Update: contrary to some of the information provide in the post below, I have recently read in several different Facebook groups that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are and have always been vegan. According to the coca-cola website, some of their other products, such as lilt, are not vegan or vegetarian since they contain trace amounts of fish gelatine. I have, however, read that diet Pepsi is not suitable for vegan, yet Pepsi Max is suitable for vegans. I apologise for any inconvenience or misinformation caused by the contents of this post.
Good evening! Before I tell you about tonight’s recipe, I just wanted to share a fact I discovered only this week after five years as a vegetarian (one of them as a vegan): Coca-Cola and Diet Pepsi are not vegetarian or vegan! I don’t know if this is old news for most people, but in all these years it never once crossed my mind that there might have been animal products involved in the production of these drinks! You won’t find any animal products in their ingredients lists because it is not considered an ingredient in the drink, rather a production tool. Also, by UK law, products do not have to be labelled as suitable (or not suitable) for vegetarians or vegans.
A little preliminary research online shows up several sources confirming that neither Diet Pepsi, Coca-Cola nor several other popular sodas are vegetarian, but there are a number of different explanations. Some state that these drinks contain trace amounts of fish gelatine, some state they contain animal-derived Vitamin D, some that they are cleared through beef gelatine. In some cases the manufacturers of such drinks have confirmed that their drinks are not vegetarian or vegan but refused to divulge in what way this is the case!
This is all very confusing, and so my partner and I have resolved only to buy drinks labelled as vegan or vegetarian. Sainsbury’s own brand cola drinks are labelled suitable for vegans and don’t worry, they don’t taste like dishwater! Here are just a couple of links containing statements from manufacturers:
Now, onto the recipe. I first created this recipe about a year ago. In the notebook in which I jotted down the recipe, I wrote a note: “yum yum yum yum yum yum yum, world’s most delish curry!” It’s a bold statement which I won’t repeat here, but I have to say that it is undoubtedly one of my absolute favourites! If you think tofu is bland, this recipe will convince you otherwise! The tofu is pressed, cubed, coated in spices and lightly shallow fried to seal in the flavour before being added to the curry. This process may sound fiddly but takes all of around 10-15 minutes and takes the dish to a whole new level of awesome-ness. Never again will you wonder, “Where’s the meat in my masala?”
A word of warning: I consider this curry medium hot, as I have a pretty high tolerance for heat. I could basically live off Indian and Mexican food. If you prefer your curry milder, you can easily control the level of heat by deseeding or even omitting the red chilli from the curry paste and reducing some of the spices in the paste, if you like.
My favourite thing about this curry, apart from the depth of flavour, is the sauciness. The curry is loaded with rich, velvety sauce made up simply of homemade curry paste and light coconut milk. Please give this recipe a go, you won’t be sorry!
This post is shared at Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up and Healthy Vegan Fridays along with loads of other great plant-based and vegan recipes!
Tofu Tikka Masala
For the tofu tikka pieces:
1 block extra firm tofu, drained
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp amchoor (dried mango powder, available in large supermarkets or Indian grocery stores)
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
For the curry paste:
1 large shallot or ½ onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and chopped
½ small bunch coriander (about 15g)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp asafoetida (available in Indian grocery stores)
¼ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Small handful nuts (I used peanuts)
For the rest:
½ head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
100g green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
400ml can light coconut milk
½ small bunch coriander, chopped
- Wrap the tofu in a triple layer of kitchen towel or in a clean tea towel and place between two plates. Put something heavy on top, such as a book or saucepan (I used my food processor. No, really). Set aside while you continue the recipe.
- In a small bowl, mix the spices for the tofu tikka pieces. Set aside.
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine all the paste ingredients. You may need to add a little water if using a food processor. I used a Nutribullet. Blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
- Unwrap the tofu. It should be fairly solid. Cut into ½” pieces. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray liberally with oil spray. Coat each piece of tofu individually in the spice mix and place in the pan. Fry in at least two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook the tofu for about 1 minute each side on four sides. Remove from the pan and wrap in kitchen foil to keep warm. Repeat with all the tofu pieces.
- Place a large, heavy based saucepan or cast iron pan over a medium-high heat and add the curry paste. Cook the paste, stirring almost constantly, for about 10 minutes until browned. Add the cabbage, green beans, coconut milk and 250ml water. Stir, cover partially and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook over a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
- Add the tofu pieces and stir carefully. The tofu should be sturdy enough not to break up. Cook over a low simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in most of the coriander, reserving a little for garnish. Serve with plain basmati rice, garnished with the reserved coriander.