Friday, March 24, 2023

Tandoor Style Tofu Tikka


Whip up this delicious tofu tikka for a Northern Indian dish that’s full of rich smoky flavor and healthy plant-based protein.

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 tikkā is best served hot with cooling Mint Cucumber dairy-free yogurt Rāitā or 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! Pairs well with crispy rice paper samosas.

tofu tikka

Tofu Tikkā

Northern Indian tofu cooked in tandoor oven.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, vegan
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12


  • cup unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated, about 1½ tbsp
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice (about ¼ lime)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground red chili
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • 14 oz block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed for one hour, then cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 to 2 bell peppers (any color), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • A generous pinch of chāt masala
  • Roughly chopped cilantro or mint
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Mint cucumber raita or mint cilantro chutney


  • 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 thepannor 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.

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.

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