I obsessed about baking a host of goodies and sweet treats this holiday season. Christmas came, went. I planned everything well in advance, pored over the recipes a million times, checked the Internet for variations, blah blah blah… basically expended a whole lot of mental energy simply thinking about my holiday bake extravaganza.

Sigh. If I had spent even half that energy in the kitchen, I would have been less tired. Long story short, I learned some valuable (life) lessons this December. Stop obsessing, get cooking. You cannot ruminate endlessly on a plan; you have got to start moving eventually, take the first step. Profound stuff, huh!

This evening was a whole different story. We had a dinner invitation, so I had nothing to do, really. As far as cooking dinner was concerned, I mean. Started leafing through Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. This is a gift from a dear friend, a long time ago. I haven’t cooked much from this book but I love reading it. It covers cuisines from China, Italy, Eastern Europe, India and other countries. Each section has a little bit of history, a personal story, anecdotes. I came across a recipe for Zucchini Tofu Koftas in the section on Indian cuisine. It is a simple recipe with a short list of ingredients. I realized that I had most of them at home. Hmmm, should make this one some time. Well, why not now? Talk about learning from last week’s endless obsessing!

I got permission from the nice folks at Moosewood to pass on the recipe here.

Zucchini Tofu Koftas

2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
6 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
4 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mint (1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
2 blocks tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/2 cup chopped cashews, walnuts or pistachios

In a heavy skillet, saute the zucchini and garlic in the oil, stirring often, until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for one more minute. stirring constantly. Place in a bowl. Crumble in the tofu, add the flour and nuts, and mix well.

Form the mix into walnut-sized balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Reprinted with permission by the Moosewood Collective from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, Copyright, 1990, Moosewood, Inc.; Simon and Schuster, publishers.

Zucchini Tofu Almond Koftas

I must admit, I tweaked the recipe a little. I was not sure if I could handle six large cloves of garlic, so I used three. I should have tasted the dough for salt/spice before baking it. Well, it was low on salt and I could have upped the spice levels, added some additional spices too. Also, I had sliced almonds at hand, so I used them instead of cashews, walnuts or pistachios. I skipped the mint as well.

All that being said, this is one delicious kofta! Tofu is so light in texture and taste, so you can eat a whole bunch of these koftas without feeling weighed down. Flour (2 tablespoons) is required as a binder but I am guessing there should be a gluten-free way to bind the dough. This is a vegan recipe also, yay! Next time, I will probably give the garlic a miss, add shredded ginger, chopped cilantro, garam masala, maybe some raisins.

So glad that I acted fast when the thought of making these koftas came to me… Else this would have been another one in the list of ‘MUST MAKE’ recipes.