This is a simple tangy and spicy starter that I prepared with tofu marinated in a tangy pomegranate seed and herb chutney. Pomegranate Seed or anardana is a spice used in Indian and middle eastern cuisine. Anar means pomegranate and dana is seed. Anardana spice is dried pomegranate seed. It is tangy and acts as a soaring or acidic agent when added to curries or gravies.It is usually used to make dal and few dry veggies and while making pakoras and also chutneys. I usually prepare chutney with tamarind or tomato as the acidic or tangy or soaring agent. This time I tried with anardana and used it as a marinade for tofu which I grilled. The recipe is not complex at all and you can adjust the ingredients as per taste.
Tofu: drained 1 pkt. Firm or extra firm would work beautifully
Dried Pomegranate Seeds: 1-2 tbsp or Anardana
Salt: as per taste and/or black salt
Cilantro: a small bunch
Mint: few sprigs
Sugar: a pinch (optional)
Oil: 2-3 tsp + more for grilling
Wrap tofu in paper towels adn drain for atleast 1 hour. Slice it into smaller pieces. 1 pkt of tofu is enough for max 2 people.
If you do not have dried pomegranate seeds,you can use seed powder available.The powder can be used as such or instantly. What I did was I roasted the seeds for a few seconds in a pan and them grind to a powder. Another option soak anardana seeds for atleast 2 hours and then grind to a powder.Still the ground powder will contain the coarse particles and it is better if you strain it.
Once the powder is made,add rest of the ingredients -green chilli chopped,mint & cilantro,salt,cumin powder and optionally sugar.Add few drops of water or vegetable oil and grind to a fine paste.
Normally I do not add oil to my chutneys except for a seasoning afterwards,but since this I intended to use as a marinade,oil can be added,else you may have to use more oil while grilling as tofu is prone to stick to the grill.If using,make sure to use veg or canola oil as olive may leave an after taste.
Transfer the chutney to a bowl and add in the tofu slices.Do the taste test and marinate the tofu in the paste.Make sure you have added adequate salt to season the tofu.Tofu requires salt to be added.So make sure the chutney has enough salt.If you like the taste you can add a pinch of black salt as well.Its very pungent and most of the times outshines other spices added.Turn the tofu a few times in the marinade and let it sit for atleast 2 hours or overnight.
Prepare the grill or pan. Spray with vegetable oil and place the tofu slices on it. Grill both sides till brown and grill marks appear. Serve as an appetizer along with the remaining marinade if any.You can also serve the grilled tofu a bed of noodles or pasta or sandwiched between grilled bread or tomato slices or whatever way you like.You can even use the chutney as a pasta sauce or even as a dip as it was meant to be.
The tofu turned to be spicy and tangy.It would be better if you add sugar as it would reduce the heat of the chillies and make the tang palatable.Sugar also helps in getting a golden crust.I did not add any sugar,though and I love tangy flavour.Anardana experiments are on here and this one goes to CWS:Anardana at Jayasri's,an event by Priya.