One of my least favourite things about University was the first tute of every semester, wherein the tutor would ask you to tell the class something about yourself - whether that be an unusual fact about you, a rundown of your life story, whatever. This part of University life filled my anxiety ridden self with so much worry that I found myself, on holidays, pre-preparing some quirky facts and stories about myself (not in an #alternativefact kind of way, but in a 'I freeze when put on the spot' kind of way) so as not to choke and say something stupid and non retractable in front of my cohort.
One of the important facts I determined about myself was my top 4 favourite cuisines: Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican and Indian. Unfortunately no tutor ever asked me this question, but if they did, I needn't of feared embarrassing myself - I have got this answer down pat.
Aside from these cuisines being outrageously divine, I suppose part of my affinity towards them is their ability to be fodmap and dietary requirement friendly, without even trying. The grains involved are generally of the gluten free variety by default, minimal dairy is used, vegetarian and vegan requirements are easily accommodated, and there is a real emphasis on fresh, clean, food (unless you're at Taco Bell)
However, If you've read my most recent blog post, you'll be aware/bored of me talking about my digestive system being in crisis mode at the moment, leaving things like legumes, onion and garlic strictly off the menu. I haven't attempted to make an Indian inspired curry in a while as a result, mainly because a lot of the flavour and richness is derived from the use of onion, and onion is one of my arch nemeses. The other week, I decided to make a curry in spite of this - I used to derive so much enjoyment from trying to create authentic curries that I threw caution to the wind. And I'm so glad I did.
As it turns out, super slow cooked (we're talking an hour) caramelised onion does not ruin me the way raw, or even regularly cooked, onion does. It doesn't leave a permanent taste in my mouth (fellow fodmappers, you'll know what I mean) and my stomach barely even seems to notice it's introduction. The best part is, it's not even like I had to alter this recipe to make it fodmap friendly - I would have slow cooked the onion regardless, and the non fodmap members of my household are not missing out on anything because of me. This is just delicious, homemade curry, that, in the manner of the cuisine which it is inspired by, happens to work for everyone, regardless of their diet.
2 brown onions, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
4 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tin coconut cream
500g tofu, cubed and drained
150g sugar snap peas, chopped
Generous salt and pepper
Chilli flakes, to taste
1/2 cup water
Fresh red chilli
One mango, pureed
Extra coconut cream
1. In a large saucepan, heat a generous amount of peanut oil over a medium heat. You don't strictly have to use peanut oil, but if you've not got allergies, it is 100% my oil of choice in this instance. Vegetable oil would be my next suggestion.
2. Add the chopped onion, and stir well to coat it in the oil. Turn down to a low-medium heat, and set the timer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring intermittently and checking the colour to ensure you don't burn it.
3. Once the timer is done and the onion is super duper cooked, add 4 teaspoons of garam masala and two teaspoons of cumin to the pan, and stir well, cooking for another five minutes or so. Add more oil if the oil has been cooked away.
4. Add the tomatoes, and cook again for around 10 minutes, or until they begin to soften and lose their form. Take the mixture off the stove, and, ensuring you don't burn yourself or cause an explosion, process the tomato mixture in your food processor until it is completely smooth. Add the 1/2 cup of water to the blender to help it mix.
5. While the sauce is blending, add some more oil, the remaining teaspoon of garam masala, generous salt, and the cubed tofu to the pan, and turn the heat to high. Fry the tofu in the spice until it becomes crunchy and golden, and then transfer from the pan and set aside.
6. Pour the curry sauce back into the pan, back on a low medium heat. Add the tin of coconut milk, and continue stirring intermittently. The sauce will thicken and lighten in colour, depending on how long you slow cook it for.
7. Add the cubed tofu and sugar snap peas to the curry, and cook a final time. We ate the curry on it's own, but it would be delightful with rice, if you're not as lazy as I am.