Tofu Tikka Masala

Prior to going to Spain, I read about an Indian restaurant reputed to be the best in all of Madrid. I am all about Indian food at any given moment. Me and Indian Food can throw down any freakin' time--day or night. SO, I was excited to try the best Indian food that Spain was prepared to offer. I talked about how excited I was for days. DAYS. Ask Greg.

Naturally, the restaurant was nowhere to be found when we looked for it. I like to think that Greg and I are capable of looking at a map and finding our way to the destination, so, it's clear to me that the restaurant stood up and hid.

My stomach was deeply disappointed. So, I rectified the situation upon returning to my own kitchen (as an aside: It felt SO weird to cook after not doing so for over 2 weeks!). I'll tell you something else: This recipe is so creamy, so spicy, so satisfyingly rich, that you don't need no stinkin' restaurant.

Tofu Tikka Masala (modified from Food & Wine)
-1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
-1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
-Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tikka Sauce:
-16 ounces extra-firm tofu
-Salt and freshly ground pepper
-2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
-1/4 cup blanched whole almonds (or slivered almonds, for ease of purchasing)
-1 large onion, finely chopped
-1 large red bell pepper and 1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
-1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure chile powder
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-One 35-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
-Pinch of sugar
-1 cup heavy cream

1. First, make the marinade. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cayenne and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Cut the tofu into large chunks. Gently fold into the marinade. Let sit 30 minutes (or as long as it takes you to prepare the rest of the meal). Preheat your oven's broiler.

3. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until golden, about 5 minutes. (**NOTE: If you use slivered almonds like I did, they will cook VERY quickly…1 minute or less.**) Transfer to a plate to let cool completely. When cool, grind finely in a food processor and set aside.

4. In a heavy casserole or dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic and ginger. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garam masala, chile powder, and cayenne, cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices, sugar, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thicker, about 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and lightly oil. Pick the tofu chunks out of the marinade (trying not to bring too much marinade with the chunks) and place on the foil. Bake 10 minutes on one side, turn them over to the other side, and bake about 10 more minutes. They will have dark spots on them, but avoid cooking too long! I have the feeling they could burn easily due to the yogurt. Set aside until ready to use.

6. After your 20 minutes of sauce-thickening, add cream and ground almonds to the dutch oven/casserole. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thicker, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tofu, simmer gently 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve hot with rice or naan.

-Serves 4 generously
-Tofu Tikka Masala can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

P.S. I suggest making tofu like this completely separate from this recipe. It was AMAZING. The tofu on its own could be eaten on a sandwich or just straight. The spices and texture are just perfect.


Katie said...

Awesome! I don't normally buy tofu, but I would just to make this!

Belinda @zomppa said...

I am so down with this!

Tiffany said...

This sounds amazing! I love tikki masala!

Chris's Gourmet Fashion said...

Your tofu looks incredible. Great recipe full of that wonderful Indian taste!

The Cilantropist said...

I love tikka masala and this version with tofu sounds awesome! That is too bad that you didnt find the restaurant you were looking for, but I bet your masala is better anyway. ;)

Anonymous said...

hi! i stumbled on your recipe while trying to find a tofu tikka masala recipe. i am generally not a fan of subbing tofu for paneer (by not a fan, i mean i pretty much get violent), but needed to use my block of tofu ASAP. i broiled my tofu and intentionally let the corners get just a tad charred - the dried out tofu was brilliant in this recipe! thanks for taking the time to post the recipe so this indian-american (hanging head in shame) could enjoy it!

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