Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala

Also try: Smoky Indian Eggplant “Salsa”

My husband decided to go on a vegan diet about a month ago. And although there are tons of vegan recipes that are delicious, one of the dishes that has been hardest to give up is his favorite Indian dish: Tikka Masala. So thank you to my good friend, Reshma Shah, for coming up with a vegan version of this Indian classic. It is time-consuming–tikka masala always is– it’s but worth it!

2 (14 oz) packages of organic sprouted tofu
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 whole cloves
1 dried bay leaf
1 stick of whole cinnamon
1 green chili, cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded (keep the seeds if you are brave!)
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped or pulsed in food processor to fine consistency
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground red chili, depending of level of spice desired
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup coconut, almond or soy milk
1 cup frozen peas

Drain and press the tofu for a couple of hours. If you have the time, this step really does make a big difference in the overall texture of the dish. To press the tofu, simply wrap the drained tofu in a dish towel or paper towels. Place a small baking sheet or cutting board on top and weigh it down with something heavy (can of beans, etc.).

Once the tofu has been pressed, cut into roughly 1-inch cubes. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat, bake the tofu at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. The tofu should firm up but not become browned. Set the tofu aside.

As the tofu is baking, begin to prepare the sauce. Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pot (I love a Dutch oven for this recipe).Once the oil is warmed, add the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Cook for just about a minute, until fragrant.

Next, add the onions and sauté until just beginning to brown.

Once the onions are golden, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional minute, being careful not to let the garlic and ginger brown.

Add the tomatoes and sauté until they are cooked down a bit (about 5 minutes). Mix in the tomato paste.Next, add the remaining spices, including the salt, and cook until fragrant and the spices have been incorporated into the mixture.

This next step is optional, but I recommend it to create a smooth and creamy sauce. Carefully fish out the cloves, cinnamon, green chili and bay leaf. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer to a food processor or blender. Carefully purée the mixture until smooth.

Return the mixture to the pot. Add about a cup of water to your food processor or blender and swirl it around to capture the bits of sauce that are clinging to the side. Add this additional water to the pot. (This a little trick my mother taught me to make sure you don’t waste one bit of the flavorful sauce.)

Bring the sauce (including added water) to a simmer and stir in the coconut milk.

Add the tofu and frozen peas. Cook on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over steaming hot basmati rice and enjoy!

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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