I used to love cooking and I used to be much more mindful of what I put into my body. Although, life has a funny way of making us forget that things that we thought would have mattered. Cooking was a way in which I could express myself, my emotions and my creativity. I cooked because I wanted to feed people and I wanted to nourish those that I loved.
Although, since I’ve moved back to the Philippines, cooking has become such a menial task for me. Living here has been quite challenging, and my family doesn’t have the same appetite for other cuisines such as myself. However, I’ve been slowly getting back onto the swing of things. So I thought it would’ve been nice to share a little recipe that I learned just a few days ago: chickpea + tofu tikka masala.
I’m not really the biggest fan of meat because I, personally, don’t like its taste…but, I can’t be considered a vegetarian as well because I have my slip-ups. My meat intake is so minimal, that I can’t even remember what steak tastes like…and I’ve never had bacon ever (except turkey bacon). Although, let’s face it; the Philippines isn’t really good at supplementing a vegetarian or a vegan lifestyle. Not because we can’t have it here, but because it’s not accessible to everyone.
Just like any other Asian country, we love our rice…we eat rice three times a day. Although, white rice is lacking all the dietary fibres that we need in our body. So that’s why we need to try and eat other things like beans, grains and what-not.
Now, chickpea is a type of bean that can be really good for you since it has a lot of minerals, proteins and fibres. Not only that, canned chickpea is actually fairly cheap and can be bought in most supermarkets here in the Philippines. There are so many things that you can do with a can of chickpeas like falafels, hummus and tikka masala. The opportunities are endless, but before I go on a chickpea rant, here are the ingredients:
- chickpea (one can)
- tomatoes (fresh or canned and cubed)
- tomato sauce (one can and unsweetened)
- tofu (two blocks and cubed)
- garam masala (2 tbsp)
- soy milk (2 cups)
- butter (2 tbsp)
- white onion (1 whole and diced)
- red bell pepper (1 whole and sliced thinly)
- garlic (5 cloves and minced)
- ginger (1 tsp and minced)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- chili flakes (depending on your spiciness level)
- cilantro (chopped)
So depending on how fragrant your tikka masala will be, that is completely up to you. Some people can’t handle too much of a pungent smell, but as for me, the stronger the better. This is how you prepare it:
- Heat up your pan and put in a bit of oil of your choosing (olive oil for me).
- Once it’s completely hot, put in your garlic. Wait for it to be fragrant before putting in your onion and the ginger.
- Add in the red bell pepper into the pan and just wait for it to caramelise.
- Carefully add in the canned chickpeas. Make sure to strain them and if you’re wanting to make vegan meringue, the chickpea juice makes for a great egg white substitute!
- Add in the cubed tomatoes and wait for it to tenderise and for the skin to peel. If you put in peeled tomatoes, then just wait for it to tenderise.
- Add in a bit of butter onto your pan and wait for it to melt before adding your soy milk (it can be any milk of your choosing, but soy milk works best for me).
- Keep stirring your mixture or else the tomato sauce might burn and it can leave a very strong burnt taste which will make your tikka masala’s taste bad…plus, burns are such a pain to clean!
- Once the mixture has been mildly boiling, add in your garam masala with a bit of salt, paper and chili flakes (up to you whether you would like it to be spicy).
- Keep on mixing the mixture and wait for the spices to do their job.
- Once your chickpea is soft enough, add a bit of water according to how thick your mixture has gotten. Then season accordingly.
- Once you’ve added the water and it’s still a bit watery, add in your cubed tofu and let it cook in the mixture whilst stirring accordingly.
- Do a quick taste test and adjust the seasoning according to your taste buds then leave for a few more minutes.
- Once cooked, serve with a bowl of rice and add a bit of cream on top (sour cream for me but you can use yogurt) and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Every single day, I’m trying to simply enjoy food just like how I enjoyed it when I was on the road. The thought of strolling through Mexico’s markets and Morocco’s souk has left a lasting impression on me. This is something that made me happy—cooking makes me happy. I intend on cooking more from now on because, at least, I now know what works and what’s accessible.
Will you be trying this chickpea + tofu tikka masala? Honestly, the photographs suck a bit because the lighting in my room was off…but I dare you to try this recipe. It’s so good and it’s good for you!
For now, I must finish the last bit of my chickpea + tofu tikka masala that’s been sitting on my fridge before I cook something new for this coming work week. You see, I work a lot and I find meal prep to be really helpful when it comes to efficiently managing my time. Although, we will talk about that next time, heh! For now, rest and I’ll talk to y’all soon!
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19 NIV