Tandoori Tofu and Rice Bake

I am being pretty liberal calling this dish tandoori – I suppose the word refers to the method of cooking food in the tandoor oven as much as it does to the spices. And the spices used in tandoori dishes seem to vary a lot: it’s sort of like North Indian barbecue and everyone has their own special blend. I based my sauce on a recipe found online that sounded nice, and it did not disappoint – the sauce was so good I could have eaten it all with a spoon! I especially love how in baked dishes like this, the flavors melt together and permeate each and every grain of rice.

Most tandoori sauces seem to have red food coloring, and that’s not something I wanted to include in this recipe. I added a chopped beet to get a little bit of that red tandoori color, but my endeavor wasn’t a complete success: the result was unevenly colored, partly bright fuchsia, partly yellowish. Now that I think of it, I could have added the beets in when I was pre-cooking the rice, and the color would’ve most likely come out prettier! Another option would’ve been to add some beet juice in the sauce, so that the tofu would’ve had a pink color as well.

This recipe makes a lot of food, enough for about 4 hungry or 6 not quite as hungry eaters. I like to make a larger batch of food once I heat up the oven, so there’s leftovers for the days to come.

The Tandoori Sauce (adapted from this recipe):

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm peeled ginger
  • 3 shallots (or 1 regular onion)
  • 1 small red chili with seeds
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 dl plain soy yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cumin and turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: freshly grated nutmeg, ground cardamom, and ground clove

Also Used:

  • 500 g firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1 beet, peeled and finely cubed
  • 4 dl brown basmati rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water to cook rice in
  • 4 dl vegetable stock

Three and a half hours before we planned to have dinner we started the preparations. I blended all the tandoori sauce ingredients with our immersion blender until smooth. Heikki pressed and cubed the tofu, and I mixed it with the sauce and put it in the fridge to marinate for two hours (overnight would be even better). I rinsed the rice at this point and let it soak in fresh water for two hours as well.

An hour and a half before dinner time I set the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Then I rinsed the rice, cooked it in ample water with the bay leaf for about 20 minutes, and drained it.  While the rice was cooking, I cubed the potatoes and the beet. When everything was prepped, I just mixed it all together in a large baking dish – tofu with the tandoori sauce, pre-cooked rice, potatoes, beets, and the veggie stock. Now, I covered the dish with a lid, and baked it for one hour.


  1. Posted October 16, 2008 at 22:38 | Permalink

    Ooh, I’ve never had Tandoori anything, so this is getting bookmarked for sure! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Posted October 17, 2008 at 01:45 | Permalink

    Sounds fantastic!!!

  3. Posted October 17, 2008 at 14:48 | Permalink

    Mmm, sounds good! I’ll have to try it!

  4. Anni
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 15:31 | Permalink

    Destiny, Shelby, Nicole – thanks! I think I’ll try roasting veggies in this sauce sometime soon, it was so yummy.

  5. Posted October 17, 2008 at 15:42 | Permalink

    Can you read minds? As I type this I am sitting over a bowl of tandoori stir fry! Thank you so much for the recipe, I always use a prepared tandoori spice mix which I will happily give up for this.

  6. Anni
    Posted October 17, 2008 at 17:13 | Permalink

    Mihl – autumn is such a perfect time of year to enjoy spicy tandoori things, isn’t it? You’re most welcome!

  7. Posted October 17, 2008 at 17:45 | Permalink

    This looks wonderfuL!

  8. Posted October 17, 2008 at 17:46 | Permalink

    Anni, that looks amazing! I love tandoori spices and it looks like it’s just turned into the softest, most flavourful rice and tofu.

  9. Posted October 17, 2008 at 19:14 | Permalink

    Amazzzzzzing :D I’ve been eating some TANDOORI CRACKERS lately..mmm it’s a great spice!! :D

    And your dish looks SO autumn-y !! MMmmm… fits SOO great to fall season!!!!!!! :DD

    I’d be so HAPPY to see a comment from you on my new post :D Appreciate it!!

    Pls visit me :D


    Hope for your visit ..!! :D

    Have a nice dayy!!!
    (I’m SO curiouus !! HAVE YOU TRIED the YOSA OAT YOGHURTS ????! :D)

  10. Posted October 19, 2008 at 16:44 | Permalink

    Your tandoori sauce sounds amazing and I love Indian food SO much. I’m not much into tofu lately, but I’m sure the sauce would work with pretty much everything!

  11. SS
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 17:35 | Permalink

    The name of a “tandoori” dish does refer to the tandoor oven rather than the spices, as you said.
    However, please, it’s NOT a South Indian style at all. Tandoor ovens and tandoori dishes belong to Northern/Western India and parts of Pakistan and Central Asia.

    The tandoori marinade traditionally includes mixing the spices in yogurt, and then marinading whatever you are cooking in that. How come you didn’t use soy yogurt or similar?

    Also, why did you mix the tofu with rice and veggies and bake all together? It would have made much more sense to thread the tofu onto skewers and broil/grill under high heat (typical tandoori cooking technique), and then serve those sticks over the rice, with the veggies on the side. What you did was more “dum” (steam) style cooking than tandoori cooking.

  12. Anni
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 18:41 | Permalink

    Hi SS – thanks for correcting the regional facts, I just edited the post to be slightly more accurate! I can’t remember where I got that information while googling tandoori, my mistake!

    However, I DID use soy yoghurt in this dish (it’s right there in the ingredients list), and that’s pretty much my reason for calling it “tandoori” in the first place.

    Well, I am just a Finnish home cook posting about the food I eat – no claims for authenticity here, I hope that goes without saying!

  13. Posted October 21, 2008 at 19:14 | Permalink

    It’s great that you used beets for getting that beautiful red color. I recently threw away a jar of tandoori spices because of all the “red and yellow 30”-type ingredients on the labels. No thanks, chemicals!

    Beautiful job on this meal. It sounds delicious and looks beautiful!

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