This is vegan version of super popular British and Indian tikka masala recipe. Here we are using tofu instead of meat or vegetarian options like paneer.
Best Vegan Tikka Masala Recipe Ever !
Today I am sharing this long overdue recipe of tofu tikka masala recipes with you guys. When I shared this vegetarian tikka masala with vegetables, few of wanted a vegan recipe. So I tweaked by super delicious paneer tikka masala and arrived at this.
I have been cooking with tofu a lot lately. The extra firm tofu that I am purchasing is a really good and I love using it noodles and stir fries.
Last week I had a block of tofu sitting for a while and thought of making an Indian curry instead of the stir fry that I usually make.
I was thinking tofu masala in the same lines of paneer butter masala but then I also had a good stash of cashew yogurt, so made this super tasty masala.
It turned out so so good that I had to make it again yesterday to test the proportions and also to get few photos, so that I can share it with you guys. Yep I always test the recipe twice if not more before sharing here 🙂
Now coming to this vegan tikka masala with tofu it has got all the elements you look for in a good curry 🙂 It is moreish, has that perfect balance of spices, hearty, satiating, good with that bowl of rice or naan and outright delicious.
Of course it is easy to make too, though it takes some time to make. While I would not say this is your typical weeknight dinner, this is so worth your time when you want something special.
Also if you are so used to that tikka masala from restaurants or take outs, please try this recipe out and you will love this homemade curry even more 🙂
Just keep all the ingredients ready and follow the step by step recipe, it is easy and not complicated as it looks
Serve piping hot with that fluffy naan or soft paratha or fragrant jeera rice for a super hearty dinner. This also tastes great with brown rice or basmati rice.
This Tofu Tikka Masala Is
Vegan and gluten free
so much better than takeouts
great with naan, rice.
This recipe is divided into two steps.
- Preparing the tofu marinade for tikka
- then making the masala curry
For the marinade you will need
Tofu- Use extra firm tofu for this recipe. Pressed firm tofu holds the shape well and also tastes very delicious. Before using in the recipe, press the tofu well between two heavy objects or using a tofu press for 20-30 minutes.
Yogurt– For this vegan recipe I have used cashew yogurt. You can also use soy yogurt or even coconut yogurt. Make sure you are using plain ones without any flavor. If you prefer you can use thick homemade yogurt as well.
Spice powders for marinade– For this marinade you will need these spice powders- red chili powder, roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste.
To make the tikka masala curry you will need
Tomatoes– tomatoes form the base of this curry. I have used the tomato puree from fresh tomatoes. You can also use canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes from a can.
Onions- unlike finely chopped onions used in most Indian curries, we need cubed onions for this recipe. They add a wonderful crunch to this curry.
Bell peppers– Capsicum or bell peppers are optional but highly recommended. They add a nice color pop, flavor and tastes delicious in this curry.
Cashew paste– A small amount of cashew paste is added for the richness and nutty taste. You can replace with almond paste if you prefer.
Coconut milk- We are using coconut milk for flavor, texture and rich taste. Instead you can add any non dairy cream or even fresh cream for vegetarian version.
I have also used a dash of coconut cream for serving.
Spice powders- The regular spice powders used for Indian curries- red chili powder, garam masala powder, ground turmeric, coriander powder. You can also add a teaspoon cayenne pepper and curry powder if you like.
Tips To Make Best Tofu Tikka Masala
Tofu marinade– make the tofu marinade well in advance if the time permits. I like to let the tofu cubes marinade in spiced yogurt for good 4 hours.
While it needs to marinade for a minimum of an hour, you can let it sit overnight too.
Use fresh yogurt- use fresh yogurt that is thick, creamy and non sour for marinade. If it is not thick, the marinade will not coat the tofu well.
Use Kashmiri red chilli powder for a deep red color. Kashmiri chilli powder lends a wonderful deep red color but it is not very spicy. You can also use paprika or cayenne pepper.
To get the vibrant color as you get in restaurants you can add a small amount of tomato paste along with tomato puree. You can also add a pinch of red food color but I do not recommend it.
Let the curry cook really well– To get the intense flavor and taste, let the curry cook really well in medium flame. It is very important step in this recipe. After adding the tomato puree and other ingredients, make sure to saute and cook in medium heat until the tomatoes are well cooked and oil releases from the sides.
Cooking the tomato curry really well yields a bold robust flavor to this tikka masala.
Simmer the masala for 4-5 minutes after adding the coconut milk. Simmering the curry develops the flavor. But after adding the tofu do not simmer for long.
How To Make Tofu Tikka In Oven
For this recipe, I have made the tikka in a pan on stovetop. You can refer the step by step pictures. If you prefer to make it in oven here are the steps.
Prepare the yogurt marinade as mentioned in the recipe. Toss the cubed tofu and mix gently. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Preheat oven at 400 F or 200 C.
Grease a large baking sheet and arrange the marinated tofu as single layer. Bake or grill for 12-15 minutes. Use it in the recipe.
Step By Step Method
Remove the block of tofu from the refrigerator and press it for 20 to 30 minutes using a tofu press or two heavy objects. Cut the tofu into bite size cubes.
Add 3 tablespoons cashew yogurt in a large bowl. Next add the spice powders namely garam masala powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, minced ginger and garlic and salt.
Add the cut tofu.
Mix and toss well. Refrigerate the marinated tofu for an hour. You can also refrigerate for 4 hours or even overnight.
After an hour, we can make the tikka.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan or skillet.
Place the marinated tofu cubes in the hot oil one by one.
Cook for 5-6 minutes in medium heat or until the tofu chars well. Remove to a plate.
To make the tofu masala curry heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, minced fresh ginger garlic, finely chopped green chilies. Saute for a minute.
Add the cubed onions and bell pepper. Saute for a minute.
Now add the pureed tomato. Mix and cool for 2 minutes.
Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, curry powder if using, coriander powder. Saute and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are completely cooked.
Add 1 cup water and simmer for a minute.
Now add the cashew paste and coconut milk. Add salt to taste. Simmer the masala for 3-4 minutes.
Add the fried tofu. Mix and simmer for a minute.
Finally add kasuri methi and mix well. remove from flame.
Serve tofu tikka masala warm with jeera rice, basmati rice, brown rice or roti.
More Curry Inspiration
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Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala
For the tofu marinade
- 200 grams firm tofu pressed and cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons cashew yogurt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
For the tikka masala sauce
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 green chilies chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste or freshly minced ginger and garlic
- 3/4 cup cubed onion from 1 large onion
- 3/4 cup cubed bell pepper
- 2 cups pureed tomato from 4 large tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste optional
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon curry powder optional
- 15 cashew nuts ground to smooth paste with warm water
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons kasuri methi
To make tofu tikka
- Remove the tofu from the refrigerator and press it for 20 minutes using a tofu press or two heavy objects. Cut the tofu into bite size cubes.
- Add 3 tablespoons cashew yogurt in a large bowl. Next add the spice powders namely garam masala powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, minced ginger and garlic and salt.
- Add the tofu pieces.
- Mix well. Refrigerate the marinated tofu for 30-60 minutes. You can also refrigerate the tofu pieces for 4 hours or even overnight.
- To make the tofu tikka heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan or skillet.
- Place the marinated tofu pieces in the hot oil one by one.
- Cook the tofu for 5-6 minutes in medium heat or until the tofu chars well. Remove to a plate lined with parchment paper.
Tikka masala sauce
- To make the tofu masala curry heat oil in a large pan. Add the cumin seeds, minced fresh ginger garlic, finely chopped green chilies. Saute for a minute in medium flame.
- Add cubed onions and bell pepper. Saute them for a minute.
- Now add the tomato puree. Mix well and cool for 2 minutes.
- Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, curry powder if using, coriander powder. Saute well and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are completely cooked.
- Add 1 cup water, mix and simmer for a minute. Next add the cashew paste and coconut milk. Add salt to taste. Simmer the tikka masala sauce for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the fried tofu tikka. Mix well and simmer for a minute.
- Finally add the kasuri methi and mix well and remove from flame. Serve the tofu tikka masala warm with rice or roti.