Stovetop: 15-Minute Butter Tofu with Our Tikka Masala

June 19, 2024

butter tofu with tikka masala

Going from my 15-minute butter chicken recipe to butter tofu was not overly complicated - I just had to find the time to play with the recipe in the kitchen after processing it in my head for weeks. I'm excited that I finally got to it. And that after weeks of traveling for fun and for work - I finally had time to get my kitchen a little messy. The key to making tofu successfully in an Indian dish - in my opinion - is to get the texture right. I recommend baking or air frying it. I'm not a huge fan of two-part recipes, but for tofu trust me - it's worth the extra step. You can prep the tofu a few days ahead even and store it in the fridge to pull out when you are ready. Some have told me they freeze the tofu to get that extra meaty texture - I've tried it but am not convinced it was worth it. I'll try it again - but for now I'm air frying it. 

The reason I like to give you a separate recipe - instead of imbedding this in my chicken recipe - is because the steps are slightly different and because it drives me nuts when vegetarian versions of recipes are reduced to footnotes. I also personally like following a recipe step-by-step. I'll embed steps into my recipes where it makes sense, but here I felt we need to take a fresh look. The first step is to flash back to my baked tofu nugget recipe here. The trick is pulling the tofu apart as if it's chunks of chicken. Then, follow the steps below. Keep in mind that I make a version with just one 16-oz. container of tofu. Double that if you would like and want the same volume as 2-pounds of chicken. But, know that it was enough for my family of four. I'd start with one container and then double it as needed down the line. I also eliminated flour because the tofu is coated lightly with cornstarch. 

Stovetop: 15-Minute Butter Tofu with Our Tikka Masala 

1 16-ounce container of firm or extra firm tofu, preferably organic
1/2 cup Indian As Apple Pie tikka masala 
2 fresh Thai chiles or 1/2 fresh serrano chile, stem(s) removed and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder 
1/4 teaspoon clove powder 
1 teaspoon garam masala 
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika (unsmoked)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream (dairy or alternative)
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

1. Bake or air fry the tofu according to these instructions. Set aside. 

2. In a heavy, medium-sized pan, add the tikka masala, fresh chiles, cardamom and clove powders, garam masala, ground cumin, red chile, paprika, sugar, salt, water, and cream. Heat through. Be careful not to over cook this because the moisture will evaporate and the sauce will thicken. If it does, then simply add another tablespoon or two of water to loosen it up. Also pay attention to the size of the pan. If it's too large or wide, your ingredients will dry out too quickly. 

3. Add the tofu chunks and cook until heated through just 1-2 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately over rice or with Indian bread like roti or naanAs the tofu sits in the sauce it will continue to soften and absorb the flavors. 

Here's what the tofu should look like: 

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