Indian Inspired Tofu Rice Masala – Vegan friendly!

For most people Indian or Indian inspired foods seem impossibly out of reach with their vast blend of spices and many times “exotic” varying ingredients. This is just a shame! I, like lots of people, used to not cook many curries or masalas, but overtime I’ve learned to love them aswellas make my own! This is a vegan masala type dish with tofu and rice in it. Its easily customizeable to use what you have available or what you enjoy. I kept this dish simple using only tomatos, herbs, spices, tofu, rice, and spring onions. However, you could (and SHOULD) change this to suit your own personal desires.

I also want to say (before you read the ingredient list) YES there is a crap-ton of spices to add, I’m a total spice junky, I have 54 different spices in my kitchen on hand at ALL times. Please don’t let this massive list discourage you, you can often find premade indian masalas in your local grocery store or online. Just try to purchase one that is similar, note the lack of garam marsala in this dish, while the clove and other sweet/bitter spices would work, its just not my favorite.

*disclaimer: This is by no means traditional, but its freaking fantastic tasting!*


4 medium sized roma tomatos (or equivilant)
3 tablespoons minced spring onion (plus chopped greens for topping optionally)
4-6 ounces extra firm & pressed tofu, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 tsp finely minced garlic
2 cups precooked rice (short grain rice is best for stickyness but any will work)
pinch coarse salt or to taste

Spices: (can be adjusted to taste, add more or less or different to suit your tastes)
* 1/2 tsp dill seed
*1/4 tsp celery seed
* pinch caraway seed
* pinch cumin seed
* 1/4 tsp fennel seed
* pinch fenugreek seed
* 1/2 tablespoon untoasted sesame seed (if using toasted do NOT add to spice mix, they will burn!!!)
* heavy pinch black pepper powder
* 1/2 tsp tumeric powder
* 1/4 – 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (more for spicy, less for mild)
* 1/4 tsp poppy seed
* heavy pinch red chili flakes (Optional if you want it spicy, I did not add it this time, but I usually do!)

1 tablespoon oil – you can use sesame oil, olive oil, mustard oil, or anything else. I use half sesame seed half olive oil, but you can use what you have.

***MOST IMPORTANTLY*** A NONSTICK SKILLET!! – I CANNOT stress how important this is. If you try to pop the seeds then cook the tomatos in a stainless steel pan you will completely ruin this dish. Use a well seasoned cast-iron pan or a good name brand nonstick pan. Also remember that not all nonstick are created equal, take my word after comparing a 20 dollars cheapie to my Analon copper pan, I’d never go back.


Start out by mixing all your spices in a small container, this is important because you don’t want to be measuring them out as the others burn in the pan. This includes the tumeric powder, sesame seeds, and black pepper, (these traditionally would not be added together) the only one you want to keep seperate is the salt.

Wash and prepare your tomatos by putting the stem area off and the very bottom. You can choose to seed them, however I enjoy the softness the liquid adds to this dish. Put these into a seperate bowl, along with the garlic, and spring onion. This is an easy way to add them all at once, again helping so you don’t burn the spices.

Cut your tofu and set that aside by itself.

In a 10 inch skillet, add your oil and put your flame to medium high. Let the oil get hot. I like to put 1 fennel seed in the pan while its heating, when it starts to sizzle or you seed bubbles, you know its ready. Add your spice mix. Don’t be scared! That may sound silly, but some people get scared at how the seeds will pop, thats what you want! The powdered spices will sizzle and the whole spices will pop.

After 30-45 seconds, add your tomato mixture. Becareful when doing this as you’re adding liquids to a very hot pan. Stir well to coat all the pieces. Let this cook, stirring fairly constant for about 2-3 minutes. You’re trying to break down the tomatos and cook off some of the liquid. You could go longer if you want a really dry mixture, 5-7 minutes. Add your tofu and mix gently. You want to mix in the tofu until it turns a bright yellow. I throw a lid on and let it cook for 1 minute and turn down the flame to medium.

Add your salt after 1 minute and then add your rice. The great thing about this dish is you can use old rice from the fridge and it brings it back to life, you can also use fresh cooked rice. Just make sure you don’t add uncooked rice, unless you want to add a lot more water and cook a lot longer.

Serve hot and enjoy, optionally you can add some sliced green onion tops for a pretty garnish or a few sliced tomatos.

Serves 2 , Preparation: 5-10 minutes , Cook Time: 5-10 Minutes
(Nutritional Information shown is for 1/2 the recipe & assumes you’re using olive oil, and white rice)

Dietary Notes: This recipe contains soy, is gluten-free (to my knowledge), and vegan friendly.