One of the dishes I knew I was going to miss the most when I gave up meat was chicken tikka masala. I love that tangy, spicy sauce so much that sometimes I’ve even asked for just the sauce without any chicken to eat with naan. So when I saw this recipe for a tofu tikka masala on Food52 I was pretty excited to try it out, especially since I’ve never cooked Indian food before.
The Food52 recipe is itself adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated chicken tikka masala recipe. I love that America’s Test Kitchen took this exotic dish and made it accessible to the typical American home. All the ingredients are easily found at just about any grocery store, and you don’t even need a tandoor to cook the tofu, just your broiler and a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. I’d recommend spraying the wire racks with cooking spray beforehand so that they’re easier to clean after.
I think I like the tofu version even more because I used to find the chicken kind of dry. The tofu stays moist and is packed full of flavor from the spice rub and yogurt dip. For these pictures, I followed the Food52 version and used half and half, but in the recipe below I changed it back to heavy cream like it says in the Cook’s Illustrated version because I like my sauce a little creamier. I also left out the cilantro since I hate the herb, but if it’s your thing, definitely add some as a garnish at the end.
Tofu Tikka Masala (lightly adapted from Food52)
For the tofu:
14 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pat the tofu dry and slice into 3/4″ slabs. In large bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, oil, and yogurt; set aside.
Combine the coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne in small bowl. Coat all sides of the tofu slabs with the spice mixture. Set aside while you start making the masala sauce.
For the masala:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups onion, diced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup heavy cream
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add the salt, sugar, and crushed tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and turn on the broiler. Dip the tofu into the yogurt mixture (tofu should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on an oiled wire rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil tofu for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.
Cut the tofu into chunks and stir into the warm sauce (do not simmer tofu in sauce). Adjust seasoning with salt, and serve with basmati rice and/or naan.
Next: Garlic Naan
Previously: Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) with Tofu
Last Year: Homemade Ginger Beer
Two Years Ago: Rosemary Honey and Lemon Frozen Yogurt
Five Years Ago: Homemade Dulce de Leche and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
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