Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Vegan Richa’s Tofu Pasanda


This tofu pasanda from Vegan Richa’s InstantPot Cookbook is a creamy and filling take on a classic Indian dish typically served with meat. But you won’t miss it here.

Pasanda literally means “favorite.” In North Indian cuisine, this sauce is usually prepared with meat, but for the vegan version, I’m using tofu. Rather than being marinated and baked first, the tofu is added straight to the sauce and everything is cooked together.

For variations, you can also add some roasted vegetables, cooked chickpeas, or even dried chickpeas. This amazing velvety sauce is nut-free and is made with poppy seeds, pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), and coconut milk.

tofu pasanda

Tofu Pasanda

Tofu in a velvety pepita seed sauce
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, vegan
Keyword tofu
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 364kcal


For the sauce

  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (about 1 teaspoon)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground paprika
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • ¾ tsp salt, or more to taste
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • ½ tsp white or black poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk or other plain, unsweetened nondairy milk

For the finishing

  • 2 tsp 2 teaspoons safflower or sunflower oil
  • 12 oz extra-firm tofu, pressed between paper towels for 15 minutes and cubed
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp raw cashews blended with 1/4 cup (60 ml) water or unsweetened coconut cream (optional)
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • red pepper flakes, for garnish


  • For the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute. Let the mixture rest in the blender for 5 minutes, then blend again until smooth. (Resting, then blending again helps break down the whole spices.)
  • Preheat the Instant Pot by selecting the Sauté setting. Heat the oil in the preheated pot for a few seconds, then add the tofu and cook for 2 minutes to sear some edges. Add the blended sauce to the pot, rinse out the blender with the water, and then add the water to the pot. Stir well and cook until just hot and bubbling. Select the Cancel setting. Stir again to pick up any stuck bits.
  • Lock the lid into place, set the Pressure Release Knob to Sealing, select the Pressure Cook/Manual setting at high pressure, and set the cook time to 17 minutes.
  • Once the cooking cycle is done, let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid, taste for seasoning, adjusting if needed. Add the cashew cream, if using.
  • Garnish with the cilantro and red pepper flakes.


• Soy-free: Soak 3/4 cup (150 g) of dried chickpeas
in water to cover by a couple of inches (about
5 cm) overnight, drain, and add to the Instant Pot
in place of the tofu. Pressure cook for 25 minutes.

Excerpted from Vegan Richa’s Instant Pot™ Cookbook150 Plant-based Recipes from Indian Cuisine and Beyond by Richa Hingle. Copyright © 2022. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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