A while back, I started to try and make a conscious effort to take things that I am constantly buying at the store and make them myself. Case in point: Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce. I was literally buying this stuff once a week, adding some coconut milk, whatever tofu and veggies were around.

I was addicted...until I made my very own inspired version! And it is pretty stellar. Here is a great basic version that I think would be great with some peppers thrown in, maybe mushrooms, potatoes...go nuts! Although, I do like it just straight up with some tofu over brown rice. Rice noodles also make a great side.

The funny thing is, when you start building this recipe, it pretty much looks, smells and tastes like you are making a boring pasta sauce (minus the ginger added at the beginning). Until that magic moment when you add all of the spices...you will notice the color of the sauce turn from bright red to a rich, dark shade of red. The smell of pasta sauce transforms almost instantly into a warm aroma of an Indian curry! It is truly a delicious and magical meal.

What you will need:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 block tofu, pressed & cubed
  • 1 - 28 oz. can tomatoes, puréed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

Take a large pot and begin by warming your oil over medium heat. Add your diced onions, stir and let cook just until they start to become translucent. Add your ginger and garlic, let cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stir and let cook until the garlic and onions just start to turn a golden color in parts. Add your chopped tomatoes, stir it around again and gather your tomatoes that you have puréed, adding them to the pot.

Give everything a good stir and line up all of the spices you need. Next, one by one, add 1 tsp each of coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Stir. Mmm, smell that? The sauce is changing in front of your eyes. Next, add 1/2 tsp each of cumin, tumeric, paprika and the red pepper flakes. Then add your 1.5 tsp sugar, your 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt to taste.

Now, to me, the 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes is not spicy. But to you it might be. So, if you are worried about the spice level, start with maybe a 1/4 tsp first and go from there.

Let this simmer while you press and slice your block of tofu into cubes. If you want any other veggies in here, chop those up. Add to the sauce, and add 1 can of coconut milk.

And....let it simmer, maybe make some brown rice. The longer it simmers, the more yummy this stuff gets!

Eat and repeat.