June 5, 2012

Tofu Tikka Masala

My dear and very American husband eats only 2 items on Indian restaurant menus ... Dal Makhani and Chicken Tikka Masala. The first I have already made 'plant based' by removing butter and using soy milk instead of cream.  Today, I tried to adapt the second to a plant-based version. Now, there is a vegetarian version of Tikka Masala that is available in Indian restaurants and is a staple at Indian weddings and other religious occasions when meat is a no-no. It is called Paneer Tikka Masala. My plant-based recipe today is basically an adaptation of the same, with Tofu.  

Tofu Tikka Masala
Paneer (Hindi: पनीर) is a fresh cheese common in Indian cuisine. It is essentially an unaged, unsalted acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids. The making of paneer does not use any rennet as the coagulation agent, thus making it completely lacto-vegetarian. It is one of the many sources of protein used by vegetarians in India. 

Prep Time: 30 min


  1. 1 pack (14-16 oz) Firm or Extra-Firm Tofu, diced into large chunks
  2. 1 can (6 oz) Meijer's Tomato paste
  3. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  4. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 1-2 tsp cumin powder
  6. 1-2 tsp coriander powder
  7. 1/2 cup Vegetable broth
  8. 1-2 tsp Garam Masala
  9. 1 tsp Red Chilli powder
  10. 1/2 cup Soy milk
  11. A few sprigs of fresh Cilantro.
  12. Salt, to taste.
Using a non-stick skillet, pan roast the tofu chunks until most of the water is evaporated. I did not use any butter or oil for this step. For the first few minutes, move the chunks just a little bit by giving the skillet a little shake so that they don't stick to the bottom. Once each chunk forms a skin on it, it won't stick as much. I pan roasted the tofu until it was just slightly golden.  

Once done, transfer tofu to a plate and set aside and add the vegetable broth to the same skillet. Once the broth starts to simmer, add ginger-garlic paste and stir for a couple of minutes. As the aromas are released, add all the dry spices and then add the tomato paste.

Add more water, or broth, if needed to make a nice thick sauce. Let this simmer for a while and then add the soy milk, mix well to make the consistency uniform throughout the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the pan roasted tofu. Mix well so that the tofu is coated with the sauce and that will keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes and then mix in the cilantro leaves. Do a quick taste check, and serve over a bed of rice, or enjoy with some fresh warm french bread. Yum!

My Assessment: I really liked this adaptation of Paneer Tikka Masala. Some people add a little bit of sugar to this recipe to get rid of the tartness of the tomatoes. In my opinion, using tomato paste takes care of the tartness which you get from fresh tomatoes. The can I used had no added spices or sugar. The only addition was citric acid which is added as a preservative. I loved it!! 


  1. I love this very healthy adaptation of tikka masala..:)) I don't think anybody would be able to say wether it is paneer or tofu..

  2. Fabulous tikka masala. We eat plenty of Indian food and I use plenty of fresh herbs like cilantro or as I call it coriander leaves. A hot plate of rice will be sumptuous for this thick curry.

  3. Delicious!!!! I will definitely be trying this. Came to your blog from the FB "New Herbies" site :)