Tofu Tikka Masala

This recipe is what I like to call one of my “Indian-ish” recipes. It is inspired by many of the flavors I grew up with, but with a slight twist to suit busy schedules and modifications to make it plant-based.

While you can find jarred sauces to make a dish like this, and they can definitely be handy in a pinch, they just don’t have the same flavor as this simple, flavor-packed, home-cooked version. For this recipe, I’m using super firm tofu in place of chicken or paneer and substituting plant-based milk for the cream that is typically used. This recipe is enough to comfortably serve 2 to 3 people, but you could add an extra block of tofu if you want to serve a larger crowd or if you want leftovers.

Tofu Tikka Masala

Course Main Course
Servings 2 to 3 people
Print Recipe

Ingredients
  

Tofu Marinade

  • 1 block super firm tofu*
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • one whole cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 medium or 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes*
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin and coriander mix**
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground red chili
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk***
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreeks (kasoor methi) leaves, optional
  • chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Tear the tofu into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl (Tearing the tofu instead of cutting it into cubes gives it more jagged edges, which allows the sauce to cling to it better).
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add the spices for the marinade along with the lemon juice. Toss to combine, and allow the flavors to meld for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Place the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place it in a 400℉ oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until the tofu is beginning to brown.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by warming one tablespoon of oil in a skillet or sauté pan. Once the oil has warmed, add the cinnamon stick and cloves. Warm for just a minute or two.
  • Add the onions and sauté until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Next, add the minced garlic and ginger, and sauté for an additional minute.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and table spoon and sauté for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and begin to form a sauce.
  • Add all the spices, including the salt, and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant and the spices have been incorporated into the mixture (about 1 to 2 minutes). If the mixture is sticking or beginning to burn, add a bit of water to deglaze.
  • Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Fish out the cloves and cinnamon stick and place the mixture in a small blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, and add the sauce back to the pan. Place one cup of water in the blender and swirl it around to pick up any remaining sauce, and add that to the pan as well.
  • Bring the sauce (including added water) to a simmer, and stir in half a cup of plant-based milk.
  • Gently crush the fenugreek leaves in your hand to release their flavor, then add them to the sauce. Mix in the baked tofu, stirring to combine.
  • Cook on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve over steaming hot basmati rice, and enjoy!

Notes

*You could also use extra firm tofu; press the tofu for 20 to 30 minutes to remove some of the excess water. Additionally, if you want to serve a larger crowd or want leftovers, add an additional 1/2 to a full block of tofu, increasing the marinating ingredients accordingly. There is plenty of sauce, so there is no need to adjust the quantity of the sauce ingredients, but if you love more sauce, feel free to double the amount!
**If you don't have ground cumin and coriander mix, use 1 teaspoon of ground cumin.
***Unsweetened, plain oat or soy milk would also work well.