This Punjabi-style tomato-based curry is very easy to make, requires basic ingredients, can be made ahead of time, and is healthy. Although I enjoy eating Punjabi food out at restaurants, I always shy away because I know how unhealthy some of the dishes are due to the addition of heavy cream. I won’t claim that this curry takes the place of any particular dish found in Punjabi restaurants, but I WILL say that it satisfies my craving of wanting to eat at those restaurants!
This recipe was inspired by my mom and makes use of the combination of yogurt and cashews to give it that “creamy” flavor. On a recent visit, she brought me a small sample of a tomato-based curry she had made at home. That very same day, I decided to saute some mushrooms, add the curry my mom made, and toast a piece of garlic Naan from Trader Joe’s. It took me all of 10 minutes to do everything and I found myself having an amazing meal with bold flavors. She told me the basics of how she made the curry and immediately I was excited to create a version of it in my own kitchen for my family.
The following week we had 5 heirloom tomatoes in our garden ready to be eaten. We usually find ourselves enjoying these tomatoes sliced with some salt and pepper because they are absolutely delicious, but this time my moms curry came into mind and by the end of the day, I had a large container full of radiant, delicious, fresh curry. The next day, I decided to add some sauteed tofu and mushrooms to the curry. My 3 1/2 year old son and 15 month old daughter loved this dish with some brown rice and a side of yogurt while my husband and I enjoyed it with some garlic Naan from Trader Joe’s (I had to mash up the tofu for my 15 month old). For my husband, this dish probably would not replace Punjabi restaurant food, but he said it came pretty close and devoured the leftovers for lunch the next day!
There are many variations of this dish. If you’re not a huge fan of tofu or mushrooms, you can add any other favorite vegetable or protein. Next time around I plan on trying this dish with some potatoes instead of the tofu and mushrooms. I also used Heirloom tomatoes mainly because I had them readily available fresh from my garden. But on any other day, I typically use vine-ripe tomatoes. When you read the recipe, you’ll notice that I have garam masala as an optional ingredient. I’ve made it with and without the garam masala and to tell you truth, it tastes great either way in case you don’t have it readily available.