Four years ago when I resided in Bangalore India for a month there were days I ate Butter Chicken for Breakfast lunch and dinner. I’m not kidding. There were not a lot of things I loved about the hustle and bustle and cow shit-filled streets of Bangalore but what I really loved was being in a real cosmopolitan city for a month and the option of having good food delivered to your door. For a girl who lived her whole existence in a rural mountain town, being able to order any cuisine at any hour of the day to be delivered right to my doorstep just blew my mind. I never ever saw tofu on a menu in India though.
During our Bangalore stay we even ordered takeout during Cyclone Vardah as the rains pounded through Karnataka state and we sat in our nice dry apartment and enjoyed just listening to the rain. And sipping cocktails and eating delicious spicy Indian food of course. For someone like me who has lived in a rural town in an alpine forest for her whole life being able to order anything, especially Butter Chicken delivered piping hot to our doorstep was a crazy novelty. Especially during a Cyclone.
I ate so much butter chicken in Bangalore that my boyfriend started calling me Butter Chicken. It is not the most enduring of nicknames when your ass is growing by the day. When you get up at seven a.m. and attack the leftover butter chicken instead of eggs like a normal person would, well maybe I deserve that nickname.
We had been back in the states for almost two months until that snowy night, I was “just saying no” to Butter Chicken. Until that one night in March. It had been cold, windy and snowy the last two nights and that had me craving Indian food. This is a fantastic tofu version of Butter Chicken that takes me back to rainy nights in Bangalore India.
I simply adore tofu but I never eat tofu because the thought of soy sends me into a full-blown panic attack. Damn you soy, and you’re GMO-filled cancer-causing goodness! Whenever we go out for Thai food (Which is never because we live in a tiny ski resort town that does not have a Thai restaurant) my guilty pleasure is ordering a Thai curry with tofu or Pad See Ew with Tofu. This is my favorite rainy night, guilty pleasure tofu dish.
If you wish to make a vegetarian or vegan version use coconut oil instead of the ghee. And substitute vegetable stock for the animal stock. And sob yourself to sleep at night if you can’t have heavy cream.
1 block high protein tofu, drained well and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 red onion, chopped
2 Serrano chilies, cut lengthwise, chopped in thirds
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tandoori seasoning ( 1 teaspoon each salt, cumin and paprika)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups ground tomato’s
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
2 cups water
2 cups homemade chicken or beef stock
4 tablespoons ghee
1/2 cup organic salted butter
Cook the onions and serranos in the ghee for at least 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool for 15 minutes. In a food processer blend the onion and Serrano. Set aside. Blend the tomatoes in the same food processer.
Mix the masala tandoori spices and the Greek yogurt. Coat the tofu in the masala/ yogurt. Let marinate for one to three hours. When you are ready to cook the tofu turn your oven to high broil. Grease a baking sheet very well. Add the tofu with all that delicious sauce. Broil the tofu for fifteen minutes, checking constantly every two minutes until just crispy. Set aside.
Return the onion paste to the wok and add the garlic, ginger and spices. As it browns slowly add the water as the spices roast to thicken it. It takes about 10-15 minutes for the spices to roast. Just keep stirring and adding more water. Add the tomatoes. Cook another 15 minutes. Add in the broth and salt and keep cooking and stirring for at least an hour. Half an hour before serving, add in the tofu, the cream and the ground cashews. Finish with 1/2 cup of salted butter.