Spicy Tofu Rice Pilaf

Indian Tofu Rice Recipe: Vegan Version of A Popular Indian Recipe

Spicy Tofu Rice Pilaf

Spicy Tofu Rice Pilaf: recipe adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine - The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, by Yamuna Devi

To make this Indian tofu rice pilaf recipe vegan, we've substituted tofu for panir and oil for ghee.

Either white or brown long grain bhasmati rice works well in this recipe.

For more heat, use the larger amount of jalapeno, ginger and cayenne.

Total Prep & Cook Time: 1 hour 10 Min

6 Servings

Nutrition Data Per Serving, 141g: 238 cal, 35g carb, 9g fat, 350mg sodium, 3g fiber, 6g protein, low Cholesterol, good source Vit C, Vit K and Manganese. Estimated glycemic load 23


  • 1 1/4 c long grain brown or white bhasmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp 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 dried basil leaves
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  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded, or 1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced, or 1/2 - 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c cashew pieces, toasted in a dry pan or with a little oil
  • 2 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. minced cilantro or parsley


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  1. If using brown bhasmati rice, soak 4 - 6 hours, or 1 hour in boiling water
  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 Tbsp 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 sauté another two minutes
  10. Add rinsed, drained rice, sauté 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
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Recipe Tips:

Although white rice is faster cooking and lighter, the brown rice adds taste, texture and substance that is truly satisfying.

We reduced the fat content and cooking time, varied the vegetables, and added cashews. This dish is lovely served with a green salad. The original Indian vegetarian version, with zucchini, ghee and panir, is also delicious.

*'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.

Simple Basic Tofu Cooking and Easy Recipes

Recipe Comments:

I was a little apprehensive about cooking with tofu but this recipe was fantastic. I didn't have cardamon or turmeric so I can't wait to try it with all the spices. Thanks for a great recipe that is healthy - Becky C.

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