For my husband and myself, North Indian cuisine is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it’s after a long week of travel and eating out or the morning after a terrible hangover, nothing quite warms our souls like a good chicken tikka masala or butter chicken. I’ve always struggled to figure out the difference between tikka masala and makhani sauce because they both taste quite similar. I think tikka masala is spicier and less creamy, whereas butter chicken (or chicken makhani) is creamier, sweeter, and you guessed it right, has a higher butter content. Either way, both are so delicious and for me to choose one or the other would be blasphemous on so many levels 🙂
Lately, I’ve been making an active effort to choose more vegetarian options. I find myself not enjoying meat as much as I used to. Of course I love my chicken and pork dumplings, and I don’t see myself giving those up anytime soon. But overall, I am striving to maintain an 80% vegetarian diet. That’s why, this time, I substituted chicken tikka masala for tofu tikka masala and I have to say, it was just as good and didn’t make me feel super heavy afterwards. It was light, flavorful, and heart warming. I didn’t add any coconut milk (or regular milk/cream) to mine, but I recommend that you add a splash of it just so that the spices are toned down a little. It’s not super spicy by any means, but I think a creamy element to the dish will really tie together the spices.
Either way, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Thank you for the love and if you do end up trying it, please feel free to share your pictures with me on Instagram @kavitaarjungi.
What You’ll Need:
For the Marinade:
- 1/2 of a 14 oz. container of firm tofu (drained and cubed)
- 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
- 3/4 Cup yogurt
- 1 Teaspoon ginger (minced or grated)
- 3 Cloves of garlic (minced or finely chopped)
- 1/2 Teaspoon of garam masala
- 2 Teaspoons cumin powder
- 2 Teaspoons of red chili powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
For the Gravy:
- 2 Tablespoons ghee
- 2 Teaspoons Cumin seeds
- 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
- 2 Teaspoons Coriander powder
- 2 Teaspoons red chili powder
- 1 Onion (Small-Medium)
- 2-3 Green Chilis
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger paste
- 3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
- 2 Medium tomatoes diced (or 2/3 can of diced tomatoes)
- 1 Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- Dried fenugreek leaves
- Chopped fresh Cilantro
- Splash of coconut milk (optional)
How to put it together:
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes
- In a pot, heat ghee and add cumin seeds. Allow to crackle. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and green chili and cook until onions are translucent and soft.
- Add fenugreek leaves, turmeric, coriander powder, and red chili powder and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until mixture is fully combined and fragrant.
- Add diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Remove marinating tofu from the refrigerator and start assembling marinated tofu cubes on skewers. Add tofu to preheated oven and bake for 15-20 mins.
- Pour cooled tomato gravy mixture into a blender and pulse for 30-40 seconds until the mixture is smooth and gravy-like. Pour the smooth mixture back into the same pot and cook on medium heat for 3-4 mins
- Remove baked tofu from the oven and add to simmering tikka masala gravy
- Plate and garnish with additional dried fenugreek leaves, a splash of coconut milk, and fresh chopped cilantro. Serve with brown or white rice, and enjoy!