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Spicy Tofu and Basil Keema

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  • Author: Shushi Mittal
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 350 g 14 oz or 1.5 cups medium soft tofu, crumbled (it absorbs flavors way better)
  • 2 small plum tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 1- inch knobs of ginger
  • 4 green chilies (more if you want to turn up the heat!)
  • 1 red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 green pepper (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 red pepper (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 fried bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (more the better, but let’s keep it healthy shall we!)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Lettuce leaves to serve (washed and soaked in cold water (to retain their crisp))


  1. In a mixer, blend the tomatoes, chilies, garlic & ginger to a smooth paste. Use very little water if needed. Keep aside
  2. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a few minutes till they begin to splutter. Stir in the onions and bay leaf, adding a little salt (to help them sweat), and cook till the onions start to brown. Add the red & green peppers with the basil and all the dry spices. Mix well and stir for a minute. Now add in the crumbled tofu. Cook without cover on a medium-high flame, till most of the liquid has been absorbed. Finally stir in the blended tomato paste, adjust salt, and let it simmer covered on medium-low flame for around 15-20 minutes. This will not only ensure the tomatoes are fully cooked, but also really infuse the tofu with the spices. Once the raw taste of tomatoes has disappeared, open cover, turn heat to high and continue to cook till any excess liquid has been absorbed, and oil begins to separate (or starts to crisp the bottom of the tofu). Once done, remove from heat, sprinkle lemon juice and some chopped basil and bring to room temperature.
  3. When ready to serve, pat dry the lettuce leaves and add 2 generous spoonfuls on each leaf. Top with more basil & chili, nuts or bhujia (for a crunch) and eat fresh!
  • Category: Gluten-Free Side Dish, Vegetarian
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