I wanted to make an Indian-flavored, pan fried tofu. The problem is, you can pan fry tofu with some ground spices, but if you use too much, it will just fall off and burn. The obvious answer was to infuse the spices in oil.
I'd never done this before, so I did some interwebs research and a little testing to come up with the following guidelines:
- Cook the spices low and slow
- The longer you cook, the more flavorful the oil
- the longer the cooled oil sets in the spices, the stronger the flavor
- bruise or crush wholes spices first, if possible.
- If you only use dry spices, the oil will keep longer
- Theoretically, if your spices have zero water content the oil should be pretty close to nonperishable.
- Infused oil should be kept refrigerated and will keep for about a month.
- This oil makes an amazing batch of Parathas.
- Also awsome on popcorn.
Curry Infused Oil
1 cup canola oil
2 Tbs coriander seeds
1 Tbs cumin seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp fenugreek seed
5 whole cloves
3 dried hot chili peppers, crumbled (some or all seeds removed)
1 Tbs ginger, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 curry leaves (optional)
Put the whole spices in a coffee grinder and give it a couple of pulses or crush/bruise them in a pestle & mortar. Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan and add the spices. When they begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium low and add the ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Simmer mix so that the oil barely bubbles around the ginger and garlic. Stir occasionally.
Continue to simmer the mixture over low heat for 45-60 minutes. Remove from heat and leave the oil to cool completely. The longer you leave it, the more flavor the oil will have. I would leave for at least a couple of hours and, preferably overnight (in refrigerator).
Tofu with Curry Infused Oil
1 lb tofu, drained
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1 tbs curry infused oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
Cut the tofu into crouton sized cubes, or to your liking. Squeeze the lemon juice over the cubes, toss to combine and let sit for about five minutes. Toss again before adding to the oil
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan. Add the tofu and fry, stirring occasionally until the tofu is evenly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the turmeric and paprika and stir to combine. Fry for a couple minutes more, until the spices are cooked into the tofu.
4 Servings: 93 cal (6g fat, 1g carbs, 7g protein)