Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
Can I just start this post by confessing how much I despise taking picture of a curry? I love curries, its something I practically grew up eating but for the life of me, I cannot make it look appetizing. It's unfortunate that something this delicious, comforting, and simple cannot speak for itself. This is my third time making tofu tikka masala and I could no longer keep the recipe just to myself anymore. I was not happy with the photos but I give up and present you the delicious tofu tikka masala, a dish of marinated tofu chunks cooked in a creamy, flavorful tomato-based sauce. If you are familiar with Indian cuisine, you most definitely have tried and love 'chicken tikka masala', which is an inspiration for this recipe except that I wanted to have a healthier and more approachable version in my repertoire for a quick weeknight dinner. First and foremost, drain water and make sure the tofu cubes are dry before marinating with spices. It's a key step in order to keep the texture of tofu crispy. If you are unfamiliar with tofu, a soy based protein made by coagulating soy milk - check out this helpful guide on tofu and different varieties available in the market. I have tried both sprouted-firm tofu and regular-extra firm tofu in this recipe and both worked fine; sprouted variety is slightly more nutritious and easier to digest when compared to the regular one. I followed thekitchn method for making tofu crispy without deep frying them and the results are just fantastic. Besides drying the tofu, cornstarch is a key ingredient for a crisp texture and if you are wary about corn starch - you can skip it but the results may not be exactly the same. Some other possible alternatives to corn starch is all-purpose flour, rice flour or potato starch, I have not tried it myself but if you end up trying it, I'd love to know. I would suggest staying away from corn starch in large quantities and in processed foods but if a recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons, we can probably get away with that. PS. cornstarch is naturally gluten-free but make sure to read the label.But if tofu is really not your thing, you can use paneer (fresh cheese used a lot in Indian cuisine), chicken, or even vegetables because the creamy-tomato sauce is finger-licking good. The sauce is delicate due to the minimal use of spices but tastes very flavorful and luxurious because of it's creamy consistency.
This is how the sauce looks right before pureeing and simmering with cream. If you'd like, the sauce can be made ahead of time and simply pan-fry tofu right before serving. Or the whole dish can be made ahead of time and reheated later which I have done and it tastes just fine. Whatever protein you choose, don't skimp on the sauce because you will be pleasantly surprised by how good it is and proud that you made a restaurant quality tikka masala sauce in your own kitchen..Get on it this weekend my friends, I hope you really do.
- 1-16 oz firm or extra firm tofu (sprouted or regular)
- 2 teaspoon turmeric, divided
- 3 tablespoon garam masala, divided and use as per your taste
- 2 teaspoon red chili powder, divided (adjust per your taste and how spicy the chili is)
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon oil (may needed little more or less)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 can - 28 oz no salt added caned diced tomatoes*
- 1/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
- salt, per taste
- 1/2 cup coconut milk from a can (if not vegan, half and half or heavy cream is fine)
- *instead of canned, you can use about 4 cups of finely diced fresh tomatoes, it takes a little longer to cook but works.
- Take the tofu out of the package, drain off the water, and put it on top of a paper towel or a kitchen towel and put another towel on top of the tofu.
- Place something heavy on top (plate or cans) and let it sit for at least 1 hour or longer. Squeeze and drain water in between.
- In the meanwhile, heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and add onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir it often until onion starts to brown (4-6 minutes), then add 2 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon red chili powder. Cook for a minute or two then add tomatoes to the skillet.
- Stir everything together and let it cook for 8-10 minutes until tomato starts to cook and dry some liquid. Remove from the heat and puree it into thick mixture as shown above.
- Return it back to the stove and stir in frozen peas and allow it to simmer for another minute or two. Set it aside for later.
- Discard the water from tofu and pat dry with paper towel. Cut tofu into cubes and toss in 1 tablespoon garam masala, and corn starch to coat tofu pieces evenly.
- Heat another skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Pan fry tofu 3-4 minutes on each side until it is evenly browned on all sides.
- Place it on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Simmer the tomato puree in low heat and slowly transfer the pan fried tofu into the skillet until heated through. Stir in coconut milk (or cream of your choice).
- Cook in low heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Serve it with rice, quinoa, or other grain of your choice.
Since it's Friday, let's talk running...you've probably heard (or not) that I did my 8th mile and celebrated with a huge slice of this challah! It was a beautiful run and it didn't even feel like I ran 8 miles. Let's see how 9 miles go tomorrow. Here are the recaps from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 week 4: didn’t do very good with running…boooo, week 5. week 6.
- Strength training/stretch : body pump ( I am loving it)
- Running: only 12 miles total this week. Goal : 9 miles this weekend.
- Nutrition: starting to notice more hunger!
Any tips on taking picture of a curry?
Have a wonderful weekend.