July 3, 2011

Vegetarian Rogan Josh (with Cauliflower & Tofu) and Rice Cooker Biryani

"Being a Vegetarian", Is it tough? How do you manage?

How can you NOT have meat?

Don't you crave for some?

You don't eat meat, but watch Food Network?

Oh! You are that ghass-poos types?

C'mom people, especially the meat-eating ones. Stop judging the vegetarians. If we, vegetarians can  be laid back and are non judgmental about your eating habits, then why are you?

Did you know what a guy called Neal Barnard once said -

"..The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.  If beef is your idea of "real food for real people" you'd better live real close to a real good hospital..."... Yep, its true!

Ok, there I settled score with all of my meat-loving friends, who keep teasing me or questioning about my vegetarianism. It is choice of living I love, and No, I don't crave or would secretly wish, I was like you. :-)

I am not here to rant and start a debate or to promote that vegetarianism is better. I am just saying - One is free to choose what to eat and what not to eat. Don't be judgmental. Live & Let Live.

Now, shall we move on to today's post in "Free Spirit Blogging". and this month my dear blogging pal, DK chose the theme. Here are some basic cues -

1. The challenge is to take a classic (or famous) Non Vegetarian dish and give it a Vegetarian interpretation.

2. The final dish should look as close as possible to its Non vegetarian counterpart.

3. If you can also make the texture/taste similar then it would be awesome, although its purely optional.

3. Usage of store bought Mock meats (or mock anything) is not allowed.

I chose to make a classic, non vegetarian recipe called - "Rogan Josh", normally made with mutton and gave a vegetarian twist with tofu and cauliflower. I went with these two as the recipe involved marinating the meat and tofu & cauliflower have a tendency to absorb such flavors very well.

Vegetarian Rogan Josh (with Cauliflower & Tofu)

Sandeepa's Trivia: Rogan means oil in Persian, while Josh means heat, hot, boiling, or passionate. Rogan josh thus means cooked in oil at intense heat. Another interpretation of the name rogan josh is derived from the word rogan meaning color and josh meaning passion, hot or red. It is originally a classic meat dish which is red in color. I have used a tad bit less chilli as I was serving this for my cousin-brother who doesn't eat a lot of heat. Next time, I am gonna try for that authentic "red" color.

I have adapted this recipe from Bong Mom's Cookbook - Mutton Rogan Josh. Since I was working with Tofu and Cauliflower, which are very bland in taste as-is, I added some more spices in the marinade. The ingredients-list is effectively the same, it is just that I used them in a different order :-). Also, my version was a little on a dry-side. Simmer it in little more water would make this gravy-based.


200 gms of tofu (I got mine from M K Ahmed, Bangalore - Ka Kim's variety)
1 medium cauliflower, washed and cut into florets.

For the marinade:

2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp ground cumin powder (jeera powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania powder)
salt - to taste 
1/4 cup of water

For tempering

1 tsp butter
2 medium sized onions, chopped
3 tbsp oil
1 bayleaf (tej patta)
2 cardamom pods (green ones), crushed
2-3 cloves (laung)
1 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp chilli powder (The original recipe asked for Kashmiri Mirch, which enhances the red color. I didn't have any on hand, so used normal red chilli powder)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup beaten yogurt

Dry Fry Tofu: Dry frying is one way to prepare tofu to remove the moisture and  in turn helping it to soak up the flavors of a marinade or sauce. One important thing to remember is to use a well drained tofu with a non-stick pan. (Source)

Place the tofu on a cutting board and a bowl with half filled water on it (for 10-15 mins). Make sure the pressure is not too much which can crumble the tofu. Cut them into small chunks (as shown below). Heat a non stick pan on medium heat. Once hot, place the tofu chunks on it. No oil required. Remember, we are just dry frying. Occasionally, keep turning the sides so that it is evenly, lightly browned.

Prepare the Marinade: In a bowl, mix ginger garlic paste, ground cumin, turmeric, coriander powder with salt and water. Whisk the contents well. Divide the marinade into two separate bowls and put the tofu pieces into one and cauliflower florets into the other. Carefully, mix so that sauce coats them properly.

Cover and Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.

After about an hour and half into marination, you can start the following steps.

Melt butter in a kadai and add chopped onions to it. Sauté until thoroughly browned. This adds significant flavor to the dish. Please be patient and don’t skim on the sauté time. :-) Cool down a bit and grind into a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Heat oil in the same kadai and add bayleaf, cloves and cinnamon. Once it starts to sizzle, add fried onion paste. Next comes the dry spices - fennel powder, pepper powder and chillo powder. Add a little water and fry the masala until oil separates. 
Next add marinated tofu and cauliflower florets. Mix well, lower the heat, add the yogurt little by little, mixing in the middle. Let it simmer for 1 min. Add 1-2 cups of water and adjust salt and spices if necessary. Cover and cook on low heat, giving it a careful stir for every 5 mins until the cauliflower florets are fully cooked.

Finally, sprinkle some garam masala and it is ready to serve.

You ask, what to serve with? Hmmmm, how about I share a very very simple biryani that can be made in a rice cooker.

Rice Cooker Vegetable Biryani

I end up making this biryani (which I learnt from my mom) atleast once in a week with a spicy gravy dish on the side, just for the fact that it is so easy to make.


2 cups of Basmati Rice. (Sona masoori variety is fine too)
3 cups of water
few mint leaves
1 cup mixed vegetables. (I used frozen - a combo of peas, cauliflower, tiny carrot pieces and beans)
salt to taste
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 bayleaf
1 tsp garam masala


Wash rice and drain water, completely. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai, add bay leaf, ginger garlic paste and mint leaves. When it starts to sizzle a bit, add the mixed veggies. Saute them for 4-5 mins. Add the salt & garam masala. Finally the rice and Mix once or twice.

Empty the contents of the kadai into a rice cooker. Add 3 cups of water. (rice:water ratio - 1:1.5). Cover and cook until it shifts to - "Keep Warm". 

Isn't it one easy-peasy recipe? Just stick to the rice to water ratio - to not to end up a sticky biryani..

Here is what other FSB member have cooked for you -

Anu - Sweet and Spicy Orange Paneer

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

until next time,


  1. Awesomeness in full form!
    Loved the recipe choice, and the end result looks so delish. Who wants to eat meat when you can dish up something so good without all that paap?

    You are making this for me sometime. Deal? :)

  2. Wow I love the detailed instructions and the pictures.

    Will try veg rogan josh with josh soon.

  3. Mads - Done deal. I will make this combo for you, surest. I like your *paap* comment. LOL!

    Archana - Glad you liked the pictures. they are meant to give you an idea about how the recipe is made (by me). :-)

  4. I think this will give my family to rethink the bean curd option....I did not like it one bit the first time I had tofu, though soya nuggets and such were being somewhat regular. I have a picture of the 'real' rogan gosh in a book. This one looks just the same too!

  5. Hi Siri,
    nice to read the post... even though I am non vegetarian(once or twice in a month), I always love the veggie food. And after seeing this food, who will crave for the meat??? thanks for sharing it, bookmarked :-)))))

  6. lovely- veg rogan josh looks swell

  7. Lataji - Do give it a try. I am sure you will like it this time :-)

    Nivedita - Thanks Nivi.

  8. Nice one, Siri. I love how you've explained it all before diving straight into the recipe. I certainly have lots of 'Josh' to make this Veggie version of something I've always eaten made non-veggie. Also, seems like you have beautifully adapted yourself and your blog to cooking and writing about it all back home. Kudos!

  9. Thanks for all the sweet words Dee. India is surely treating me very well and I am so glad we moved back. It was never that exciting for me back in US. :-)

  10. Siri, saw this post on my wall a while ago and have been meaning to check it out. The gobi-tofu combo looks awesome. I have a cauliflower sitting in the fridge for a while. This is perfect to make over the weekend.
    Love your veg biryani. I make it the same way except I sauté everything in a three litre cooker and pressure cook it.
    As to the veg, non-veg debate, it is never ending. Both sides feel the other one has little choices and both sides judge each other. I like what you said, live and let live. After all no one is forcing anyone to eat meat or veggies. It is a personal choice and we have to respect it. :-)

  11. I have not cooked rice cooker biryani for a while. I used to cook it quite often. Love it!

    You know what? Indian vegetarian food is THE food that has made me enjoy vegetarian dishes...I don't miss the meat at all!

  12. Very nice and tempting combo meal.........


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks for taking time to leave your feedback.

Note: Any comments with external links will not be published.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...