Karahi Tofu

I eat pretty healthily most of the time these days but one thing I’ve never paid any attention to is calories and it shows so recently I’ve been trying to adjust my diet (rather than go ON a diet) to try and reduce my intake, basically just paying attention to what is high in calories, finding alternatives where possible and cutting the vast quantities of bread and rice I was eating with everything. I’ve also cut right back on beer and cheese which might surprise people who know me but there is almost 4 stone less of me at this point so it’s working and I certainly feel better for it which is good encouragement. All this has ruled my favourite Karahi Paneer recipe out for now but it occurred to me recently that tofu might work as a substitute for the high calorie, high fat paneer cheese and pan frying the tofu with only the tiniest amount of oil added also means a lot less oil is used than in the original version. It worked really well and wasn’t all that different to the original.

As with the paneer version this goes great with chapatti but they can be surprisingly calorific and full of carbs for something so insubstantial so don’t go OTT if you’re watching the calories etc. and do compare the brands, they vary a lot, I’m, now using one Elephant Atta chapatti per serving which brings the whole thing in at under 300 calories per serving compared to between 600 and 730 with the 2 or 3 chapattis I’d have had with the paneer version previously. As I’ve played with the quantities of everything I also got slightly bigger portions out of it and definitely don’t feel like I’ve missed anything by only having the one chapatti. I think I’m getting the hang of this!

Serves 6


400g Tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 red peppers, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 green peppers, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium onions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2cm fresh ginger, chopped
4 green chillis, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons extra hot chilli powder
2.5 tablespoons coriander powder
1.5 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Sunflower oil spray (eg. Fry Light)


1. Drain the tofu and press it* for 1 hour by wrapping in a couple of layers of paper towel and place between two chopping boards and weigh the top one down with a heavy pan or cookery book and leave while preparing the rest. I actually checked it part way through and changed the paper towels as they were sodden.
2. Blend the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and green chillis to make a purée.
3. Spray a few sprays of the sunflower oil spray in a frying pan (or add a tiny amount of sunflower oil, it’s only to help with browing it) and bring up to a medium heat then fry the tofu chunks turning them often until lightly browned. Remove the tofu and set aside.
4. Add a tablespoon of oil to a wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers until tender being careful not to over cook the peppers. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
5. You will probably find the wok is dry now so add another half tablespoon of oil, check it is hot enough by adding one cumin seed, if it cracks right away the oil is hot enough, then add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. After the cumin seeds crack, add the puréed tomato mix, turmeric, paprika, coriander powder, chilli powder and dried fenugreek.
6. Cook for about 8 minutes on medium heat, sauce will reduce by about 50%
7. Add a teaspoon of salt and a 4 tablespoons of water
8. Bring to the boil and add the tofu, peppers and onion and simmer for about ten minutes on a low heat.
9. Serve with warm chapatti

*Pressing the tofu like this firms it up which makes it better for stir frying or making curries and removes excess moisture which allows it to take on more flavour.

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