Soy-Masala tofu, Quinoa, avocado and mozzarella salad

26 Feb

I remember that as children, my cousins and I knew broadly the menu we would be served at any family wedding, before even the wedding invitation arrived and each summer we would receive a collection of them.
Steamed, fluffy, lightly sour and spiced gram flour dhokla, potatoes in thick and rich curry gravy, black chickpeas perhaps or a curry of Val (field beans) and lots of fried puri breads. We knew there would probably be flaky samosa and multi-coloured mini poppadum’s that we would use to scoop up Kadhi-doused biryani. We would grab a compartmentalised plastic plate from the buffet and perch ourselves on a chair where we could find one and sometimes eat standing and giggling away.

Soy-Masala tofu, Quinoa, avocado and mozzarella salad

Weddings would always be in the hottest part of summer back then and we would look forward to seeing our lists of cousins and enjoying the banter between loud music and many guests. We would turn our chairs towards each other and admire one another’s colourful and detailed clothes, an arm full of bangles, glistening bindi and very often back then, weddings were held in school halls, where the walls evidenced children’s activities and the guests spilled over onto the green fields. Everyone attended you see. As young children we would run around the hall giggling and playing as the many parts of the ceremony carried on whilst our parents mingled.

Things have changed so much. Nowadays weddings are in hotels or stately homes and so there aren’t scores of guests spilling over, maybe because the venue is so hard to find. Cousins aren’t in lists, but in treasured few numbers. You won’t see kids running around; maybe they aren’t allowed at the ‘event’. Sometimes silence is observed during the abbreviated ceremony, sometimes it’s just quiet. Maybe that’s because not everyone goes, people are busy these days, aren’t they. Sometimes they aren’t invited, invitations nowadays are at the couple’s discretion and friends are the new family.

Soy-Masala tofu, Quinoa, avocado and mozzarella salad
People don’t always wear bindi or bangles, but certainly not an armful. Sometimes it’s just not fashionable to look overly celebratory, subtly or nonchalant, I am not sure. There are seating arrangements and food comes to the table and is kept warm. Gone are the days of Val bean curry or multi-coloured poppadum’s and established are the days of carrot halwa with ice cream and whatever else the couple fancies; from indo-Chinese and robustly spiced paneer to sweet corn curry in a mellow cashew nut gravy.

So I got thinking about some of the modern stuff served at celebrations these days and the cult recipe of chilli paneer came to mind. Doused with soy, ginger, garlic, chillies and ketchup this recipe seems to be an obvious option on most local Indian restaurant menus. Without doubt, and someone secretly, I tastes good.
BUT, that doesn’t mean I would make a meal of it or cook it up at home. It’s become to…well, ‘been there done that’. Taking healthy inspiration from of it, I have created this recipe for soy-masala tofu (healthier and protein fuelled) salad with Quinoa, avocado and mozzarella. I don’t know if you use mozzarella as a sponge in your dishes but it soaks up juices beautifully. Use fluffy clouds please, not the tough stuff.

250g cooked Quinoa
1 400g pack of firm tofu
One ripe avocado
200g mozzarella, torn into bite sized chunks
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
1-2 tbsp. chilli sauce
1 tbsp. tomato puree
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1-2 green chillies chopped (optional)
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. coriander powder
¼ tsp. turmeric

1. Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper to soak up any excess water. When it is dry, cube it.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a non-stick pan and add the chillies, cumin seeds and tofu. Stir fry until the tofu is golden before adding the onion, garlic, ginger, spring onions and turmeric. Cook for 3-4 minutes before pouring in the soy sauce, ketchup, coriander powder, chilli sauce, and tomato puree and rice wine vinegar.
3. Cook the tofu for a further 3-4 minutes before turning off the heat.chilli tofu
4. In a large bowl mix the cooked Quinoa, avocado, mozzarella and then stir in the tofu whilst warm and serve immediately with lovely flatbread.

26 Responses to “Soy-Masala tofu, Quinoa, avocado and mozzarella salad”

  1. Rhonda Sittig February 27, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    Deena–fun to find your blog– this salad is so pretty and looks scrumptious !

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks for your kind words Rhonda, I appreciate you stopping by and connecting with me x

  2. Katie @ Whole Nourishment February 27, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Love the quinoa and avocado additions. The masala sauce is kind of like an Indian-influenced barbecue sauce, lovely 🙂 And I haven’t thought about it but you’re right, mozzarella really does act like a sponge. Here’s to bringing celebratory meals to our everyday cooking!

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      Hi Katie, yes you are right and I had never thought of it like that but the masala is a bit like an Indian BBQ sauce but but not so sweet.

      Oh yes, I sometimes chuck mozzarella into a spicy tomato soup, I love it.

      Here’s to celebratory influences on our every day meals xx

  3. Joanne February 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    My best friend is Indian and is getting married soon…I can’t wait to see how much of tradition she decides to keep and how much not!

    I love this Italian flair with Indian flavors!

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      Hi Joanne,

      Oh wow, I love a good wedding! I bet you will have loads of fun whether traditional or not and I would love to hear from you about how much of the tradition is kept!

      Yes, Italian meets Indian in a tasty way!

  4. kellie@foodtoglow February 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    Delightful! And how wonderful to have eaten so well at so many weddings. I shouldn’t have read this on an empty stomach though… You are so right about mozzarella being a a bit of a sponge (and what I say about tofu, which is otherwise so bland) – and what a way to test this idea!

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Hi Kellie, yes those were the days of loud, colourful and relaxed eating!

      I find tofu and mozzarella bland without a bit of masala, from any region if the world and if I hadn’t added chips to this plateful of protein and grain yumines…

  5. awesomecuisine February 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Delicious. Won’t be able to find Avocado in my place so gonna stubstitute it with green mango 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Hello! Thanks for stopping by. Oh I think green mango in this salad would be lovely, enjoy x

  6. matchamochimoo February 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I like this salad so much, good to find it, thanks! 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya February 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Thank you so much, I’m so glad that you like it. Thanks also for taking the time to comment.

  7. Priyanka February 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    Another lovely post Deena, Can I replace quinoa with cous cous?

    • Deena Kakaya February 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Priyanka, thank you so much. I’m really glad that you like my posts and that you took the time to comment.

      Yes, I would try cous cous or better still bulgur wheat if you like it? X

  8. themuffinmyth February 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    This is also on my list! I’m intrigued about the mozzarella in the salad. I don’t usually combine tofu with dairy (not sure why) but I’ll give this a try and see how I like it.

    • Deena Kakaya February 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      Hi Katie, I love mozzarella as a sponge for spicy juices, much like tofu. Both lend texture and spice in this one. Hope you enjoy it x

      • themuffinmyth March 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

        Deena, is the chilli sauce sweet or savoury? I have Thai sweet chilli sauce, will that do? Or more along the lines of sriracha?

        • Deena Kakaya March 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

          Hi Katie, should be a lightly sweet one. I would mix the Thai sauce with a bit of ketchup xx

          • themuffinmyth March 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

            Ahh, I never have ketchup in the house. I was going to sub it with some tomato paste, so I’ll mix the chilli sauce in with that.

          • Deena Kakaya March 26, 2014 at 9:43 am #

            You know I never used to have ketchup in the house, the husband brought it with him in marriage 😉 xx

          • themuffinmyth March 26, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

            We had a bottle in the back of our cupboard that was lord only knows how old. So I tossed it and haven’t bothered to replace it yet. So far so good 🙂

          • Deena Kakaya March 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

            Good on you, I have gradually reduced usage in our house. Would you believe, when we first got married husband would even slather the stuff onto dosa and even on curries.

          • themuffinmyth March 27, 2014 at 6:32 am #

            In Sweden they put in on their spaghetti. In fact, that’s pretty much what spaghetti means to a Swedish person. Noodles with ketchup!

          • Deena Kakaya March 27, 2014 at 7:17 am #

            No…adults? Oh dear.,

  9. thejameskitchen February 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

    Absolutely lovely. N.

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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