Fennel Coconut Tofu Curry and Lemon Rice

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – You can help prohibit hunger while being transported back to the Roaring Twenties with an evening full of hot jazz, cool drinks and good eats at the Speakeasy Soiree to support the Food Bank of Western Mass. Chef Pengyew Chin, Owner of Pengyew Catering, showed us how to make one of the dishes he’ll be serving at the soiree.

Fennel Coconut Tofu Curry

2 lb tofu cut into 1″ cubes
1 T fennel seeds dry roasted and ground
1 t chili powder or to taste
2 T vegetable oil
¼ t fennel seeds dry roasted
6 cloves garlic minced
¾ inch ginger peeled and minced
1 star anise
2 medium onions peeled and thinly sliced
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk unsweetened
2 t salt or to taste
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
1 lime juice reserved

Grind the roasted fennel seeds in a (dedicated for spice) coffee grinder, sprinkle over the chicken together with the chili powder and toss well to coat. Set aside.
Heat the oil on medium-high in a wok or pot and sauté the extra fennel seeds, garlic, ginger, star anise and onions until aromatic and onions are caramelized.
Add the marinated chicken and stir-fry, browning the chicken. Add the coconut milk, salt and curry leaves (if using). Bring to a low boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the lime juice, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately.

Lemon Rice

1 c long-grain rice
2 c water
1 T channa dal soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 t sesame oil
1 large  lemon juice reserves
¾ t turmeric powder or to taste
2 t salt or to taste
1 pinch  asafetida or to taste
1 T sesame oil
1 t black mustard seeds
1-2 jalapeno finely diced
2 sprigs curry leaves optional
½  c peanuts or cashews roasted
¼ c carrots finely diced; optional

Rinse the rice, drain well, place in a saucepan with the water, bring to a boil on high heat, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Soak the channa dal in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
When the rice is done, transfer it into a large shallow pan or bowl, add the (1 t) sesame oil and toss gently, fluffing the rice. Set aside
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt and asafetida. Add to the rice and mix well.
Heat the (1 T) oil in a small saucepan with the black mustard seeds. When the oil is hot, the mustard seeds will pop. And when it does, add the soaked channa dal and stir. When dal is puffed and slightly brown, add the jalapeno and curry leaves (if using) and fry for 30 seconds.
Pour over the rice, add the nuts and carrot (if using) and toss gently. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


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