

Thank you for choosing the very best food and letting us deliver it to your door.

Kenneth

Back to Basics – Vegan Swaps

These days it is easier than ever to make plant based swaps. Here’s a quick summary of simple switches to help you on your Veganuary journey. We stock the best organic groceries in our vegan section to make it easy for you.

MILK is one of the easiest switches to make. There are lots of delicious options out there. Our favourite is oat milk as it has a fairly neutral but gorgeously creamy flavour and texture. It also happens to be the most environmentally friendly option.

BUTTER is easy to switch too. We have a few organic options which (unlike most dairy free spreads) do not contain palm oil. A couple of soft, spreadable ones, Cocovit and Natruli, and the most amazing Naturli Butter Blocks.

CHEESE is a little trickier but not impossible. Dairy cheeses contain casein, an addictive property which makes cheese very hard to give up. But there are more and more delicious vegan cheeses on the market and we are proud to stock some of the best in the world. Have a look at our range here. We also stock nutritional yeast flakes which are tangy, salty and delicious! sprinkle them over pasta like parmesan or over popcorn, or stir into a vegan béchamel sauce for that essential cheesy favour.

EGGS are tricky, but not altogether impossible, to replace if you want them boiled, poached or fried. But scrambled silken tofu is surprisingly similar to soft scrambled eggs. It’s all in the seasoning. Replacing eggs in baking is easy. Follow tried and tested vegan cake and pancake recipes on our blog. Sometimes eggs are simply replaced with raising agents and plant milks, sometimes they are replaced with mashed bananas, apple sauce, milled chia or linseeds. Egg whites can be replaced with aquafaba, the liquid from a tin of chickpeas.

MEATS won’t be missed if you make sure your meals are well balanced with proteins and fats from beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Meat isn’t missed at all if you cook traditional meat free recipes of course, but we all crave the food we have grown up eating. So replace mince with green or brown lentils and crumbled walnuts to make your bolognese saucesshepherds pieschillies etc – it’s all in the seasoning. Replace diced meat in stews and curries with beans and chickpeas or diced tofu. For pulled pork try replicate the texture with jackfruit, pulled mushrooms or aubergines. If you’re craving a steak, try a juicy vegetable steak made from a thick slice of cauliflower or celeriac or a couple of big, roasted, meaty portobello mushrooms. For roasts, burgers and sausages try making nut loaf or beetloaf and shaping it to your needs. For fish try firm tofu, score it thinly and marinade in lemon juice and seasoning, wrap with some nori seaweed, dip in batter or breadcrumbs and fry or bake. 

Swede, Kale & Coconut Dal with Curried Parsnip Fritters

A page from my illustrated cookbook, available to buy from Green Earth Organics shop here.

Dal and fritters are staples in our house. The dal is especially useful to have in your repertoire for those days when you are low on fresh veg just before your next veg box arrives. And of course bulking out a dal with whatever seasonal veg you have is always a good idea. I like to make it with a tin of coconut some days, usually in winter when the weather calls for something rich and creamy, and with a tin of tomato on other days when I want it lighter and tangy (as in the recipe illustration from my book above).

My fritters are not dissimilar to onion bhajis. Here with curry spices in the gram flour batter they go particularly well with the dal and you can add whatever shredded veg you have around – cauliflower, squash, carrot etc. Fritters also make great sandwich fillers or burger patty alternatives and of course they don’t have to be curry flavoured, add whatever herbs and spices you like to make them your own. I love courgette fritters with fresh herbs in the summer, squash chilli and sage in autumn, celeriac, preserved lemon and parsley…the possibilities are endless.

As always, let us know in the comments or over on our community Facebook group if you make this recipe. We love to see our recipes leave the screen. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends and family.

Happy cooking! Liz x

Ingredients for the Dal

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • an onion or leek
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp each: brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, fenugreek, salt and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to taste
  • 1 mug red split lentils
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • curry leaves (if you can get them fresh/frozen that’s best, if not dried is fine)
  • 1/2 a swede
  • a few handfuls of kale
  • lemon/lime juice

Ingredients for the Parsnip Fritters

  • 2 mugs of gram flour
  • 2 mugs of water
  • 1 tsp each: salt, pepper, nigella seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and chilli to taste
  • 3 parsnips
  • vegetable oil for frying

Method

Dice the onion or leek and soften it in a large pan on a medium high heat with the oil.

Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir to toast them until fragrant. Then add the ground turmeric, ginger and fenugreek and stir to briefly toast for just a few seconds.

Add the mug of red lentils and the diced swede and stir to coat them in the spices. Then add the tin of coconut milk and two tins of water to the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and add the curry leaves (if you have them – buy online or at specialist Asian shops) and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to infuse while the lentils and swede cook.

Bring the pot up to boil then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the lentils and swede are cooked through.

Meanwhile get the fritter mix ready. Whisk the gram flour, spices and water together into a smooth batter. Then grate the parsnips and add them to the batter. Stir well to coat all the grated parsnip with the batter.

Heat a frying pan with a generous slick of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and fry whatever sized dollops of the fritter mix in the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. It’s better to cook them slowly if they are large so that they don’t end up burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Raw gram flour batter can be a little bitter.

Stir chopped and rinsed kale through the dal about 10 minutes before serving. Serve the dal and fritters in bowls with Indian chutneys and optional rice, popadoms etc.