This Vegan Matar Tofu is a plant-based spin on Matar Paneer(Pea Paneer Curry). It uses crispy pan-fried or baked tofu instead of paneer cheese which is simmered in a flavorful Indian sauce! Serve with flatbread for the ultimate Indian comfort dinner. Soyfree substitute included
This quick vegan Tofu “paneer” and pea curry is my vegan version of paneer pea curry. Matar Paneer(curried pea paneer cheese) used to be a popular weekend meal. It has its signature spices and flavors and can be made with thicker or thinner sauce.
The sauce is flavored with toasted cumin seeds, some fresh julienne ginger, dried fenugreek leaves and thickened a bit with besan or flour.
In the traditional version fresh or toasted cubes of paneer are added to the sauce. I use baked tofu instead of the paneer cheese. The tofu gets flavored with spices and nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavor. and along with the peas, it makes for an amazing vegan matar tofu paneer.
The sauce is onion tomato based and usually doesn’t include a creamy component. You can add in some non dairy cream or coconut milk per preference.
More Vegan Tofu curries:
Baked Tofu Curry (Easy Tofu Makhani)
Asparagus Curry with Spinach & Chickpea-Tofu
Matar Tofu (Tofu & Pea curry with cumin tomato sauce)
For the tofu:
- 14 oz (400 g) firm or extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 15 minutes, cubed
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the sauce:
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 green chili finely chopped, I use serrano or Indian
- 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste or minced ginger and garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder or paprika
- 2 teaspoons chickpea flour or regular flour
- 1 cup (262 g) tomato puree, About 8 oz
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup peas fresh or frozen
- 1/2 inch of ginger julienned
- 1/4 teaspoon Kasuri Methi dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 - 1.5 cups (250 ml) of water
- Reserved julliened ginger
- Press and cube the tofu if you haven’t already and add it to a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, cornstarch, salt, and paprika and toss well to coat.
- Crisp up the Tofu: In a skillet heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add the tofu and panfry until golden on most edges and crisp. 7-8 mins. You can also bake the tofu instead of frying it. Transfer the tofu to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading it evenly, and bake it at 400ºF (205C) for 20-25 minutes.
- Make the sauce; heat the oil in that same skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the cumin seeds. When they darken in color and fragrant, add the bay leaves, onion, green chili, and ginger-garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is golden. Then add in the ground spices; turmeric, coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, and chickpea flour, and mix in.
- Cook until the flour and the spices are a bit roasted(half a minute). Add in the tomato puree, salt, water, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and julienned ginger (reserve some of the julienned ginger for garnish)
- Let the tomato mixture come to a boil, and mix in the tofu and the peas. continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Add more water if needed for saucier. Take off the heat. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.
- Garnish with cilantro and the reserved julienned ginger and serve with some naan, flatbread, or rice.Store: refrigerate for upto 3 days, freeze for upto a month
- firm or extra-firm tofu works best for this recipe – make sure to press it
- we coat the tofu with a mix of nutritional yeast, cornstarch, salt and paprika before baking
- we start the sauce with a flavorful base of cumin seeds and bay leaves
- onion, chili, and ginger garlic paste are added to the oil for adding flavor
- ground spices: turmeric, ground coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala,
- chickpea flour or regular flour is added for thickening
- this is a tomato-based sauce – use tomato puree and make sure it comes unseasoned
- peas are a must-addition to this recipe because “Matar” is peas
- use chickpea tofu or cooked chickpeas for soy-free
- play around with the heat level and add more or less chili according to your personal spice tolerance
How to make Matar Tofu Curry:
Press and cube the tofu if you haven’t already and add it to a bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, cornstarch, salt, and paprika and toss well to coat.
In a skillet heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add the tofu and panfry until crispy.
You can also bake the tofu instead of frying it, Transfer the tofu to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spreading it evenly, and bake it at 400ºF (205) for 20-25 minutes.
Make the sauce; heat the oil in that same skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the cumin seeds.
When they get golden and fragrant add the bay leaves, onion, green chili, and ginger-garlic, and cook until the onion is golden.
Then add in the ground spices; turmeric, coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, and chickpea flour, and mix in.
Cook until the flour and the spices are a little bit roasted(half a minute). Add in the tomato puree, salt, water, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and julienned ginger (reserve some of the julienned ginger for garnish)
Let the tomato mixture come to a boil, and mix in the tofu and the peas. continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
Take off the heat. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.
Garnish with cilantro and the reserved julienned ginger and serve with some naan, flatbread, or rice.
Store: Refrigerate leftovers in a closed container for upto 3 days. Freeze for upto a month
This is so good! I have been making a lot of your tofu recipes and they are all so good!
Vegan Richa Support
Thank you for this recipe!! I’m going to make this tonight for dinner with some rice and naan.
Vegan Richa Support
Hi Nisha – what pan do you use please ? I am impressed it dose not brown after you add the masala powders . Thanks , Hina
I use ozeri or caraway
So delish! I sauteed the onion, ginger, garlic, chili, and then blended that mixture with the tomato to make a thicker sauce. What a winner recipe, Richa! Thank you!
Vegan Richa Support
Hubby gave it an 8 our of 10 and he doesn’t normally like Indian cooking. I would give this recipe a 7 our of 10. I like creamy sauces.
Awesome! Add some coconut cream in the end for creamier. Matar tofu isn’t a creamy sauce . But you can add some and it will work well
This is one of my new favorites! My kids and husband are fans too 🙂
Hello, can I just check what you mean by tomato purée, do you mean Passata or the purée you buy in a tube? I am in the Uk and we get tomato purée in a tube but given how much you use in this recipe I wanted to check as our purée is highly concentrated. Thank you
It would be passata. The one in the tube would be tomato paste.
I of all of your recipes that I have tried
and wonder if you can explain something that has long confused me. Why tofu with cornstarch and pan fry to make crispy If I am then going to soak it in sauce?
I try to follow the recipes, but wonder if this extra step of making the tofu crispy is useful or possibly not worth the effort.
It doesn’t get very crisp but improves the tofu texture. If you don’t have issues with the texture then skip the coating. For super crispy tofu, see my panko crusted baked tofu that I serve with sauces on the side
I really enjoy your recipes! I am learning a lot about vegan cooking! I do not like cumin. I love cilantro. You are teaching me there are ways to substitute and still have beautiful and new experiences at the table!!
Vegan Richa Support
so happy to help. thank you, Gloria!