Monday, March 27, 2006


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NOTE: Serve this for an Indian-style brunch with Susan V's Coconut Chai Breakfast Cake for dessert!

This is a vegan take-off on an Indian dish called chenna bhorji. The original dish uses the homemade cheese called chenna, which is a crumbly (unpressed) version of the more familiar paneer or panir.   Absolutely fresh tofu makes a good substitute for the chenna— homemade tofu , fresh tofu from a tofu shop, or bulk tofu that has been delivered to your store on the same day that you buy it. This is important, because very fresh tofu has a taste similar to chenna. It loses flavor as it ages.

This is a spicy scramble and contains no nutritional yeast, as most Western tofu scrambles do. It is usually served with chapathi or flaky parathas, but a wholewheat or sprouted wheat flour tortilla makes a good accompaniment, too. Some spicy vegan masala chai would be good, too!

Indian black salt, or kala namak, is actually pink, due to the trace minerals and iron in it. (The link is to amazon, but if you live near a gourmet food store, natural food store or a South Asian grocery store, you will probably find it.)  It has a distinctive “boiled egg” odor, due to the sulphur compounds in it. Sprinkling it on at the last minute adds a more “eggy” personality to the dish. (It dissipates quickly.)

Printable Recipe


12 oz. FRESH firm tofu, crumbled, but in large lumps
1/4 tsp. turmeric, dissolved in 1 Tbs. nondairy milk
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
chopped hot green chilies to taste (I used 1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeño)
1 chopped tomato or roasted red pepper
3/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, basil, or parsley
1/4 tsp. black salt, also called kala namak (See paragraph just above recipe.)

In a medium bowl, mix the tofu gently with the dissolved turmeric and set aside. Sauté the onions in the oil in a nonstick skillet, cooking at medium-high heat until it starts to look translucent. Add the chilies and cook a minute or two more. Add the tomato or red pepper, salt, and cumin. Stir-fry a minute or two more. Add the tofu and mix it gently so as not to break up the tofu too much. Use a flat spatula and a folding and turning mixture, cooking for 3 minutes or so.

Place on a heated platter to serve, or on individual plates. Stir in the the chopped herbs, or sprinkle them on the top. Sprinkle the black salt evenly over the dish just before serving.
Serve with hot whole wheat chapathi, paratha, or tortillas.



spiceislandvegan said...

Hi Bryanna,

This is an opportunity for me to try the black salt or kala namak. I bought it a while ago and have not tried it yet.

Apparently, I can buy chapati, roti, or paratha from nearby Indian market. Fresh tofu is available in Chinese market nearby. Great!

Thanks for the recipe!

Guinnah said...

Sounds like something that would be popular in our household! It's interesting - namak means salt in farsi too!

Anonymous said...

I've been making indian breakfast scrambles recently that are pretty similar, but instead of the fresh herbs i didn't have, i added a bit of peanut oil and crumbled dried fenugreek towards the end - maybe not as authentic to the original dish, but i really liked the taste.

marinating the tofu in turmeric milk sounds like a great way to improve the flavour and avoid those tiny tofu crumbles, i'll make sure to try it next time.

most notably, i have to second the importance of fresh tofu! i got completely different results using tofu that was a day or two old (delicious) and tofu that had been in my fridge for a week (that familiar nutty/beany taste took over.)

do you think that nutritional yeast mixed with a bit of regular or unrefined salt would create the same effect as the kala namak?

On an unrelated note, I made your coconut orange muffins yesterday for my food-not-bombs group, and everyone were groaning in pleasure and asking for the link to the recipe!

as soon as the school year ends i am getting subscribed to your newsletter :)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

It's worth trying some nutritional yeast-- a fusion recipe!

spiceislandvegan said...

Hi Bryanna,

Oh boy! I tried this dish and was so amazed of the effect of black salt. My husband said that if he is served this dish in a restaurant, he would be very suspicious. He would think that it is a real scrambled eggs and won't believe it if was told that it was tofu. It does taste and smell like real eggs. I used fresh tofu as you suggested. The texture was marvelous.

It was very good though. We ate it with roti and your Cajun hash brown.