Tandoori Tofu in Spicy Yogurt Sauce with Coconut Rice

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Inspired by tandoori chicken, this tandoori tofu in spicy yogurt sauce is the best, most flavorful tofu recipe. Serve this delicious, spicy tofu with coconut rice and sourdough naan.

What is Tandoori

Many people think Tandoori is a spice or marinade for foods, but it’s a cooking method. You prepare Tandoori by marinating meat and then cooking it over high heat in a clay oven, also known as a tandoor.

While Tandoori isn’t a spice, all tandoori dishes are well-marinated and usually vibrant shades of yellow or red. The marinade base is made with yogurt, and the color comes from saffron, annatto seeds, or turmeric.

Tandoori dishes are not only colorful but extremely flavorful. The other spices commonly found in tandoori dishes are ginger, garlic, coriander, cayenne, red pepper, and garam masala. Garam masala is a spice blend that includes cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper. The tandoori marinade can be mild or spicy, depending on how much cayenne and red pepper you add.

Coconut Rice Bowls with Tandoori Tofu

This is a tandoori chicken-inspired vegan dish. I don’t have a clay cooking pot, so I cooked the tofu in a skillet. While it isn’t prepared in the traditional Tandoori cooking method, this dish does contain all the delicious flavors usually found in tandoori dishes.

Here are all the ingredients you need to prepare Tandoori tofu:

  • 16 ounces Extra firm sprouted tofu
  • 1 Cup Plain yogurt (vegan or regular)
  • The juice of 2 Limes
  • One shallot minced
  • Fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Garam Masala
  • cumin
  • crushed red pepper
  • cayenne pepper, ground
  • fresh turmeric, grated
  • smoked paprika
  • sea salt
  • olive oil

You don’t have to use organic sprouted tofu, but it’s the best. Be sure to use extra firm tofu, though.

How to Marinate Tandoori Tofu

The key to making delicious Tandoori tofu is marinating it long enough. So you’ll want to start this recipe the night before you plan to prepare it.

First, press the tofu until it is pretty dry, then crumble it into large chunks. After you press and crumble the tofu, make the marinade. Whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. If your yogurt is strained and thick, add water to thin the marinade slightly. Add the tofu to the marinade and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

How to Cook Tandoori Tofu in Spicy Yogurt Sauce

First, place a colander over a bowl and strain the tofu from the marinade, making sure to reserve the marinade. Next, sear the tofu in a piping hot skillet before combining it with the yogurt sauce.

To make the sauce, combine the reserved marinade, coconut cream, turmeric powder, and tomato paste and cook it until it simmers. Then you can pour the sauce over the tofu and toss to combine.

Preparing the Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is best for Tandoori tofu because the creamy and soft texture compliments the intense flavors. It’s best to use coconut milk without thickeners and preservatives, and I like the coconut milk from Trader Joe’s.

Here are the ingredients you need for the coconut rice:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 (400 ml) can coconut milk, plain
  • water
  • salt
  • organic cane sugar

Serve the tofu on coconut rice with fresh cilantro and sourdough naan.

two white bowls filled with coconut rice, crumbly browned tandoori tofu in a a golden yogurt sauce, with a piece of naan on the side and fresh cilantro on top. Saffron colored linen napkins sit next to the bowls

More Recipes to try

a silver fork in a white bowl filled with coconut rice, crumbly browned tandoori tofu in a a golden yogurt sauce, with a piece of naan on the side and fresh cilantro on top
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Tandoori Tofu in Spicy Yogurt Sauce with Coconut Rice

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Inspired by tandoori chicken, this tandoori tofu in spicy yogurt sauce is the best, most flavorful tofu recipe. Serve this delicious, spicy tofu with coconut rice and sourdough naan.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 Servings
  • Category: Main
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Tandoori Tofu

  • 16 ounces Extra firm sprouted tofu, pressed
  • 1 Cup Plain yogurt (vegan or regular)
  • the juice of 2 Limes
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Turmeric, grated
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

coconut rice

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 (400 ml) can coconut milk, plain
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon organic cane sugar

yogurt sauce

  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • strained tofu marinade
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

for serving

  • fresh cilantro
  • naan

Instructions

  1. Start this recipe the night before you plan to serve.
  2. Press the tofu until it is quite dry, then crumble it in large chunks.
  3. After you press and crumble the tofu, make the marinade. Whisk together the yogurt, lime juice, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, sea salt, crushed red pepper and olive oil. If your yogurt is strained and thick, add a splash of water to thin out the marinade slightly.
  4. Add the tofu to the marinade. Marinade overnight.
  5. Place a colander over a bowl, strain out he tofu and reserve the left over marinade.
  6. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet and brown the crumbled marinated tofu over medium high heat. (Add it to the oil and let it cook for about 4 minutes before stirring it around, and letting it continue to cook until browned)
  7. In a small saucepan combine all the sauce ingredients, and bring to a simmer with continuous stirring for 10 minutes.
  8. Pour the sauce if we the browned tofu in the skillet and toss until it’s coated
  9. Make coconut rice: rinse the jasmine rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain any excess water and place the rice into a cooking pot with a lid.
  10. Add coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar.
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. As soon as it begins to boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cook covered for 20 minutes.
  12. Uncover and continue to cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and fluff the rice.
  13. Serve the tofu over the coconut rice with warm naan and fresh cilantro.

Did you make this recipe?

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author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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6 comments

Tammy Lawrence May 4, 2020 - 3:40 am

This was delicious with all the layers of flavor. My husband said it needs to be in the rotation.






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley May 4, 2020 - 1:44 pm

I’m so happy you both enjoyed it!

Reply
Megan July 26, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Any non-spicy replacements for jalapeños?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 26, 2020 - 5:24 pm

You can sub with 1/2 of a green bell pepper!

Reply
Shannon January 25, 2021 - 12:47 pm

I actually found the sauce for the tofu incredibly bland. Anything suggestions on how to give it more flavor?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley January 25, 2021 - 1:46 pm

Sure! Throw it back into a skillet and double all the spices. Add more smoked paprika, salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric Powder, olive oil, Minced Garlic, and Lime Juice.

Reply