This tikka masala recipe is the easiest you can find. It is ready in 15 minutes. You don´t first need to make a curry paste, just have garam masala and other basic spices in your cupboard. This creamy tofu tikka is made with cashew cream.
This is a time saver for a busy week evening when you have to prepare something delicious for your family. Serve this sauce with some ready bought Naan bread and basmati sauce, and the success is guaranteed.
You can make this easy dish on your own at the same time as it would take you to queue at an Indian take away. Plus you save calories by not eating out.
Indian food is usually very fatty and has a good amount of oil in it. I get not such pleasant heartburn from eating out from all the fat but love the tastes of Indian food. We like to make these easy and quick variations of Indian flavors. Make double the batch, and it is perfect for meal prepping.
This sauce is oil-free so it is good for you waist and wallet.
You can make a quick vegan Raita sauce as a condiment that tastes delicious if you have some Naan bread to dip in it. Grate some cucumber, add plant-based sugar-free yogurt, garlic powder, something sweet as a pinch of sugar or maple syrup, a pinch of salt, some dried mint, and cumin.
What tofu is best for curries?
For curries, you should use extra-firm tofu. A firm vacuum packaged tofu is best; these you don´t have to press. Smoked tofu gives even more flavor and a meaty sensation and taste.
If you don´t have extra-firm tofu at home, just regular firm tofu works also. You get a more firm consistency by having it in a tofu press.
Does Tikka Masala have dairy in it?
Traditional tikka masala has dairy in the sauce. Usually, yogurt is used to give a creamy taste and to tone down the spices. Heavy cream is also very common instead of yogurt. In vegan options, coconut cream is often used.
This recipe is vegan, so it does not have dairy in it. Tikka masala is known for its creamy taste, so you must substitute the dairy with a vegan alternative. Vegan creams could be used, but many of them have oil in them, some preservatives, and often carrageenan. This means the vegan creams, in my opinion, are not good alternatives for healthy eating. The carrageenan gives some people stomach problems also.
In this recipe, the creaminess comes from cashew cream. Cashew nuts are also high in calories, but they also have fiber and many nutrients for your body, so it´s not just fluffy calories. If you can not use nuts, you can use coconut cream or even plan-based coconut yogurt.
What does Tikka Masala taste like?
Tikka masala has a creamy tomato base. It is a burst of flavors in your mouth. At the same time, you can taste the perfect balance of cumin, ginger, garlic, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon. Chili gives just a little subtle heat.
Tikka masala is often made with roasted chicken, giving a subtle smoky taste to the sauce. I like to add some smoked paprika and use smoked tofu cubes to mimic that flavor in a vegan option.
Is Tikka Masala healthy?
Take away tikka masala can not be considered as a healthy dish. Often a portion has over 1000 calories. Fat content is substantial because of ghee and cream. A homemade version can be a portion of healthy food, especially if you reduce the fat amount and use a plant-based protein.
Did you know that tofu has a good amount of calcium? If you eat 2 portions of this sauce, meaning half of the recipe, you would almost get the daily recommended amount of 800 mg calcium.
Spices are also good for your health. Ginger, garlic, and onion are well-known health remedies. Turmeric anti-inflammatory and used in some cancer treatments. Dr. Greger recommends using some turmeric every day. This video shows some benefits of turmeric.
How many calories are in Tikka Masala?
An average portion of tikka masala sauce with chicken has 360-680 calories depending on the recipe. A vegan oil-free portion with tofu has only 200 calories. Take away portion with rice and Naan-bread is around 1200kcal. Homemade oil-free vegan portion with rice and Naan-bread is about 630 kcal.
Why is Tikka Masala so red?
When eating out in restaurants, you might have gotten a really red sauce and making it on your own; you notice it does not have that same red color but is rather on the orange side.
Some restaurants use food coloring to make the tikka masala to be red. Normally it gets its red color from tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, chili paste, and paprika powder.
The Independent newspaper made an article that around 46 percent of Indian restaurants in London used hefty levels of artificial colorings, including tartrazine, sunset yellow, and ponceau 4R.
So remember next time in a restaurant that something which looks too red to be real probably is. A homemade version is more orange than red most of the time, depending on how much coconut or cashew cream you add to it.
Protein alternatives for vegan Tikka
Different vegan protein alternatives you can use in the sauce:
- Textured soy protein
- Textured pea protein
- Yosa oat block
Normally making a tikka masala, you would marinate your chickens. Often in vegan recipes, the tofu cubes are dry marinated in a pan or put in the oven with spices. A mixture of spices and yogurt is also common for marinating and then frying in the oven. This method takes a long time but is also worth trying. Below you can see a video of this method.
The recipe in this blog post is an easy and quick one and does not require this step. You can, though, if you have an air fryer, massage the tofu cubes with some curry powder, smoked paprika, and air fry them for some minutes to give some extra texture.
Quick Tofu Tikka Masala
- 1 package firm tofu 200grams
- 1 Onion
- 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon chili paste
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
- ½ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 can tomato puree 400g
- ½ cup soaked cashews
- ½ cup water
- Start by soaking your cashews in hot water.
- Dice the onion into small cubes.
- Fry 3-5 minutes in a pan onion, tofu. tomato paste and all the spices with some soy sauce, water, or oil.
- Add in the canned tomatoes. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Make your cashews into a smooth cream in a high-speed blender.
- Pour the cashew cream into your sauce.
- Serve with some rice, Naan bread, and a side salad.