Tofu ‘butter’ Masala

Tofu ‘butter’ Masala

Serves 6-8


Tofu marinade

  • 3 tbsp Tandoori masala (or make your own – I did)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil (or more)
  • 1 kg non-silky firm tofu

Masala sauce

  •  4 tbsp sunflower oil
  •  2 large white onions, thinly sliced
  •  3 inch piece of root ginger, grated
  •  8 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
  •  3 tsp ground cumin
  •  3 tsp ground coriander
  •  ¾ tsp ground cardamom (you can grind the seeds if you don’t have it ground)
  •  ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  •  ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  •  1/3 tsp chilli or cayenne powder
  •  3 tbsp tomato puree
  •  10 tomatoes, chopped
  •  5 tbsp yoghurt or coconut milk
  •  3 tsp salt
  •  100g coconut oil


Cut the tofu into thick chunks of about 2-3 cm wide, and then roughly cube it so its in large-ish bite
size pieces. You don’t want the tofu cut too thin or small – this may make it fall apart or make it
rubbery. Put the tandoori masala in a large flat dish with sides (a square-ish pyrex dish is ideal) with
the oil and make a paste that’s thick but spreadable. Rub all sides of each piece of tofu in the
marinade and then place in the dish, cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for as long as
possible – ideally overnight or at least 4-5 hours.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan at medium heat and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry until the
onions go golden brown. Add in the ground spices, stir a cook for a couple of minutes before adding
the tomato puree, tomatoes, coconut milk or yoghurt. Turn the heat down slightly and allow to
simmer until thickened and the tomatoes are broken down. About 15 minutes. Remove from the
heat, allow to cool slightly and then blend using a hand or soup blender, in the pan.
Heat a frying pan on a high heat. Add a little more oil to the pan so the tofu doesn’t stick. Fry the
tofu on a large side until starting to brown at the edges but still has some bounce. Then flip over and
fry on the other side until it looks about the same. Do this in batches until all the tofu is cooked and
then add it to the masala sauce.
Bring the sauce back to the boil, simmer again, add in the salt and stir well. Turn off the heat and
add in the coconut oil, stiring until melted and combined. Then serve immediately with rice or naans
and a vege side dish. I did an Aubergine Takari, but really anything could work here. An aloo ghobi
may be nice also.

A note from our Chef Ruth

I made this dish up because a student was craving some Indian butter chicken and make a good one
when I’m not in the vegan retreat environment! This recipe is adapted from that and uses tofu and
coconut oil instead of chicken and butter. I also used coconut milk instead of yoghurt although a
coconut or soy yoghurt would work well instead.
This dish went down really well with everyone, and is something I’ll be doing again. I can guarantee
this will satisfy your cravings for some good vegan Indian food. The original recipe is from Nisha
Katona – it’s her Mother Butter Chicken – but I’ve adapted it sufficiently that I feel I’m not
This does take a little advance prep as the longer you can marinade the tofu, the better. But once
done, the dish itself is pretty quick to do to bring it all together


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