This Vegan Tofu Tikkā recipe is an exclusive from Dr. Sheil Shukla’s new cookbook Plant-Based India. Click here to find out where you can order it.
Tikkā is a northern Indian dish involving marinated protein or vegetables cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven. My version is made with marinated tofu baked on skewers in a conventional oven to mimic the traditional cooking vessel, which adds a char and smokiness to the dish.
Using smoked paprika further pays tribute to the traditional cooking technique. This vegan tofu tikkā is best served hot with cooling Mint Cucumber Rāitā or a Mint Cilantro Chutney and is delicious in lettuce wraps as well.
For lettuce wraps, dice the tofu and vegetables into smaller pieces after cooking and fill the lettuce leaves just before serving. Note that this recipe requires an overnight marinade to maximize flavor, so be sure to plan ahead!
What you’ll need:
- unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
- tomato paste
- garlic cloves
- lime juice
- garam masālā
- smoked paprika
- ground turmeric
- ground red chili
- black salt
- extra-firm tofu
- red onion
- bell peppers (any color)
- chāt masala
- cilantro or mint
- Lemon or lime wedges
- Mint Cucumber or Mint Cilantro Chutney, optional
This vegan Tikkā is Sheil’s rendition of a northern Indian dish involving marinated protein or vegetables cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven, but made with marinated tofu baked on skewers instead.
- ⅔ cup (160 g) unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, grated (about 1½ tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about ¼ lime)
- 2 teaspoons garam masālā
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground red chili
- ½ teaspoon black salt
- One 14-ounce (400 g) block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed for 1 hour (see Ingredient Tip in the notes below), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- ½ medium red onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
- 1 to 2 bell peppers (any color), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- A generous pinch of chāt masala
- Roughly chopped cilantro or mint
- Lemon or lime wedges
- Mint Cucumber Rāitā or Mint Cilantro Chutney to serve, optional
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, garam masālā, paprika, salt, turmeric, red chili, and black salt. Adjust seasoning to taste. The mixture should be pungent, spicy, and salty.
- Add the tofu, onion, and bell pepper to the mixing bowl and stir gently until each piece is well coated. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and stir, then skewer onto 4 to 6 stainless-steel or bamboo skewers. If using bamboo skewers, they must first be soaked in water for 1 hour. Alternate the tofu, pepper, and onion on the skewers. Reserve any remaining marinade.
- Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch (23 x 23 x 5 cm) square baking dish with foil (for easier cleanup). Balance the skewers on top of the baking dish rims so the tofu is touching neither the bottom of the pan nor its neighbor.
- Bake the tofu skewers for 15 minutes, until starting to brown in spots. Remove from the oven, brush with the remaining marinade, rotate each skewer 180 degrees, then return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, until browning in spots again. If desired, broil for a minute or two to obtain a char reminiscent of tandoor cooking.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chāt masālā to taste and chopped cilantro. Serve hot with lemon wedges and rāitā if desired.
Use a tofu press for best results, but if not available, you can place the tofu between two paper towels or clean kitchen towels. Place a flat plate or cutting board on top of the tofu and a few heavy cans (like beans or soup) on top of the plate.
Keywords: vegan tofu tikka
Recipe from Plant-Based India: Nourishing Recipes Rooted in Tradition © Dr. Sheil Shukla, 2022. Reprinted by permission of The Experiment. Available everywhere books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com. Click here to order a copy.
SAVE | PIN | SHARE THIS RECIPE
About the Author
Dr. Sheil Shukla is an internal medicine physician, artist, and cook. He lives and works in the Chicagoland area, and he is passionate about plant-based nutrition and its applications to clinical medicine. He is the creator, recipe developer, and food photographer of @plantbasedartist on Instagram with over 60,000 followers. He is also a current contributor here at Best of Vegan. Although he loves exploring new cultures through their foods, his culinary interests are in South Asian and East Asian cuisines including the regional “thali” tradition of Gujarat, India.
About the Cookbook
“Plant-Based India is packed with over 100 nutritious and authentic recipes drawn from my culinary heritage. I especially thank YOU for joining me along my journey, and I cannot wait for you to see the book in person. This book is for YOU! Each recipe is photographed by me, and I’ve included information regarding the health benefits of the ingredients used throughout. There is also a primer on the Indian pantry, so you’ll be well equipped to finding everything you’ll need to cook the recipes in the book!” – Sheil Shukla
Disclaimer: the cookbooks we feature are independently selected by our Best of Vegan editors and are in no way sponsored by the author and/or the publisher. All content is used with permission.
If you loved this vegan tofu tikkā recipe, check out another great recipe by Dr. Sheil Shukla: