Tofu Vindaloo

By Alissa | Last Updated: October 6, 2014

Tofu Vindaloo

Tofu VindalooPhotos by Lindsey Johnson

Indian food is my favorite for dining out. Historically speaking, I can’t say the same for cooking it at home. I mean, it’s always a favorite to eat, but the preparation can be rather intimidating. For me, this has been the case with many types of foods, and since I started blogging, I realized there’s one way to get over these types of fears: you dive right in, head first.

Did that conjure up an image of diving into a giant pot of hot, steaming vindaloo? I hope so, because that sounds delightful, to me anyway.

Tofu Vindaloo Ingredients
Vindaloo is definitely a favorite Indian dish, sort of. I found out recently that the vindaloos I’ve dined on haven’t been traditional vindaloos, which would contain potatoes. I think I knew somewhere in my brain that “aloo” translated to “potato,” but ignored it, as every vindaloo I’ve ever eaten was a mix of tender veggies in a spicy sauce, with no potatoes to be found.

I actually prefer my vindaloo this way, as I like a generous serving of rice and naan with my Indian food, and the veggies result in a meal that’s a bit more balanced when served with these sides. That’s why I went for a mixed veggie dish when I created my own vindaloo recipe. I also added tofu, making the dish even more balanced in flavor and nutrition. The tofu is surprisingly reminiscent of paneer (pressed Indian cheese, in case you aren’t familiar), so it works beautifully. So, basically I took what could be a traditional vindaloo recipe and rearranged it all over the place. How’s that for diving in head-first?

Vindaloo Paste
Another way this recipe differs from some other vindaloo recipes you may have seen is in the fact that it is way simplified. You’ll often find grinding and toasting of spices in Indian recipes. Not here, and I promise you won’t taste a difference. The ingredients list, while on the longish side, is primarily made up of stuff you have in your pantry. Asian chili paste is the one seasoning that might be iffy, depending where you live. Lots of supermarkets stock it in the ethnic foods sections these days. If you can’t find it there, you can try an Asian market or online. If you’ve got absolutely every other ingredient needed to make this dish and are so enticed by reading this that you’ve got to start right away, just go with some dried cayenne pepper to taste. It should give you the heat you need in what is a traditionally spicy dish.

Go to Tofu Vindaloo recipe

Tofu Vindaloo

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Cook Time:

25 minutes

Total Time:

35 minutes

Yield:

4 servings

ingredients:

    For the vindaloo paste:

  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chili paste (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the Tofu Vindaloo:

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil)
  • 1 (15-ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for at least 20 minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Rice or naan, for serving
Print recipe

instructions:

    To make the vindaloo paste:

  1. Place all of the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until it reaches a paste consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl or pitcher as needed. Set aside.
  2. To make the Tofu Vindaloo:

  3. Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes or so, until it's lightly browned.
  4. Push the tofu out to the sides of the of the saucepan, making a space in the center. Add the vindaloo paste to the center and heat for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the broth, tomato paste, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Stir gently to combine, then bring to a simmer and add the cauliflower, pepper and green beans.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Add up to 1/2 cup of water during cooking if sauce becomes too thick.
  6. Divide onto plates and serve with rice or naan.

notes:

Vindaloo is one of the spicier Indian dishes. This version is a medium-hot version. If you like super-spicy vindaloo, feel free to up the chili paste. If you're not into spicy, or aren't sure, cut down on the chili paste. You can always add a bit more at the end if it turns out too mild.

About Alissa

Alissa Saenz crafts vegan recipes for her blog Connoisseurus Veg. When she’s not cooking and blogging about it, she’s probably engaging in some form of yoga, arts & crafts, or lawyering.

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Comments

Hello! I always end up visiting this blog for ideas. I gave up meat a year ago,and through blogs like these, I’ve found it so much easier to cook tasty vegetarian meals. This looked so good, I hope I can try it when I am not so busy with school work!

Thanks Renee! Glad to hear you’re enjoying our recipes. This one was one of my favorites, so I hope you get a change to try it. 🙂

This looks fabulous!!! I’ve been looking for a solid vindaloo recipe and I definitely think this one fits the bill. It looks so flavourful yet easy. Love that you added some tofu for some added texture and protein. Cannot wait to try this 🙂

This looks delicious! While a lot of Indian curries keep well in the fridge for a few days and can even be frozen, given this recipe uses tofu can it be frozen/reheated? Or am I better off making this for a crowd when it’s likely to be eaten in one sitting?

I stored leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days and they were just fine. Freezing might be a little iffy though, since it changes the texture of tofu. If you want to freeze it I’d say leave the tofu out and then cook it up as instructed in the recipe and add it to the veggies after thawing. Enjoy!

Definitely not! And honestly, if someone would have fed this to me and told me the tofu was paneer, I would have believed them. 🙂

I LOVE making Indian food at home but you’re right…it can totally be intimidating! Love that you’ve simplified so that it can be made by the home cook and still be just as delicious!

Hi Alissa, this recipe lived a couple of weeks on a pin in my Pinterest and today I’ve cooked it. Simply fantastic, easy to prepare and the kitchen and house smell delightfully. I was (silly) out of rice and decided to serve this vindaloo tofu with baked potatoes – and did not regret it at all.

Many thanks for you kind posting of this recipe and the clear description.

You’ve gained a fan.
Greetings from Rotterdam!

Hi Marcel!
Yay!! I do seem to remember the house smelling amazing when I made this. Nice save with the baked potatoes – that actually sounds like a great way to serve this on a chilly day, and I might try it out myself. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

I quite liked this! Though I found it a little too sweet and mild, so next time around I’ll amp up the flavour and umami 🙂 I used peas instead of green beans because it’s what I had on hand, and there’s something so delightful about those little green guys floating in a savoury sauce

Glad you liked it! You could definitely adjust the spice level to your liking. I love Indian dishes with peas, so they sound like an awesome substitution here. 🙂

I was thinking that when I went vegan I was really going to miss Indian food the most BUT not so much now. Thank you.

Btw do you think there is a vindaloo paste already made up that I can buy somewhere?

Thank you !

Hi Karol! I have seen jarred vindaloo paste at some Indian grocery stores, but I’ve never tried it myself. I’d imagine the intensity could vary, so you might need to experiment a bit with the amount. I hope you enjoy it – and if you do go with a store bought paste I’d be interested in hearing how it turns out.

Wow. Was looking for a good vegetarian recipe blog since it seems like a majority of blogs I run across have meat in it(I love meat, but like to keep it to 2-3 meals a week). Found this blog and this recipe perked my interest. Tried out the recipe, and I am not disappointed. Cant wait to make this for my parents, who are vegetarian. This is delicious! Next up is going to be the kale hummus.

Glad you found us and so glad to hear you enjoyed the vindaloo! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and let me know. 🙂 The kale hummus has been on my list of recipes to try for a while as well (thanks for reminding me). Enjoy!

I prefer my tofu marinated and baked so, … instead of pan frying the tofu cubes, I made the sauce, heated it and dropped the tofu in. I turned off the stove and left the tofu to marinate in the sauce for a couple of hours. Then I finished making the recipe. I also subbed green peas for the green beans. Pretty darned tasty!

Most garam masala blends I’ve tried have a few more spices than those the recipe calls for. If you find one with the same ingredients, then absolutely. If you use one that’s a bit different then obviously it will change the flavor, but I think it will still come out tasty.

This is a great recipe. I love the clean flavours of the fresh spices compared to jarred. It’s very easy too. I’ve not always had the same veggies so I’ve switched them up a bit sometimes – one time using Frozen Cauli peas and spinach – even faster to prepare! Sometimes only have count oil, so used that. And once I forgot the sugar and the difference was only slight.
I think this will be my recipe for introducing novices to tofu – as you say, it works like paneer here.
Thank you very much

Hi Alissa! I found your blog recently and love it! I made tofu vindaloo last night and it was just GREAT, I’d been looking for a vegetarian vindaloo and your recipe is excellent. One question though. Do you use a nonstick pan for this recipe? I pressed my tofu for 40 minutes, then I heated my stainless steel pan, heated the canola oil til it shimmered, but the tofu stuck to the pan. Much of it browned nicely, but I had to scrape at it, and not many of the 1″ cubes made it intact. What did I do wrong?

Also wanted to note, I used Vindaloo spice powder I bought a few months ago on a whim, and it worked great. I calculated that you used about 4.5t of dry spices, so that’s how much I put it of the Vindaloo powder. I added your same measure of salt and pepper.

Thanks again, this is a great recipe and I look forward to trying more!

Thanks Amanda! So glad you enjoyed this! I didn’t use a nonstick pan when I made this, but I often do when making pan-fried tofu. It sounds like you did everything right by pressing the tofu well and preheating the oil. A couple other things you could try are adding a bit more oil and using the firmest possible tofu – Trader Joe’s has one that I really like. If you’re still having trouble you could go with nonstick or well seasoned cast iron, even if that means cooking the tofu in a skillet and then transferring to a larger saucepan so you can add everything else. Thanks for the tip on the vindaloo powder – I’ve had a couple of questions on that, so knowing the amount and that it worked will come in handy. 🙂

I just found your blog and tried this recipe. It was soooo good! Thank you for posting it! I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

I was really craving curry last night and made this – so, so good! I had it with a side of simple saag (just spinach and chopped tomatoes mixed with some crushed chillies, salt and garam masala) and it was amazing 🙂

I am genuinely so excited to have found this recipe – I think it is going to become a staple for me. So thank you!

Thanks so much Hannah! Glad you enjoyed it! This is one of my favorite recipes to have for dinner during the winter months. 🙂

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