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Tofu Vindaloo – pan-seared tofu in a tangy Kashmiri chili garlic vinegar sauce! Make this vegan spin on a restaurant-style Indian dish as an easy weeknight dinner. Glutenfree Nutfree. soyfree option

tofu vindaloo on a plate served with rice and lime slices
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Tofu Vindaloo! Forget take-out – this is a delicious spicy Vindaloo that you can make right at home. Seared, golden pan-fried tofu with crispy edges simmered in a vibrant and tangy gravy together with Indian spices! What could be better?

Instead of meat, this dish is made with tofu. The tofu is surprisingly reminiscent of paneer – a pressed Indian cheese you often see in Indian curries, and with its mild taste, it works beautifully against the flavorful vindaloo gravy. How’s that for diving in head-first?

tofu vindaloo curry in a grey skillet

Vindaloo is a Portuguese influenced Indian(Goan) dish. Vindaloo means meat marinated in wine, over the years the sauce has adapted to use vinegar. it doesn’t necessarily contain aloo(potato) . The simplest recipe uses just some meat and a chili and vinegar based marinade. The recipes and heat vary and additions like onion, tomato or potato help tone down some of the heat. We use tofu in this version but you can easily use a vegan chicken or pork substitute.

I like serving this thick sauced vindaloo with rice or naan or flatbread and something mild. A dollop of cashew cream or yogurt helps with the heat.

tofu vindaloo curry served with rice on a white plate with lime slices on the side

Why will you love this recipe!

  • Vindaloo is an amazingly flavored sauce
  • Although it uses some special chilies, they are available on Amazon or in Indian stores
  • its Glutenfree and Nutfree
  • Can be easily made without soy
  • it needs just 1 pan!

MORE INDIAN COMFORT FOOD

Tofu Vindaloo

5 from 11 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Tofu Vindaloo – pan-seared tofu in a tangy Kashmiri chili garlic vinegar sauce! Make this vegan spin on a restaurant-style Indian Vindaloo as an easy weeknight dinner. Glutenfree Nutfree, Soyfree option
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Ingredients 
 

For the vindaloo paste:

  • 2 large dried Kashmiri chilies soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, use 3 – 4 if medium size
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds or ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper corns, use 1/4 teaspoon for less heat (or use freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, Or malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

For the tofu:

  • 14 ounce firm or extra firm tofu pressed for at least 15 minutes, then cubed
  • 1.5 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch, or tapioca or arrowroot starch

For the sauce:

  • 2-3 teaspoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more as needed
  • cilantro and non dairy yogurt or cashew cream for garnish

Instructions 

  • Vindaloo paste: Drain the soaking chilies and add to blender. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until the spices are broken down and the chilies have broken down into a somewhat smooth mix. Then set aside.
  • For the tofu: Add the cubed tofu to bowl. Sprinkle in the rest of the ingredients and toss well to coat evenly.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat with 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu to the skillet and cook until most of the edges are golden.
  • Then remove the tofu from the skillet into a bowl.(Alternatively, You can bake the tofu at 400 deg F for 20 mins )
  • Add another teaspoon of oil and add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is golden. Add splashes of water if the onion is starting to crisp too quickly, to help it cook evenly, get golden and stay moist.
  • Then add in the blended vindaloo paste and bring to a good boil. Add the tofu and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat. (For crispier tofu, fold it in the last minute of simmering)
  • Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Add more water for saucier consistency if you like. Switch off heat then let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and some non-dairy yogurt or cashew cream. Serve with rice , naan or flatbread. Store refrigerated for upto 3 days.

Video

Notes

  • Kashmiri chilies substitute: If you cannot find Kashmiri chilis, you can use any moderately hot or mild dried red chilies such as guajillo or California red or a mix of guajillo and dried Indian red chilies (these are hot). Although I would suggest you get some for this recipe for the true flavor. I’ll be using them in more recipes. 
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder sub: Use a mix of sweet paprika and cayenne
  • Heat: this sauce is hot because of the black pepper and cayenne. Kashmiri chilies are mild. To adjust heat reduce the cayenne and black pepper 
  • Soy-free: Use my chickpea tofu, or vegan chicken subs such as soycurls, or some veggies such as cauliflower, zucchini, or use chickpeas. Soak soycurls in hot broth for 10 mins, then drain and use.
  • Oilfree: omit the oil from the tofu marinade. Bake the tofu for 20 mins. Sauté the onion in broth.
  • To make vegetable vindaloo: Use 2.5 cups chopped vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, sweet potato, squash, green beans, parsnip etc. Toss in the marinade ingredients under tofu. Add 1-2 tsp more chili powder. Bake at 400 deg F for 30 mins then add to the sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 306mg, Potassium: 220mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 221IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 167mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
ingredients for vindaloo curry on a marble countertop

Ingredients:

  •  firm or extra firm tofu is what works best – make sure to press it for at least 15 minutes
  • For the vindaloo paste we blend Kashmiri chilis that are soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
  • vindaloo spices include chili, cinnamon, ginger, cumin seeds, coriander seeds or ground coriander along with black peppercorn!
  • apple cider vinegar or white vinegar adds the signature tang to the gravy
  • before frying, the tofu is coated with a small amount of cornstarch and chili or paprika to create crispy edges
  • sauteed onions: the base of any Indian gravy gravy
  • cilantro and yogurt or cashew cream for garnish

Tips:

  • Servings this dish with a dollop of cashew cream or yogurt really helps with the spiciness
  • Kashmiri chilies substitute: If you cannot find Kashmiri chilis, you can use any moderately hot or mild dried red chilies such as guajillo or California red. Although I would suggest you get some for this recipe for the true flavor. I’ll be using them in more recipes. 
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder: Use a mix of sweet paprika and cayenne
  • Heat: this sauce is hot because of the black pepper and cayenne. Kashmiri chilies are mild. To adjust heat reduce the cayenne and black pepper
  • Soy-free: Use my chickoea tofu, or vegan chicken subs such as soycurls, or some veggies such as cauliflower, zucchini, or use chickpeas. Soak soycurls in hot broth for 10 mins, then drain and use
  • Oilfree: omit the oil from the tofu marinade. Bake the tofu for 20 mins. Sauté the onion in broth
tofu vindaloo in a sauteeing pan

How to make Tofu Vindaloo

ingredients for vindaloo chili paste in a small container

Vindaloo paste: Drain the soaking chilies and add to blender.

a small container with chili paste on a marble countertop

Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until the whole spices are broken down and the chilies have broken down as well. Then set aside.

cornstarch and spices on a white plate

For the tofu: Add the cubed tofu to bowl. Sprinkle in the rest of the ingredients and toss well to coat evenly.

tofu cubes on a white plate mixed with spices and cornstarch
tofu cubes with spice mix in a white plate
vindaloo spice paste in a small glass

Heat the skillet over medium heat with 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu to the skillet and cook until most of the edges are golden.

Then remove the tofu from the skillet into a bowl.(Alternatively, You can bake the tofu at 400 deg F for 20 mins )

crispy tofu cubes in a sauteeing pan
chopped red onions sauteeing in black sauteeing pan

Add another teaspoon of oil and add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until the onion is golden. Add splashes of water if the onion is starting to crisp too quickly, to help it cook evenly, get golden and still stay moist.

fried diced onions in a skillet

Then add in the blended paste and bring to a good boil. Add the tofu and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

spice paste being added to a pan with fried onions
pan-fried tofu cubes being added to chili gravy in a sauteeing pan

Taste and adjust salt and flavor. Switch off heat then let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

tofu cubes in a sauteeing pan on a marble countertop

Garnish with cilantro and some non-dairy yogurt or cashew cream. Serve with rice or flatbread.

tofu vindaloo in a sauteeing pan

What to Serve with vindaloo?

Serve this tofu vindaloo with a side of rice, Naan or flatbread(regular or glutenfree).
With a hot and flavorful main such as this, addd milder veggie sides such as okra onion stir fry, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower and potatoes, corn and greens or other spices seasonal veggie.

Storage

Store refrigerated in a closed container for upto 3 days. Freeze for upto 2 months
vegan tofu curry vindaloo served with rice and sprinkled with parsley

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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5 from 11 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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28 Comments

  1. Tracie Vincent says:

    5 stars
    I doubled this recipe cause I wanted tofu and eggplant vindaloo. The tofu and eggplant (I baked both so no oil) were so delicious I was eating them off the baking pan as I was making the sauce. 🙂 I mean, really good and crispy! I like spice and normally find your recipes perfect on the spice level, but this one was way too spicy for me – but as I was adding 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper, I thought maybe I shouldn’t do that, lol. That’s on me. I ate it that night with lots of yogurt to help with the spice, and it’s so delicious! The next night I added a can of coconut milk to lessen the heat, which made a tasty meal, though no longer Vindaloo. Leftovers a couple days later and the tofu and eggplant are still perfect texture – so baking is a great way to go here. Thank you, will be making this again with less Cayenne!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  2. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    Love this! Made this recipe for 2 and found it the perfect portion. It had great flavours and a good amount of heat (although I used fresh chilies). I added fennel seeds and cardamom and toasted the whole spices. I also added cashews to the onions which was lovely. Would second that serving it with yogurt is just the best!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      So happy to hear!

  3. Julia says:

    5 stars
    Tofu turned out perfect, although I made this way too spicy (subbed kashmiri chili powder for the actual chilis). Adding the coconut yogurt at the end helped, and we will definitely make this again!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      Glad it worked out!

  4. Christine Mash says:

    Hi
    I enjoy all your recipes, however i do not use onion and garlic in my cooking. How can i make this dish without garlic and onion. I am planning to make some thanksgiving dish and looking for recipes.

    1. Richa says:

      Use 1/8 tsp asafetida(hing) in the sauce instead of garlic. Add 1/2 tsp fenugreek leaves to the tofu instead of garlic. Use a mix of zucchini and fennel or just zucchini sliced up instead of onion.