Step 1Heat the oil in a large casserole or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cover the pot and allow to simmer over very low heat until the onions turn soft and rich brown in color, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring thoroughly every 10 minutes or so. Add the soy sauce and simmer for about 15 more minutes. Turn off the heat. For optimum flavor, allow the sauce to cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight. (If the sauce is cooked early in the morning, it will develop a rich flavor by evening.)
Step 2When ready to serve the dish, heat the sauce in a large casserole or pot over medium heat.
Step 3Meanwhile, place the cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns in a skillet over low heat and roast until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add to the sauce. Add the jalapenos and ginger and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the peas and curry powder and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, cover the pot and simmer until the peas are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the tofu, sugar and salt and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot.