Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce ( Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch)

Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce ( Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch)


Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce is a weeknight dinner your whole family will love! This easy Indian tofu recipe treats pan-fried firm tofu pieces to a bath of deliciously aromatic and creamy peppery gravy.  Serve over rice or with naan or roti. Oil-free, soy-free and nut-free options included. Jump to Recipe

overhead shot of a skillet with tofu in creamy black pepper sauce

I know, tofu may not seem like the most exciting food to some of you. But hey, when you wrap it in a blanket of flavors it turns into a thing of beauty!

I mean, what’s not to love about crispy fried tofu cubes in a fragrant creamy sauce? While I do already have some pretty amazing tofu curries on the blog, this one is special in so many ways.

Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch, you guys! A lip-smacking delicious creamy vegan tofu curry that is packed with vibrant flavors and so easy to make that it could be dinner on any given weeknight.

As the name suggests this dish has a good amount of Kali Mirch ( black pepper ) which really livens up the gravy so don’t skimp on it. This one-pot dish is perfect as a warming main course on a rainy day. The signature-orange tomato gravy wraps itself silkily around your the tofu cubes and is sure to wow your tastebuds! This is a chunky sauce,  for smooth sauce, purée tomatoes in a blender and add to the skillet.

side view of a skillet with Indian Vegan Tofu Dum Kali Mirch sprinkled with fennugreek

Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce ( Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch) 

Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce ( Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch)  is a weeknight dinner your whole family will love! This easy Indian tofu recipe treats pan-fried firm tofu pieces to a bath of deliciously aromatic and creamy Indian gravy.  Serve over rice or with naan or roti. Oil-free, soy-free and nut-free options included 

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time28 mins

Total Time43 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian, Vegan

Keyword: creamy tofu curry, Indian tofu recipes, tofu in creamy sauce

Servings: 4

Calories: 186kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

  • 14 oz (396.89 g) firm or extra firm tofu pressed and cubed (see notes)
  • 2 tsp oil see note for oilfree
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (omit for less heat)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup (53.33 g) finely chopped onion
  • 1 green chili chopped (use 1/4 cup bell pepper for less heat)
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes or 3 medium, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (118.29 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (32.25 g) cashews blended with 1 cup water see note for nutfree, 1/3 cup cashews for creamier
  • 1/2 tsp salt less or more to preference
  • 1 tsp sugar or sweetener
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi – optional
  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the presses and cubed tofu and cook for 5-7 mins until golden on most edges. Or bake at 400 deg F (205 c) for 20 mins.

  • Sauce: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once hot (not smoking) add the spices and cook for a few seconds. The mix should be bubbly and you should smell the roasting spices.

  • Add garlic, ginger, onion, chili and mix in. Add a good pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 mins until the onion is translucent.

  • Add the tomato, water, salt, sugar and mix in. Cook until the tomato pieces are tender. Add cashew milk and bring to a just about a boil. Add the baked or pan fried tofu and mix in. Simmer for 8 -10 mins to thicken and for the flavors to develop. Taste and adjust salt and sweet.

  • Sprinkle in garam masala and cayenne for additional flavor. Fold in 1 tbsp kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves for flavor variation. Remove from heat. Let it sit for another few mins for flavors to meld. Garnish with cilantro and pepper flakes.The sauce thickens as it sits. Add 1/2 cup of water or non-dairy milk if needed when reheating. Serve with flatbread or rice or add to a bowl.

Notes

  • You can use the black pepper tomato gravy with tofu, or meat substitutes or vegetables like mushrooms or eggplant.
  • I love to serve Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch with a side of rice and few Indian rotis or whole wheat naan but you can also serve this with cauliflower rice to keep it low carb.
  • Omit the cayenne pepper for less heat.
  • Take care not to burn the spices as you fry them or the flavor could swing from spicy to bitter.
  • The sauce thickens as it sits. Add 1/2 cup of water or non-dairy milk if needed when reheating. Serve with flatbread or rice or add to a bowl.
  • For soy-free: Use 15 oz can cooked chickpeas, or 1.5 cups cubed chickpea tofu or  2-2.5 cups roasted veggies of choice.
  • For oil-free:  Omit the oil. Dry toast the spices and continue to cook the onion-garlic ginger with a few tbsp of broth.
  • For nut-free: use coconut milk or coconut cream or blended silken tofu.

Press and cube tofu: Open a package of tofu and drain. Cut the tofu width-wise into slices — four or six should do it. Now, lay some paper towels on a sheet pan and spread your tofu slices in a single layer on top. Put more paper towels over the tofu, then another sheet pan over them. Place heavy objects on the pan. Leave to press for at least 30 minutes.  You can leave it like this all day or overnight if you have room for it in the fridge. If you’re using extra firm tofu which doesn’t have too much moisture, you would not need to press it at all. It really depends on the brands. After pressing, uncover and cut into cubes

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Tomato Sauce ( Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch) 

Amount Per Serving

Calories 186 Calories from Fat 90

% Daily Value*

Fat 10g15%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 488mg21%

Potassium 285mg8%

Carbohydrates 14g5%

Fiber 3g13%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 12g24%

Vitamin A 176IU4%

Vitamin C 13mg16%

Calcium 168mg17%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The addition of Indian spices and homemade cashew cream seals the deal! Not a lover of tofu? No problem!  Think of the black pepper tomato sauce as a master recipe for a gravy you can use to make any kind of curry dish. Add chickpeas, lentils, veggies – tis gravy makes everything delicious! You will mop it up with your hot roti or naan until the last drop is cleaned off your plate. It’s that good.

Ingredients:

  • Tofu – use firm or extra firm tofu for the recipe. Make sure to press it. (see below) before cubing it.
  • Spices – coriander, ground cumin, freshly ground black pepper, ground mustard, ground cardamom, cayenne pepper. Flavor central!
  • Garlic, ginger, onion, and chili are the base for this dish and are sauteed along with the fried spices.
  • Diced tomatoes add that bit of acidity and lend the gravy its gorgeous color.  I used fresh tomatoes for this recipe but diced canned would do.
  • Cashew Cream is made by soaking cashew nuts in water, then blending everything in a high-speed blender. It’s really easy and you can use it to add creaminess to all your favorite sauces. You could use coconut milk if you are allergic to cashews.

overhead shot of ingredients needed for making Tofu Dum Kali Mirch

Tips & Substitutions

  • You can use the black pepper tomato gravy with tofu, as I did, or other meat substitutes or vegetables like mushrooms or eggplant.
  • I love to serve Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch with a side of rice and few Indian rotis or whole wheat naan but you can also serve this with cauliflower rice to keep it low carb.
  • Omit the cayenne pepper for less heat.
  • Take care not to burn the spices as you fry them or the flavor could swing from spicy to bitter.
  • The sauce thickens as it sits. Add 1/2 cup of water or non-dairy milk if needed when reheating.
  • For soy-free: Use 15 oz can cooked chickpeas, or 1.5 cups cubed chickpea tofu or  2-2.5 cups roasted veggies of choice.
  • For oil-free:  Omit the oil. Dry toast the spices and continue to cook the onion-garlic ginger with a few tbsp of broth.
  • For nut-free: use coconut milk or coconut cream or blended silken tofu.

 

How to make Tofu in Creamy Black Pepper Sauce:

Press the tofu:

Open a package of tofu and drain. Cut the tofu width-wise into slices — four or six should do it. Now, lay some paper towels on a sheet pan and spread your tofu slices in a single layer on top. Put more paper towels over the tofu, then another sheet pan over them.

Place heavy objects on the sheet pan ( cookbooks or cans of tomatoes or beans work). Leave to press for at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer. You can leave it like this all day or overnight if you have room for it in the fridge. If you’re in a hurry, apply some good old manual pressure to cut the time down to a speedy 15 min. After pressing, uncover and cut into cubes.

overhead shot of a skillet with oan-fried tofu cubes

Fry the tofu

Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the dried cubed tofu and cook for 5-7 mins until golden on most edges. Or bake at 400 deg F for 20 mins.

Prepare your ingredients.

Make the creamy black pepper sauce:

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil.

spices being fried in hot oil

Once the oil is hot (not smoking, just hot) add the ground spices and cook them for a few seconds. The mixture should be bubbly and fragrant.

onions, ginger and chili being stir-fried with spices and oil to make tofu in black pepper sauce

Add the garlic, ginger, onion, chili, and mix in. Add a good pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 mins until the onion is translucent.

tomatoes gravy in a black skillet

Add the tomatoes, water, salt, sugar, and mix in. Cook until the tomato chunks are tender and begin to fall apart.

tofu cubes and cashew cream being added to skillet to make creamy Indian tofu curry

Add the cashew milk and bring to a just about a boil. Add the baked or pan-fried tofu cubes and mix it in.

Dum Tofu Paneer Kali Mirch being stirred in a skillet

Simmer your tofu in creamy tomato black pepper sauce for 8 -10 mins to allow for it to thicken and for the flavors to fully develop. Taste and adjust the level of saltiness and sweetness.

Right in the end, sprinkle in the garam masala and cayenne for additional flavor. Fold in 1 tbsp kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves for flavor variation.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Let it sit for another few minutes to allow for the flavors to marry. Garnish the tofu in pepper sauce with cilantro and pepper flakes.

What tofu is best for making creamy curry dishes?

For this recipe, you can use extra-firm tofu, which is the best type to use if you want to fry up your tofu into crispy cubes before adding them to the gravy. However, I’ve made curries with soft-medium tofu which is also delicious.

Softer forms of tofu are not suited for pressing since they will quite easily fall apart. For recipes like this one, that are calling for pieces of tofu to hold their shape, always buy firm or extra-firm tofu.

More delicious tofu recipes from the blog:

MORE BAKED TOFU

 PAN FRIED TOFU

 

Leave a Reply