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A few weeks ago, my brother came over for dinner.

(Don’t you just love stories about my brother?  Today is his birthday.  And his graduation.  And he’s taking his third actuarial exam so that he can be let into the world to do things like run statistics for Deloitte and travel all over the globe while leaving his poor sister alone and lonely in New York.  And instead of holding his hand as he walks down the aisle, I’ll be in my apartment learning about the musculoskeletal system and convincing myself that I have every autoimmune disease under the sun.  I wish I could be there instead of here, diagnosing myself with lupus for the 62nd time this year.  Sigh.  Good luck Daniel!)

By which I mean, he bought food on the way over from a doctor’s appointment and ate it at my kitchen table.

My.Kitchen.Table. Which hasn’t seen any take-out other than sushi in the two years since I’ve lived here.

It almost buckled under the weight of his chicken parm sandwich from the sheer shock of it all.  So did I.

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It was almost as if his sister isn’t a food blogger and thus doesn’t have mounds of food on hand at every second of every day to stuff down his throat!  What kind of weirdo crazy bizarro world does he live in!?!?

Unclear.

He may be able to crunch numbers faster than I can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (okay…probably not), but he has a lot to learn about life.

At least he requested something other than a vanilla cupcake for his birthday this year.  But only after I twisted his arm a few times and threatened to hit him with the pounds upon pounds of blocks of chocolate I always seem to have in my apartment.  Progress.  Baby steps.

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Anyway, he ate his greasy calorie-clogging sandwich and I ate my curry.  We talked, we laughed, we studied.  (Yes.  We studied.  Him: previously mentioned actuarial exam.  Me: the-test-that-shall-not-be-named-that-I-shall-take-in-five-days. Yikes.)

And then he went home and told my mother that I had had mush for dinner.

MUSH!

I only know this because she called me in a state of panic about the situation.  She was almost in tears at the thought of her daughter eating mush and even though she was trying to be so cool, calm, and collected about it, I could hear the gasps for air and smothered sobs that infiltrated every word as she asked me what I had had for dinner that night.  She can be so melodramatic.

It was awkward.

I can’t imagine where she gets it from.

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I don’t think they understand that I was probably born into the wrong continent.  In all likelihood, I was supposed to grow up on curry and eat naan for breakfast every day.

Nirvana.

Well, there’s only one way to make up for lost time.  And that’s to finally cook from the six thousand cookbooks I own with the word “curry” in the title.  That I’ve been too intimidated to tackle for the past few years that I’ve owned them.

Up till now they’ve sat, collecting dust, on my shelf.  Because, you know, it’s hard to just delve into food that isn’t ingrained in your bone structure.  I mean, I’m pretty sure every one of my meta-tarsals can make tomato sauce on a whim. But curry powder?  Garam masala?  Cardamom pods?

A xenophobe’s worst nightmare.

However, the only way to tackle a phobia is by sensitizing yourself to it.  Dive in bellybutton first.  Let’s go.

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This dish takes a spicy Indian version of chimichurri and pairs it with a warming cinnamon/cardamom-infused yogurt sauce so that it creates a beautiful medley of flavor in every bite.  Perfect to top some sauteed tofu (or paneer or chicken), sweet potatoes, and cauliflower, the latter two of which I just happened to have on hand and which also just happened to work perfectly here.  Definitely not your average bowl of mush.  Not by a long shot.

Tofu in Green Chile, Mint and Cilantro Sauce
Serves 4, adapted from Curry Bible

1 lb sweet potato, sliced into coins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stalks
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp dried ginger
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 fresh green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 package tofu, pressed, drained, and cubed (feel free to use chicken or paneer!)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400.  Put your sweet potato coins in a lined and greased baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and roast until fork-tender, about 20-30 minutes.  When done, remove from oven and set aside.

2. Place the cilantro, spinach, ginger, garlic, chiles, mint, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp salt in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste.  Add a little water, if necessary, to facilitate blade movement in blender.  (I added about 2 tbsp).  Remove and set aside.

3. Whisk the yogurt until smooth and set aside.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.

4. Add the tofu and stir fry over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until the edges start to brown.  add the turmeric, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt to taste and stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes.  Add the cauliflower florets.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes, covered, so they steam.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the yogurt.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook until heated through.

5. Add the herb and spice mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously.  Remove from the heat.  Serve over rice, with naan, or on a tortilla if you have no regard for cultural norms (ahem).

I am submitting this to to Hearth and Soul Blog Hop!

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You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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73 Responses to Tofu (or Chicken) in Green Chile, Mint and Cilantro Sauce with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

  1. This looks like just the kind of dinner I’d adore! Did you make this just for me? Can I come over right now? Ok… leaving now!

  2. Great looking mush! You’ll forgive me if I use chicken though, right?

  3. OohLookBel says:

    Haha, this reminds me of the time I made a lovely minestrone for my brother. “It’s made with fresh vegetables, it’s really healthy”, I said. He told me he stopped off for a hamburger and kebab later. Oh well. Your ‘mush’ looks super delicious.

  4. This is my kind of meal. Since my Seattle visit I have been eating lots of tofu and this recipe is now next on my list. Happy Birthday and Congratulations to Daniel!

  5. Joanne says:

    I think I love just about every variation of chicken, and this one looks perfectly divine. I could just about taste it, looking at the photos.

    And best wishes to your birthday … Cheers to birthdays and graduations :)

  6. Joanne says:

    Of course, I meant to say best wishes to your “Brother!” Cheers again :)

  7. I really need to start being as creative as you are (or at least trying!!) when it comes to dinner. Happy Birthday and congrats to your brother:-)

    P.S. That does not look like mush at all!

  8. Mush? The cauliflower has not disintegrated and I presume its crunchy also. In any case the sandwich might have been tempting also:)

  9. That sauce sounds out of this world. How on earth do you come up with these things. You are an inspiration. Congrats to your bro and Happy B-day!

    hey- I don;t think he will mind you not being there as long as you cook him up something like this

  10. Candace says:

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday to your brother! Mush? Hardly!! Your meal looks sooooo good. I’ve got to go find breakfast now. You always make me so hungry. That sauce sounds amazing and I love that you added the cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Perfection! I’m still pretending you made it with chicken like I’m going to do when I make it. I just can’t do tofu for some reason. It’s a mental thing, I guess. Have a great day, Joanne! You inspire me!

  11. Johanna GGG says:

    I know which meal I would have preferred – give me a decent veg curry and Daniel can have his high flying career that takes him around the world – though I daresay if he opens his eyes while he travels he will find that you knew about it all along when he discovers world cuisine! Good luck with approaching Indian curries – I took find them challenging but delicious – highly recommend some on my site if you are looking = a cashew and paneer curry is one of my favourites

  12. sofia says:

    i want some of that mush. i don’t care how it looks!

  13. Ada says:

    Haha love this post! Congrats to your brother on his graduation and happy birthday to him! My cousin is also taking his third actuary exam, so I know how he feels.

    I attended this lecture by this doctor and he was saying that in medical school the only disease he knew he didn’t have was Hurmansky-Pudlock syndrome since it only affects Puerto Rican albinos. I’m sure you don’t have lupus though, don’t worry!

    Good luck studying, you are totally going to rock it and I can’t wait to celebrate with you afterwards. Per usual, your cooking looks AMAZING.

  14. Nelly says:

    Happy birthday, Daniel!

    In other news, this (minus the sugar and with chicken instead of tofu) is a totally paleo recipe. Yay! If that’s not reason alone to make it, I don’t know what is.

  15. vanillasugar says:

    ohhhh i want that book “curry bible” so bad.
    i think there are over 300 types of curries.
    fascinating right?
    never would have thought to pair mint with curry but glad you did.

  16. Daniel says:

    Fourth actsci exam! Come on Joanne, get your head out of your ass.

    But this made me happy, thank you.

    MUSH.

  17. BigAppleNosh says:

    I love anything with cilantro – yum!

  18. janet says:

    Looks splendid, Joanne. Sometimes Indian dishes can look like mush, but certainly not this one! When I move, it will be close to an Ethiopian community. Now that is mush (the food, that is)! :)

  19. Faith says:

    I’m in love with the sound of that flavorful sauce! The mint is a really great addition.

  20. Amy says:

    An actuary and a doctor…do your parents even recognize how proud they should be? My poor parents still don’t understand what my sister or I do for a living. Would be nice to have a title, that just upon hearing it, made sense to most people.

    Mush. Lol. I’ll take a bowl of your mush anytime.

  21. Absolutely love your sauce, mouth watering :)

  22. Dawn says:

    This is my kind of meal. I just need to get to the grocery to get the Greek yogurt now that I’m almost done my detox and the cauli!

  23. Pam says:

    All my favorite flavors!

  24. That Girl says:

    Is your brother an actuary or an auditor? I always thought an actuary would be a very cool job.

  25. That really is a great looking mush :) I would eat it!

  26. Your brother is CRAZY! A gross parm sandwich when he could have eaten your amazing curry? Oh man. If only I could have been in his shoes, I would have finished off that pot of deliciousness straightaway and then cried with sheer gratitude. He doesn’t know what he’s missing, and I both pity and envy him.

  27. Megan says:

    You are such a great storyteller! I could just imagine the looks you must have been giving your brother when he brought that chicken parm sandwich into your apt. We actually had chicken parm sandwiches for dinner last night, but I made them, buns and all.

  28. I love this dressing and that it’s versatile for vegetarians and meat-eaters.

  29. Nicole, RD says:

    You crack me up :) Mark does that all the time…with pizza. I mean, hello. There is always an ABUNDANCE of food in our house, must you fill your arteries with that crap?

    Lovin’ your tofu recipes. :) I’m still day dreaming about the coriander tofu tostadas :)

  30. Lora says:

    Beautiful, cool and spicy. Love it.

  31. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, I am surprised that your brother could resist such a delicious dish. It must have been delicious. The beautiful dishes that you create I also am surprised that your mother could think you ate “mush”. Well anyway, I would love this dish. Blessings, Catherine xo

  32. Nina says:

    I ? Curry bible! Love this post — yours looks wonderful, Joanne! This is my kind of dinner!

  33. Gloria says:

    Whar nice and delight plate Joanne! look perfect! gloria

  34. Marjie says:

    Remind your brother that one man’s mush is another’s manna from heaven! Just like his actuarial dreams are most people’s actuarial coma-inducers. I do hope that your brother will learn soon that he can eat very well at your table, and that he’ll come back soon from his globe-trotting. (My hubby’s brother worked for that firm, and spent a lot of time not at home. It was not pretty for a man with a family.)

  35. Pam says:

    I think it looks fabulous!

  36. Your so funny ;) Sounds like your brother is well, a typical boy. and i should know, there are 4 of them living and breathing and being bizarro in my house…. *sighhh
    Being well-informed and in the field of medicine can be a double edged sword huh? On one hand I’m grateful that I can usuallly catch illnesses before they get bad and on the other hand, I too ‘self diagnose’ myself with crazy diseases and disorders too…. sometimes…rarely…. ;)
    OH, and I too looooove Indian food! This looks so frieking awesome!

  37. this entire story made me laugh so hard. congrats and happy birthday to your brother! and for the record, I don’t think it looks like mush ;) and the green chile + cilantro combo sounds so good!

  38. Are you taking Step 1 already and I’m so behind on the times I haven’t realized it until just this moment?! THAT’S CRAZY!

    I move into your state sometime in June. Orientation starts June 20th and then actual work starts July 1 and sometime between those two dates I move into campus housing. Crazy point number 2.

    This curry? Crazy point number 3. Oh heck yes do I love curry.

    MISS YOU.

  39. A BIG congrats to your bro..He is lucky to have a sis like you..infact we are quite like each other..I share the same love hate relation with my pestering brother …[I hope you got what I meant ]
    Just my kind of dish..except that I ll substitute tofu with paneer [indian cheese].Love the fresh flavors in here..I m a huge cilantro person.I tried a similar sauce with more of mint few weeks back, next time cilantro will be the HERO!

  40. Good luck to your brother.Deloitte is a great company. My BFF just joined this company like a month ago and she is having the time of her life. I hope your brother clears the exam and gets selected.

    I see that the curry fever has gripped you as well. This tofu and sweet potato curry in chile mint looks like what I need just now. They look so inviting!

  41. Miriam says:

    You know I’m a vegetarian, but I’ve never really gotten into Tofu…you’ve made me want to give it another try!! :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  42. I’ve been working on a curry phobia too. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to feel more comfortable but I still need more practice. And, this dish looks perfect for that. Definitely not mush!

  43. I’m up for some mush! Deeelicious mush ;) Sounds like a great opportunity for him.

  44. kankana says:

    Had fun reading your post :D :D YOu know what I think I am going to make the same dish with cottage cheese … something tells me i am gonna enjoy this :)

  45. Looks so delicious! Much better than any regular mush ;) Maybe if it had chicken he would have liked it better? haha bless your mum.

  46. Reeni says:

    So funny – that is some of the best looking mush I’ve ever seen – I love everything about it! My refrigerator is packed with leftovers too, I could feed your brother and all his friends. Congrats to him!

  47. Mo 'Betta says:

    Brothers are pretty awesome. And I planted mint and cilantro in my garden, so I could make something creative like this. But my brother wouldn’t eat it. He’d go with the chicken parm sammie too. And I’m not sure about curry, but naan…yum!

  48. You’re making me look bad, I just rambled on how much I don’t like tofu and here you are making it looks so damn good!

  49. That mush looks pretty tasty to me, certainly a lot better than a chicken parm sandwich. I’d be happy to eat it any day. And you can send your mother my way for a talking to. As if her daughter would ever eat mush for dinner. What was she thinking???

  50. aipi says:

    Oh! I am in love with that sauce!
    US Masala

  51. I have a proposal:

    I will come to NY and you can teach me all about A&P…make me this fantastic looking dish and I will…well maybe I can help you study for your test :-)

    I really appreciate your comment, but what I really appreciate is the huge smile this post put on my face because it turns out we have the same family haha my mom does this ALL the time.

  52. Veronica says:

    You crack me up!!! Your family stories are the best. Your brother reminds me of my husband. I gave him a piece of grilled chicken for dinner and he poked it with his fork, gave it a quizzical look, and said, “what kind of steak is this?” He was totally serious. In a way, though, I think your brother taking this gorgeous meal for MUSH is way worse! It’s breathtaking and I can almost smell it from here. Lovely!

  53. Dana says:

    Can I just tell you that as a veg, I am thrilled to see how amazing/delicious/gorgeous you make our plant-based food look? You are an inspiration and I thank you. These are some of my very favorite things in one dish.

  54. Maria says:

    This sounds so aromatic and delicious, I’m a huge fan of tofu so this is right up my alley!

  55. Debbie says:

    I think this dish looks amazing. Sounds wonderful and I just love all the ingredients!

  56. Barbara says:

    Happy Birthday AND Happy Graduation to Daniel!
    And this doesn’t look like mush to me….although I’d substitute chicken. :)

  57. Bizzy says:

    Mush! I am outraged. It is beautiful.

  58. I love how cauliflower and tofu both take on the flavors of the things that they are cooked with. The sauce sounds delightfully fresh tasting, so I’m sure the bulk of the tofu and cauliflower was so flavorful!

  59. Victoria says:

    I think we were both born on the wrong continent, haha! Congrats to Daniel on his graduation! I’m sorry he didn’t partake in mush (gasp!) with you. I’d take your curry over a takeout chicken parm sandwich any day.

  60. teresa says:

    i have got to get on the curry bandwagon. it always looks and sounds so good, but i just never think to make it. what a gorgeous dish, i’d say you’ve got a pretty lucky brother!

  61. Nicole says:

    I’ll eat your mush! Looks great!

  62. Shannon says:

    definitely doesn’t look like mush, but i’d be happy to have a great big bowl and… read papers? ha. who am i kidding, i hate reading papers now :)

  63. I’d take your kind of mush any day! Beautiful. You have a way with flavour combinations.

  64. grace says:

    chicken for me, please. although, anything smothered in this amazing sauce would be grand…even tofu. ;)

  65. This looks like the perfect meal to me–I could live on curry as well. ;-)

  66. I always enjoy your posts Joanne! And this curry looks like anything but mush – wow! I’m a bit nervous about cooking curry from scratch myself, but you make it look really do-able and seriously yummy. Great photographs, as always, too. Thank you so much for sharing this with the Hearth and Soul blog hop. And good luck on the test that shall not be named :)

  67. Cara says:

    As always, I love your flavor combinations, I’d eat a bowl of mush from you any day!

  68. This looks so good! I love the big chunks of cauliflower.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I actually made this last night but I didn’t break the cauliflower up enough and it needed a lot more time to cook then two minutes. But the end result was spicy and delicious.

  70. Sarah G. says:

    Its amazing how each ingredient can be so flavorful, yet together this dish is SO BLAND. And SO DISGUSTING.

    This was a total waste of time (because yes, it takes forever to make) and money (because yes, the majority of these ingredient’s are expensive).

    BOO!

    • Joanne says:

      Sarah, I’m so sorry you didn’t like it! I wonder what could have gone wrong since others made it and really enjoyed it. Hmm. Did you make any modifications to the recipe? I’d just like to troubleshoot it so that I can make it more user friendly in the future! Thanks!

  71. Anonymous says:

    I made this dish! It is REALLY spicy, and I like spice, but my lips are still burning from the chilies I used, so I think I will use one green chili next time. I used shrimp instead of tofu, but you really can use anything. Do you have a particular type of chili you use? Maybe I used a hotter variety. Even so, it was really healthy and I will probably make it again.

    I also recommend keeping the sweet potatoes and green sauce out until the end and layering some of the components for a more appealing presentation. Start with the sweet potatoes, then the tofu and yogurt mixture, drizzle the green sauce generously over the tofu, then top with a small dollop of plain greek yogurt. You could even garnish with a piece of cilantro. I think there are so many flavors that layering it helps to keep the flavors more compartmentalized. Just an idea!

  72. Suzanne says:

    I also made this dish and WE LOVED IT. Often, the ethnic food I’ve made from food blog recipes has turned out with a flat and shallow flavor profile. Not this bad boy. I even left out the mint and green chiles because I am a cheapskate and a spice wuss, respectively. But I threw a few red pepper flakes into the spinach mix and doubled the yogurt, too, and it was one of the best dishes I’d had in awhile. Can’t wait to make it again.

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