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Tofu pieces are marinated in this Tofu Tikka Masala handmade spice mixture and creamy vegan yogurt before being seared on the grill and then drenched in a thick tomato-onion sauce. It’s one of the most delicious Indian recipes you’ll ever have and is made using plant-based ingredients instead of chicken tikka masala.
Why This Tofu Tikka Masala Will Win You Over:
Chicken tenders marinated in spices and dairy-free yogurt, baked in a clay oven, and topped with a rich curry sauce make up traditional tikka masala. But, this variation uses crispy tofu cubes instead of chicken.
Tomatoes, coconut milk/cream, and masala spice mix are the usual ingredient combinations for tikka masala, although the sauce and spice blend might vary. To make this dish really usable for everyone, it uses pantry staples like curry powder, paprika, and turmeric.
You can simply make vegan tikka masala by substituting whole-milk yogurt for a dairy-free substitute, such as soy yogurt. I enjoy serving the tofu with fresh naan, basmati rice, and a generous amount of fresh cilantro. For added smoothness, it’s also excellent with a tablespoon of yogurt on top.
This meal truly is the culinary equivalent of a warm bear embrace on a frigid night. It is incredibly substantial, highly spicy, and loaded with anti-inflammatory components. Who could not enjoy this?
Ingredients and Modifications for Tofu Tikka Masala Recipe
- Tofu: For this dish, extra-firm (or “super-firm”) tofu is required. Less moisture has to be squeezed out of tofu, the firmer it is, so it’s easier. (Cubes with less water are “meatier” and crispier.) I either get the vacuum-sealed, ultra-firm tofu from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
- Yogurt: The yogurt in traditional tikka masala is used to make the chicken bits softer. Original recipe coats and marinates the tofu in plain, whole-milk yogurt. Greek yogurt shouldn’t be used since it is too thick to provide the correct marinade consistency, and also in our case because it’s not plant-based. Instead, make vegan tikka masala with soy or coconut yogurt instead of regular yogurt.
- Spices: Herein lays the true power! To properly energize the meal with zest, the recipe asks for a mixture of garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and paprika. Cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, pepper, fennel, and dried chilies are all ingredients in the spice mixture known as garam masala. It’s available at most grocery shops, but you could also buy my preferred brand online.
- Aromatics: The meal is infused with zesty, fragrant flavor thanks to a mixture of shallots, garlic, and ginger. Fresh ginger is far more flavorful than ground ginger, which has a softer flavor. If you don’t have shallots available, you may certainly substitute yellow onion.
- Tomato Paste And Sauce: When cooking vegan tikka masala, I like to use two types of tomato products to make a richly flavorful sauce foundation. Simply reduce the tomato paste until it gets a bright red and starts to adhere to the pan. The sauce becomes infinitely more delicious as a result of helping to release its full flavor potential. When it comes to tomato sauce and paste, I choose Muir Glen.
- Canned coconut milk: It performs the job better than anything else when it comes to giving the sauce richness and body. Although you only need half a cup to produce a similar richness, you may also use heavy cream in this recipe.
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Questions and Professional Advice
The “tikka” in “Tikka Masala” is what?
The protein is referred to as “tikka.” Boneless, marinated, skewered chicken (or occasionally lamb) portions are traditionally grilled in a tandoor, a scorching hot clay oven. You may use chickpeas, tofu, or even cauliflower cubes to make vegan tikka masala.
How to Make Tofu the Best:
- Invest in extra- or super-firm tofu blocks. Anything else would be too wet for the ideal crunchiness. The vacuum-sealed packages of Trader Joe’s super-firm tofu are my fave.
- Before cooking, drain the water and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Usually, I slice the tofu into four equal pieces and press each piece firmly with a dish towel. Keep in mind that MORE crisp = LESS water.
- To ensure consistent cooking, cut the food into equal-sized pieces. Attempt to make bite-sized cubes.
Serving Suggestions for Tikka Masala:
- Grains: I enjoy putting this tofu on top of fluffy basmati rice. Use quinoa or cauliflower rice instead if you’re searching for a lower carbohydrate option.
- Herbs: To add a burst of freshness, garnish each plate with a flourish of cilantro, mint, or basil.
- Naan: For soaking up additional masala sauce, nothing compares to a fresh piece of naan. Generally, I prefer garlic naan, which I usually get from Sprouts or Whole Foods.
- Vegetables: You may serve roasted vegetables on the side or incorporate them into the masala sauce. When served with soft cauliflower or broccoli florets, this meal is fantastic. You may also stir in some chopped mushrooms or eggplant.
Preparing Ahead of Time and Storing Advice:
- Cut, drain, and cube the tofu up to two days ahead of time. The tofu can be marinated up to 12 hours in advance.
- How To Store: Put leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
- To Reheat: Gently reheat leftovers in a pan over medium-low heat, rehydrating the sauce as necessary with a splash of broth. Alternatively, you may reheat leftovers in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds.
Tofu Tikka Masala Recipe
Ok, now that we know everything about Tikka Masala and vegan variations with Tofu, it’s time to jump to the recipe!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
List of Ingredients
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp finely grated peeled ginger
- 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil (vegetable or olive)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup of soy or coconut yogurt
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 (13.5-oz.) can of coconut milk
- 14-oz of extra-firm tofu pressed, drained, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Basmati rice and fresh naan for serving (optional)
- Garam masala, turmeric, curry powder, paprika, and salt should all be combined in a small bowl. Mix the yogurt and half of the spice combination in another bigger bowl. Add the tofu and coat lightly. Put the mixture in a zip-top storage bag and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours).
- Line a metal baking pan with wax paper and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tofu pieces with the yogurt coating in a single layer, spaced apart from one another, on the baking sheet. (Throw away any leftover marinade.) The tofu should be golden and crispy after 30 minutes of baking in the center of the oven, with a gentle flip every 15 minutes.
- Warm up the oil in a big pan over medium heat while the tofu bakes. Once heated, add the shallots and simmer for 3 minutes or until tender. Next, add the remaining spice combination, tomato paste, and other ingredients. Stir often for two more minutes or until the tomato paste gets brick red and starts to adhere to the pan.
- Add the coconut milk, tomato sauce, and broth; stir to mix. Masala sauce should be gently simmered, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it reduces and thickens.
- Take the tofu from the oven and add it to the masala sauce. Stir to coat. Tikka masala should be served over rice, and yogurt and fresh cilantro should be added as a garnish.
*Nutrition values do not account for extra toppings, naan, or rice.
Cut, drain, and cube the tofu up to two days beforehand. The tofu can be marinated up to 12 hours in advance.
To store, put leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
To Reheat Tofu Tikka Masala
Carefully reheat leftovers in a pan over medium-low heat, rehydrating the sauce as necessary with a drizzle of broth. Alternatively, you may reheat leftovers in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds.