Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vegan Tikka Masala

I wish I had a really awesome 'connection' to my foreword and this recipe; but I don't. Except for the fact that I watched Bobby Flay's Throwdown last night because I was too tired to cook because apparently running hates me.

Yes. I have been in no mood to cook the last two nights because my first run after the whole 'fractured foot' ordeal led me to pass out from anaphylactic shock. Yes. You heard it right. No small beans here. It's actually been quite a frightening last few days.

So Tuesday I was running when something (what? who knows?) caused me to go into anaphylactic shock and therefore pass out; luckily in front of a stranger who luckily happened to be a good samaritan. He called my mama and the ambulance and his wife got me a blanket. Thank you note coming... promise.

As I was traveling to the hospital in the ambulance with the really cute paramedic named Todd (um, why are they always cute? And why did I have to be wearing my lame I heart M.J. t-shirt?), he said something like this to me: 'we're taking you to the hospital and you'll be there for a while'. My response: 'But I have to cook dinner!' Then Todd says, 'Yeah {weirdo} you don't have to make dinner tonight'.

Boo. However, in reality, I couldn't have anyway. Between the ambulance ride and the eternally long stay in the E.R., I was pumped so full of all kinds of things my naturopathic husband so wouldn't approve of, there was no way I was functional, even when I finally did make it home.

Ok so fast forward 24 hours... still exhausted. Didn't make dinner. Instead Honey stopped by Pastazza, one of our favorites, and picked up a salad (which I didn't eat), a pizza for Noodle and some pasta with meat for him... he was happy.

Bedtime comes and so commences my not so secret affair with my Food Network men: Alton Brown and Bobby Flay. In this recipe, these two heart melters come together. Lucky for me (and you).

Bobby Flay's Throwdown was chicken tikka masala... chicken? No. Tofu? Yes! So I did a little search and just so happened to find my alltime favorite man, (aside from my Honey, of course) the fantastical Alton Brown. Low and behold, he has a tikka masala recipe; with lame, I mean lamb. Love you Alton but let's see a little less lamb and a scoshe more tofu there darlin'.

No worries. I'll take care of that. Here you go: your recipe, adapted vegan styl-ee; and yes, I know you want me to be on your show; it's only a matter of time. I'm still game to be a hand model but with this recipe? I should definitely at least be your Aunt Mable or crazy dorky neighbor or something. We'll work out the details later; call me! Until then? En-joy... I know you will, Al-dog.

Yield: about 6 servings
Adapted from Alton Brown's Tikka Masala

For the rice:
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
2 cups brown basmati rice
For the tikka:
1 Tablespoon plus 1 Tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 pkg extra firm tofu, cubed
1 container (about 1 cup) So Delicious vanilla yogurt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 serrano chile (small/med depending on heat preference) diced very fine
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 small can coconut milk
Cilantro, chopped for garnish
Green onion, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a pot, combine water, Earth Balance and a bit of salt and bring to a boil.

In an oven proof pan, such as a Le Creuset or Pyrex, put the 2 cups dry brown basmati rice.

When water mixture is boiling, pour over rice, give a light stir and cover tightly with tin foil. Put in oven for 1 hour. (p.s. this is hands down the BEST way to cook rice. Period. The end.)

While your rice cooks, get out a gallon plastic bag and combine 1 Tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, coriander and pepper. Seal the bag and shake to combine.

Cube tofu and add to the bag of seasoning. Shake to cover evenly then add the container of So Delicious yogurt. Squish to combine, ensuring you don't break the cubes of tofu. Set aside to marinate for about 20 to 30 min.

While tofu is marinating, heat a large skillet with about 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.  Once the pan is pretty hot, add onions and saute, stirring frequently, until soft and brown, about 8-10 minutes.

To your onions, add the garlic, ginger, and chile. Continue to cook while stirring until everything is soft and brown; about another 8-10 minutes.

Turn down the heat on your onion mix and add the remaining garam masala, remaining salt, diced tomatoes, bag of tofu and marinade and can of coconut milk.

When you add the tofu, make sure you get as much of the marinade from the bag as possible. Stir everyting together then cover, reduce heat to low/med and let cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occassionally.

When rice is done, remove from oven, fluff with a fork and re-cover with the foil until serving time.

In a bowl, start with the rice; put it into one side of the bowl. Next to the rice, spoon in an even mixture of your tikka masala, ensuring you have enough tofu (for the protein) in comparison to everything else.

Top first with a bit of cilantro, then green onion.

Serve hot and enjoy... we ate it about two hours ago and Honey is still raving about a: how good it was and b: that the flavors are still rich in his mouth.

Give it a whirl, Alton... you know you want to!



Garam Masala


  1. Hey Ellen,

    That sounds so scary! I'm glad that you are Ok now. I laughed when you said your response to the paramedic was "but I was have to cook!" lol This looks really good--so many great flavors!

    By the way, thanks for checking out my guest post on Lazaro Cooks! I appreciate your very nice comments =)

  2. If your looking for a bold, full bodied flavored vegan meal you have come to the right place...this dish is awesome in so many ways and in a sence takes you away to india. thank you for an amazing dish...cant wait for leftover's! thank you honey :)

  3. Ellen,

    Another sexy vegan dish. Love the balance of flavors. You continue to show that vegetarian food can be bold and beautiful.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Be well...

  4. I like the way you've cooked rice. I've never tried something like this. Great tip!

  5. What?! Passing out, ambulance, ER? Are you ok now? I hope you figure out what the hell happened! :(

    About the dish...I LOVE tikka masala. More Indian restaurants need to stock tofu. Vanilla yogurt is an interesting choice! & The seasoning mix sounds awesome.

  6. It looks so good!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I just love those yummy dishes!

  7. Marisa, thank you :) Yes, the paramedic definitely thought I was odd! I'll be back on your blog soon... you do a great job!

    Honey, what? you're here? weird! And p.s. people: he is still talking about this meal!! :) Love you!

    Laz, thank you :) It was super delicious... worthy of giving it a try for the Lawyer's new found vegetarianism, for sure! :)

    Spoon and Chopsticks, there is no better way! It's so much easier. That was an Alton thing, many years ago... love him!

    Amber, Yeah... hopefully I will know what caused it. The dish? Thank you! Actually the vanilla was because I couldn't, for the life of me, find 'plain' non dairy yogurt. It worked well though!

    Specialiste de l'ephemere, so glad to have you here! Thank you so much and I hope you give the dish a try... so good! :)

  8. YUM! and YUM! Quick story: I was on a VegVoyages vacation in India a couple of years ago, and I was the only vegan on the trip. One gentleman kept whining the whole time that he wished he could have some chicken tikka masala. I'd love to find him now and share this recipe with him. I think it would fully satisfy his tikka cravings.

    I love cooking with So Delicious coconut milk yogurt. It's the best thing since sliced bread!

    I can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I hope your foot is getting better.

  9. Sounds yummy but for the tofu. My SO and I are both soy intolerant and gluten intolerant. Will figure out a different version.

    FYI- Found that Miso Master makes a chickpea, soy-free miso and can't wait to try it.

  10. this recipe turned out great!! thank you for posting this. i made a few minor changes (and one mistake) but the dish was still a success. i posted my taste test of the recipe on Vegan Friction

  11. Vegiegail... love that story! Fantastic :) If you ever happen to see him again be sure to tell him it's possible with tofu! Thanks for stopping by :)

    Anonymous... I'm sorry you're soy intolerant. I have a girlfriend that is as well and definitely inconvenient. Chickpeas would be great! Thanks for visiting :)

    Valerie... I LOVE!!! I just headed over to your blog and love it. I will definitely be back and thank you so much for the shout out. I am so so pleased that you tried this and loved it! Hope to see you here soon!



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