Adapted from the infamous Chicken Tikka Masala, national dish of the UK! To many Chicken Tikka Masala seems to be the introductory dish to Indian cuisine and is loved across the globe. Here, I must say that this dish is not in any way an Indian staple, but it does represent the rich and bold flavors of the North Indian cuisine. This plant-based version captures the essential elements of the dish- tandoori tofu tikka in a spicy, bold & creamy sauce.
The recipe is a two step process- 1. I start with marinating the tofu in a tikka marinade made with plant-based yogurt, spices, ginger, garlic and, 2. tikka masala sauce- made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices, and finally mixing both.
For the tofu tikka, I prefer super firm or high protein tofu (#Traderjoes brand) because it holds pretty well throughout the marination and cooking process without crumbling away.
The sauce is very versatile you easily double the amount and freeze it for further use. You can add veggies, chickpeas, seitan or tempeh to the sauce to create another dish. The tandoori tofu also can be used in many ways- we love to eat it as is with a sprinkle of lime juice and chaat masala, crumble it to make tandoori tofu tacos and a great addition to wraps or sandwiches. But the most we enjoy it with warm, fragrant basmati rice or roti hot off the stove!
Red Onion- 1 medium diced
Ripe Tomatoes -2 medium diced
Ginger – 1 tbsp minced
Garlic – 1 tbsp minced
Oil- 1 tbsp any neutral tasting oil Canola/Grapeseed/Avocado
Raw Cashews – 3 tbsp
Vegan Yogurt – 2-3 tbsp (I prefer coconut yogurt bc its more creamy, but you can use any plant-based yogurt)
Turmeric- ½ tsp
Red Chilli Powder – ½-1 tsp
Deghi Mirch/ Paprika –1/2 tsp (this is a milder chili powder and more for color)
Coriander Powder- 2 tsp
Garam masala- ½ tsp (or more for a spicier taste)
Kasuri Methi – 1 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp (to taste)
Whole green cardamom pod – 1
Bay Leaf -1
Extra firm/Super Firm/ High Protein Tofu – 1 block, drain, press, pat dry and make large cubes
Prepare tikka masala sauce: Heat oil in a medium sauté pan, add diced onion, bay leaf and a pod of green cardamom. Cook for 5-6 mins till slightly brown. Add the minced ginger-garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the diced tomatoes and cashews. Cook till the tomatoes start breaking about 4-5 mins. Add salt and spices and cook for 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaf, and add ½ cup of water. Once the mixture cools down, make a smooth paste in a high-speed blender.
While the paste is cooling, in the same saute pan, add oil and cook the marinated tofu on medium-low heat. Cook till the marinade on the tofu blocks dries out. Remove in a bowl or plate.
Add the tikka masala paste from the blender bowl back to the sauce pan and cook for a couple of mins. Add the yogurt and mix. To the blender bowl add ½ cup of water and scrape the remaining paste that is stuck on the blade and bowl and add to the tikka masala sauce in the pan.
Add the prepared/cooked tandoori tofu cubes to the sauce. Cook for 1-2 mins, taste the sauce and adjust any seasonings if you wish to. Sprinkle kasuri methi to the sauce and mix. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with hot roti and or fragrant basmati rice & daal!