Soft tender tofu marinated in the beautiful flavours of spices cooked to perfection in tandoor. Pulpy, tender tofu gives a flavour burst in the mouth, which you will love to have again and again. Tikka is more akin to the likes of chicken and paneer, however tofu tikka offers the best solutions for vegans without any compromise on the taste. This is an ideal vegan tikka.
What is Tikka
What’s the image you get when you hear the word, Tikka? Doesn’t this brings the visuals of chunky pieces of chicken, meat or paneer, held on a skewer? Originally a dish which was bought by Mughals to Indian sub-continent, this tikka is now world famous food. I would imagine that tikka would have been mainly restricted to chicken or meat, got its veg alternative as paneer, as soon as it reached India, considering India in that era was largely a vegetarian community.
Chefs worldwide have taken cue from Tikka and created numerous dishes, such as chicken tikka masala. When traditional tikka pieces are cooked in a gravy, it takes the form of tikka masala.
I have lots of readers who keep asking for vegan food choices. Tofu tikka is one such appetiser which ticks all the right boxes for vegans. It has got flavours, it has got nutrition, it filling and it is easy to make too, just what anyone will need from food, lastly and most importantly, it is vegan too.
What Ingredients do I need for Tofu Tikka?
A good dish does not always mean you need zillions of ingredients. A good few handful of ingredients and the art of cooking is all required to create beautiful dishes, and tofu tikka is a fabulous example of this.
For making best tofu tikka you will need
- Tofu – “The vegan paneer”, tofu is normally made from soy milk. Tofu can be silken and wobbly, soft, firm and extra firm, however you need to use firm tofu. It is inherently low in calories, and amazing source of plant protein. Tofu is also mega in its iron content, along with calcium and magnesium. You can get tofu from most of big grocery stores.
- Bell peppers – Crunchy bell peppers do two jobs in tofu tikka, one is to offer the taste it possesses, it also is used to hold the tofu pieces on the skewer and avoiding tofu from slipping from skewer.
- Onions – Onions play similar role to that of bell pepper. Use alternative layer of tofu, onion, tofu, bell pepper on the skewer.
- Yogurt – Vegans, pay attention here! You need to be using vegan yogurt. For marination, we need yogurt, as yogurt helps in binding the spices over the tofu.
- Spices – Apart from salt and pepper, in my tofu tikka recipe, I have used garam masala, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, however, spice world is an oyster and you can get imaginative and use any spice which is in your kitchen cup-board.
- Lemon Juice – I won’t say that lemon juice is an absolute must, however reason why you should use lemon juice is to tenderise tofu and tanginess. You can keep tofu to marinade for longer and that would also tenderise tofu.
Tandoor, grill, oven, or stove-top?
I have always been fascinated by the hot tikka served on skewer, however, my dream to get a mega size tandoor is still far from reality. I did buy a small tandoor few years ago and try to make the best of that mini-tandoor and BBQ in British summer. However, sun does not always shine in England and most time cooking has to be in indoors. This means, I need to use indoor alternatives to tandoor for my cooking. To make tofu tikka you can use any of these equipments, though tandoor is the best option.
In my recipe I have used stove-top, something which everyone will have at home. If using oven, you need to make sure that oven is not too hot and do not leave tofu for long, as tofu will cook swiftly. Likewise, if you using barbecue, please check that the flame is low, else your tofu will get burnt on surface and inner part of tofu won’t cook well.
Method of making Tofu Tikka
- Cut tofu, bell peppers and onions into cube shape.
- Now take a mixing bowl and add yogurt (don’t forget to use vegan yogurt for vegans who want vegan tikka), and ginger garlic paste to it. Subsequently, add coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice and mix well. Now add cubed vegetables and tofu and mix them well so that they are all well coated with the paste. Stick the cling film and keep this aside to marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Take skewer and pierce through tofu, onion and bell peppers. Try to hold tofu pieces between 2 pieces of bell peppers or Onions. This way tofu won’t fall down from skewer when cooking.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. Now brush the tikkas with oil and put the skewers in oven. Let the tikka get cooked for 10-12 mins, till you can see soft charred tofu. If you are using stove-top, get the skillet to medium heat, spray some oil and then put the skewer. Keep moving skewer every 2-3 mins to make sure tikkas are cooked evenly.
- Once cooked take out the skewers and serve hot with green chutney.
Some Pro-Tips in this tofu tikka recipe
- This recipe requires marination, marination offers the opportunity for spices to seep into tofu and give flavour burst in mouth. I will recommend marination for at least 2 hours, however marinating for a little longer would be even more beneficial, it will tenderise tofu further. Hence plan ahead of cooking considering time required for marination. Do not leave to marinate for far too long, that gives the risk of tofu getting crumbly.
- Avoid using silken or extra soft tofu, as that may fall away from skewer.
- If cooking indoor, and on stove top, open your windows to let the smoke go out. You do not want your kitchen to become a smoke house.
- Choose the right skewer. I have used metal skewer with wood handle, this helps in cooking the tikkas, without risking of feeling hot handles. If making this tikka on tandoor or barbecue, dip the skewer in cold water, before putting on the tikka chunks on it.
- Lemon is your friend here. Lemon will tenderise tofu and facilitate the spices to seep through to the core of tofu pieces, as well as will offer the desired tanginess to tofu tikka.
This tofu tikka
- Is absolutely easy to make, as it contains easy steps marination and basic cooking.
- Offers a great vegan alternative to paneer tikka, with out any compromise on flavours.
- Is an amazing tofu recipe, you will love tofu. I have been personally not into tofu other than on pad thai, however, I too loved this tofu tikka.
- You can use this tofu tikka as a starter in your menu, and its pretty much filling too.
I am big no-no when it comes to wasting food, not a single grain should get wasted, is my motto. I envisage that everything in kitchen is utilised to its full potential, hence I try to do makeovers from leftovers. If you have leftover or surplus tikka, do not worry, you can go ahead and make tofu tikka masala or a tikka wrap.
To make tikka wrap, take a tortilla wrap (or use roti or paratha) as per your choice and convenience, add few tikka chunks on top of it, pour some cilantro chutney, ketch-up, or other sauces of choice, some chopped onions and then roll it into a tikka wrap.
Cold tikkas will get little chewy, if you have cold tikka, microwave for a min by sprinkling a few drops of water on tikka (do not do excess), alternatively, take a glass on water and put the glass along with tikka in microwave, the vapours from water will keep tikka soft even when re-heating.
Make sure that you serve these tofu tikkas hot straight from tandoor or pan, along side mint-coriander chutney and chopped onion topped with lemon juice.
- 500 Grams Tofu
- 3 Bell Pepper
- 2 Onions Big size
- 2 Tbsp Yogurt Use vegan yogurt for vegans
- 1.5 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1.5 Tsp Salt As per taste
- 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- Cut tofu, bell peppers and onions into cube.
- Now take a mixing bowl and add yogurt and ginger garlic paste to it. Now add coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt, lemon juice and mix well.
- Now add cubed vegetables and tofu and mix them well so that they are all well coated with the paste. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it marinate for 2 hours.
- Take skewer and pierce through tofu, onion and bell peppers. Try to hold tofu pieces between 2 pieces of bell peppers. This way they don’t fall down while cooking.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. Brush the tikkas with oil and put in oven. Let the tikka get cooked for 10-12 mins, till you can see light charred look on tofu.
- Turn the skewers to ensure tofu as well as bell peppers are cooked from all sides.
- Once cooked take out the skewers and serve hot with green chutney.
- If you are using bamboo skewers, then dip them in water for 2-3 hours so that they will not get burnt while cooking.
- Always cook on medium temperature. If you start cooking just after the coal has ignited, tikka will not cook properly from inside and will be burnt from outside.
- Longer you keep to marinate, succulent your tofu will taste.