Vegan Tofu Tikka Masala

I love Indian food more than life itself, but while I was in quarantine with Miss Rona, I was bored out of my mind and in need of comfort. For me, cooking is a soothing activity, so… I started cooking. As it turns out, mastering my favorite dish — tofu tikka masala — isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at tikka masala, here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need (for the tofu)

⁃ 1 block extra-firm tofu

⁃ 1 tbsp EVOO

⁃ 1 tbsp cornstarch

⁃ 1/4 tsp salt

What you’ll need (for the sauce)

⁃ 1 can crushed tomatoes (as always, I prefer Cento)

⁃ 1 small onion, freshly grated or diced

⁃ 4 oz plain vegan yogurt (I used Nancy’s Cultured Soy)

⁃ 3-5 roasted garlic cloves (I bought mine pre-roasted from Fresh Market)

⁃ 1 tsp garam masala

⁃ 1 tsp cumin

⁃ 1 tsp ginger

⁃ 1 tsp turmeric

⁃ 1 tsp coriander

⁃ Salt to taste

⁃ Cayenne to taste

⁃ Canned full-fat coconut milk (to thin sauce if necessary)

⁃ Cooked rice (I used basmati)

What to do

1.) After pressing and draining your tofu, cut it into cubes, roll it through the olive oil, and then shake it around a bowl containing the cornstarch and salt. Throw the tofu on a baking sheet and bake it at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. You can also make the tofu in an air fryer if you don’t want to use oil.

2.) While your tofu is baking, you can cook your rice and your sauce. Start off by dicing or grating your onion, and then throw it into a deep skillet with the roasted garlic. The garlic I used comes packed in olive oil, so I didn’t need to add any to my skillet. (Substitute a bit of vegetable stock for your onions and garlic to simmer in for an oil-free recipe.)

3.) Once your onion turns translucent, add your vegan yogurt, spices, and crushed tomatoes. Give the sauce a stir so everything is incorporated. You may need more salt at this juncture, but I don’t like things overly salty, so I left it out. I do like my Indian food spicy, so I added about 1 tsp of cayenne to my skillet. You can use more or less, depending on your preferred spice level.

4.) In about 6-8 minutes, your sauce should be fully cooked through and begin to thicken up. If you like a thick, chunky sauce, you may want to leave it alone. I added a bit of coconut milk because my sauce was more of a paste. (Oops.)

5.) When your tofu and rice are done, mix the tofu into the sauce, add some rice and tofu to your plate, and enjoy!

I knew I was making this earlier in the day, so I’d already pressed my tofu. Once you get that step out of the way, you can have a delicious dinner on the table in around 45 minutes total. I was cooking for one, but you can always double — or even triple — the amounts listed to feed the whole family. Let me know if you try it!

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