Presented by Madhu Gadia, MS RD, Author of The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking, in the Co-op Class, “Indian Curries.”

Matar-paneer is an essential dish in most Indian restaurants, loved by adults and children alike. The traditional version is typically made with yogurt and/or cream, along with paneer (firm cheese). If you have time, prepare this dish a few hours before you plan to serve it, since it tastes better as the flavors merge and absorb in the tofu. It also makes great leftovers.

• 2 c extra-firm tofu (about 10 oz)
• 2 c frozen peas
• 1 c onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and , chopped
• 1 tsp garlic
• 1 tsp green chile, chopped, or to taste, or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/2 c tomato sauce
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 2 Tbsp almond meal, or 1 Tbsp almond butter
• 1 Tbsp white poppy seeds
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 2 tsp coriander powder
• 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, divided
• 2-1/2 c water
• 1 tsp salt
• 3/4 tsp garam masala
• 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Cut tofu into ½- to 3/4-inch squares and lay them on a towel for 10 minutes to remove excess water. Thaw frozen peas by soaking in under cold water.

In a blender jar, grind onion, ginger, garlic, green chile, tomato sauce, cumin seeds, almond meal, poppy seeds, turmeric, and coriander powder to a smooth paste. Set aside. (If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to help grind the masala.)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu pieces in a single layer. Cook until light brown on one side, turn over and brown the other side, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the tofu to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the onion mixture. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and cook until mixture is thick enough to draw away from the sides and bottom of the pan in a dense mass and the oil starts to separate, making the masala shiny. Add water and bring to boil.

Add peas, salt, and tofu pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add garam masala and cilantro. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 151; Total Fat: 10 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g); Carbohydrate: 8 g; Protein: 10 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 334 mg

Reprinted from: The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D.