The secret behind the explosion of flavors in curries is a medley of dried herbs and spices. It can be intimidating seeing these long ingredients lists. And we understand that, especially in the Philippines, it can be hard to get your hands on all of them.
So this tofu tikka masala recipe only needs three spices (okay, more, if you put together your own garam masala)—all of which you can easily find at the supermarket or an Indian grocery. Still, it packs a lot of bright, punchy, spicy flavor in it, making it perfect over rice or with a couple of pieces of flatbread.
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- ½ cup white onion, minced
- ½ tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 1 cup + ¼ cup water
- salt, to taste
- 1 block firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- cilantro, for garnish
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil. Saute onion, ginger, and garlic and cook until onion turns translucent, about 3 mins.
Add garam masala, cumin, and paprika to the pot and toast until fragrant, about 3 mins.
Move the aromatics and spices to the side of the pot, then add tomato paste to the center and cook until it begins to sizzle.
Add 1 cup of water and mix everything in the pot.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Blend until no large chunks remain.
Add the mixture back to the pot and add the remaining ¼ cup of water. Season with salt to taste.
Cook sauce over high heat until thickened, about 5-8 mins, then turn the heat down to low.
Add in diced tofu and cook over low heat until fully heated through, about 8 mins. Stir often to prevent it from sticking to the pot.
Turn off the heat then add in butter. Stir vigorously until it melts into the sauce.
Add the cream, and stir until incorporated. You can also leave it unmixed.
Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.
Tomato paste has a raw, unpleasant flavor. To get rid of it, you need to roast or cook it over direct heat. Always push aromatics to the side and cook tomato paste on the pan's surface.
You can skip pureeing the sauce if you don't have a blender/food processor. Instead, just season the sauce with salt then proceed with the succeeding cooking instructions.