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Indian Vegetarian Tofu Recipe

Indian Vegetarian Tofu Recipe

Spicy Tofu Rice Pilaf - Vegan Recipe, Slow Cooker Recipe

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Serves 4 - 6:
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine - The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi, Bava Books, 1987

To make this vegan Indian tofu recipe, we've substituted tofu for panir and oil for ghee. It works well as a slow cooker or crockpot recipe. We reduced the fat content and cooking time, varied the vegetables, and added cashews. The original Indian vegetarian version, with zucchini, ghee and panir, is also delicious.

We've made it with both white and brown long grain bhasmati rice, and either works well. Although the white rice is faster cooking and lighter, the brown rice adds taste, texture and substance that is truly satisfying. In our opinion, brown rice needs to be soaked for at least an hour before cooking, to be easy to chew and digestible. This dish is lovely served with a green salad.


  • 1 1/4 c long grain brown or white bhasmati rice
  • 1 Tblsp cooking oil
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tblsp Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1 or 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped or 1/2 c tomatoe puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp ea dried basil, marjoram & oregano leaf OR 1 Tblsp ea minced fresh herbs
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded, or 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 Tblsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c cashew pieces, toasted in a dry pan or with a little oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. minced cilantro or parsley


  1. If using brown bhasmati rice, soak 4 - 6 hours
  2. Drain (your plants will love the soaking water), rinse 3 times, set aside
  3. If using white bhasmati rice, rinse and drain until the water is clear
  4. Drain and cut tofu into smallish cubes or slices
  5. Marinate in Braggs or soy sauce 15 min - 1 hr
  6. Heat 1 Tblsp oil or ghee in a non stick frypan, and lightly brown tofu pieces on 2 sides and set aside (leave this until last for slow cooker or crockpot cooking)
  7. Prep veggies
  8. Sauté* veggies, (including jalapeno & fresh ginger if you're using) in oil 5- 10 minutes
  9. Add remaining spices and herbs, except cilantro, and saute another two minutes
  10. Add rinsed, drained rice, saute another 2 minutes
  11. Add salt, water & tomato puree if using
  12. Slow Cooker or Crockpot: Place all in preheated crockpot, cook on low for 1 hour, or 2 hours for brown rice. For the slow cooker, it's better to marinate the tofu ahead, then fry just before before adding to the cooked rice and veg.
  13. Stove Top: Bring to a boil, cover & simmer 30 min for brown rice, 10 - 15 min for white
  14. Remove the bay leaf and cardamom pods, which will be floating on top
  15. Gently stir in the tofu, cashews and cilantro or parsley, and cook for 5 - 10 more minutes

*'Sauté' means fry on med-high heat, stirring constantly. It's different from stir fry, which uses more heat, and is the end step in cooking. Usually after sautéing, the contents are subjected to another step, like steaming or adding to a soup or stew.


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