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Close up overhead shot of a bowl of tofu paneer 65, a spicy Indian stir-fry, in a bowl on a silver plate with silver spoons
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5 from 9 votes

Vegan Tofu "Paneer" 65

Here's a garlicky, spicy, mindblowingly delicious Indian dish that'll have your tastebuds doing a happy dance: Tofu "Paneer" 65. Crispy bits of air-fried or baked tofu are dunked into an appetizing, tasty curry of yogurt and mixed spices. You can eat it for a snack or scoop it up with an Indian flatbread like naan or roti. A vegan, gluten-free recipe.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Vegan tofu paneer 65
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 227kcal



For the crispy tofu:

  • 14 oz tofu (super firm or extra firm. If using extra firm, squeeze out as much water as you can. Cut into ½-inch cubes)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (about 10-12 leaves)
  • 1-2 green serrano chili peppers (optional, leave out if sensitive to heat as we'll add paprika later)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ½ inch knob of ginger (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon vegan yogurt (can use a nut-free yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon all purpose flour (I used gluten-free flour, but regular all purpose is fine too)
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch

For the spicy sauce:

  • 1 cup vegan yogurt (can use a nut-free yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (use more or less depending on how much spice you can tolerate)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 10 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 medium red onion (cut into large cubes, petals separated)
  • 1 medium green pepper (cut into large cubes, same as onions)
  • 2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup spring onions (sliced, for garnish)


Make the tofu:

  • Place all ingredients other than the tofu, cornstarch and all purpose flour in a blender and blend into a thick paste. Add a tiny bit of water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to keep the blades moving.
  • Place the tofu cubes in a bowl. Add the marinade, salt and ground black pepper to taste, and the flours. Mix well until the marinade coats the tofu. If too dry, add a tiny bit of water.
  • Arrange the tofu in a single layer in the air fryer basket and, working in batches if necessary, air-fry it at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes, turning over once halfway through, until crispy. Don't worry if the pieces of tofu stick together, you can separate them before adding to the sauce.
  • If baking the tofu, line the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, turning over once halfway, or until crispy.
  • Set the tofu aside while you make the sauce.

Make the sauce:

  • Mix the vegan yogurt with the cornstarch, cayenne and paprika and set aside.
  • Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil carefully to the hot wok and then add in the garlic. Stir-fry the garlic quickly until it just starts to change color, then add in the onions, curry leaves and green bell peppers. Continue to stir-fry for a minute, then add the tomato ketchup and mix in. Quickly add in the yogurt with the spices and cornstarch mixed in. Cook, stirring constantly, until the yogurt bubbles. If your yogurt is too thick, you could add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.
  • Add salt to taste, then add in the prepped tofu cubes. Mix in and turn off the heat.
  • Garnish with the spring onions and serve hot or at room temperature.


Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 2mg