Indian tofu kadai recipe

Indian Tofu Kadai Recipe

Updated: May 17, 2023, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

This Indian Tofu Kadai is easy and spectacular! Make this restaurant quality dish with little effort & pantry staples. Pan-fried crisp tofu & veggies are tossed in a spicy and flavorsome masala for a mouthwatering dish. Serve it over plain steamed rice, fried rice, Quinoa Fried Rice or any flavored rice. It also goes well with noodles, Chapati, Naan or Parathas.

Indian tofu kadai

About Tofu Kadai

Tofu Kadai looks much similar to this restaurant Tofu Tikka Masala but differs in many aspects. This Tofu stir fry actually is a cross between a kadai and jalfrezi, both Indian dishes popular on the restaurant menus. Kadai Paneer and Vegetable Jalfrezi are two such vegetarian foods made with Indian cheese and mixed vegetables.

Here in this recipe, we use extra firm tofu along with spices, herbs, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers (or your favorite veggie) and soya sauce.

The use of curry leaves and soya sauce makes this a fusion dish and enhances the flavors but can be left out if you do not prefer.

We first make a spicy and tangy masala with tomatoes and spices. Tofu is pan-fried until crisp and then added to the masala/sauce. Onions and bell peppers add volume and flavors to the dish. Both these can be replaced with carrots, mushrooms or broccoli.

This Indian style tofu is really quick and is ready under 30 mins. Most of this time goes in preparing the ingredients & cooking just takes about 10 mins.

Indian tofu stir fry

I first shared this recipe in 2013 March and have upgraded this slightly for a saucier dish. The spice levels are moderate & have included soya sauce in the newer recipe. Feel free to leave out that but it does make a huge difference to both – tofu and the masala/sauce.

What kind of Tofu to use?

For this recipe you will use extra firm tofu or frozen tofu. I prefer to use frozen for the best texture and flavor. Frozen tofu is just the regular extra firm tofu that is frozen.
Freezing changes its texture and makes it sponge-like with larger holes. These holes in the frozen tofu help absorb the masala and flavors better.

You can always buy the frozen ones from the Asian stores/ supermarket or buy the fresh extra firm tofu and freeze it. I usually drain and rinse the fresh tofu before freezing it.

For this recipe we use 7 to 8 ounces (200 to 250 grams) extra firm tofu. If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator and press down in between your palms to squeeze out the excess water. Wrap in a few kitchen tissues to get rid of any more moisture. Cube them to 1 by 1 inch cubes of ½ to ¾ inch thickness.

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How to make Indian Tofu Kadai (Stepwise Photos)


1. Prepare the following:

  • 1½ cup fresh tomatoes pureed or chopped (3 medium, 350 g)
  • ¾ cup onion (diced, layers separated, 1 medium)
  • 1 cup bell peppers (¾ inch diced or mushrooms/ carrot/ broccoli)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger or ginger garlic paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (pat dry, leave out if you don’t have)
vegetable for Indian tofu kadai

2. You will need the following spices:

  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons garam masala or kadai masala (divided, adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (optional, dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce (or tamari, optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance the flavors)
spices for tofu kadai

Make the Masala

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or a pan on a low to medium flame. Add the curry leaves and ginger. Stir fry until aromatic for a minute, without burning.

curry leaves and ginger in hot oil

4. Stir in red chili powder and half of the garam masala. Make sure your pan is not too hot at this stage.

spices in oil

5. Add the tomatoes and mix well.

adding tomatoes to the pan

6. Raise the heat to medium and cook partially covered until soft, thick and oil begins to separate. If your chopped tomatoes lack enough moisture you may splash little water as it cooks.

cook covered

Pan-fry Tofu & veggies

7. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron pan. Place the tofu in the pan and let fry on a medium heat until crisp and golden.

pan fry tofu

8. Turn them to the other side and fry here as well. Transfer to a plate.

pan fried tofu

9. To the same pan, add 2 teaspoons oil and add the onions and bell peppers. Saute on a medium high heat until partially cooked yet crunchy, for 3 mins.

stir fried veggies

10. When you see the tomatoes break down and the masala turns thick, transfer the tofu.

pan fried tofu in Indian masala

11. Also add in the pan-fried veggies, salt, sugar, kasuri methi and 1 tablespoon soya sauce. Mix well and taste test. Add the rest of the garam masala only if you think it requires. I use ½ tsp more at this stage. If you think your tomato masala is too thick at this stage, you may splash a bit of hot water.

add the herbs and spices

12. Mix well and cover. Simmer for 3 mins & turn off. Rest for a minimum of another 10 mins for the tofu to soak up the flavors.

Indian tofu kadai getting ready

Serve Indian tofu kadai over steamed rice, flavored rice or with roti, chapati, paratha.

Indian tofu recipe - Tofu kadai jalfrezi

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Recipe Card

Indian tofu stir fry - kadai

Indian Tofu Kadai Recipe

5 from 72 votes
This Indian tofu kadai is simply the best you can make under 30 mins. Crisp pan-fried tofu is tossed in a slightly spicy and tangy flavorsome sauce/masala. Serve this over rice or with noodles, fried rice, chapati, roti or paratha.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 200 to 250 grams (7 to 8 ounces) extra firm tofu (cubed)
  • 1½ cup (350 g) tomatoes pureed or chopped
  • ¾ cup (1 medium) onion (diced, layers separated)
  • 1 cup bell peppers (¾ inch diced or mushrooms/ broccoli/carrots)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger chopped or ginger garlic paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (leave out if you don't have)
  • 2 tablespoon oil or butter (divided)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons garam masala (divided, adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kasuri methi (optional, dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or jaggery, optional, to balance the flavors)


  • Optional – Thaw the frozen tofu in the refrigerator before cooking.
  • Press down tofu gently in between your palms to remove excess liquid/water.
  • Wrap in a few kitchen cloth/ tissues to get rid of more moisture. Chop to 1 by 1 inch cubes of ½ to ¾ inch thickness.
  • Pour half of the oil to a wok or a pan and heat it on a low flame. Add the curry leaves and ginger. Stir fry until aromatic without burning.
  • Stir in red chili powder and half of the garam masala. Add the tomatoes and let cook partially covered until soft, thick and oil begins to separate.
  • While the tomatoes cook, heat 1 tsp in a non-stick or cast iron pan. Place the tofu and fry them until golden and crisp. Turn them to the other side with a spoon or spatula & fry until crisp. Transfer this aside to a plate.
  • Add the rest of the oil and add onions and bell peppers. Stir fry on a high heat until aromatic and slightly soft, for 3 mins.
  • When the tomato masala turns slightly thick, add the tofu, onions, bell peppers, soya sauce (optional), sugar, salt & kasuri methi (optional). Mix and taste test. Add more salt & rest of the garam masala only if needed.
  • Mix well. If it is too thick & dry, pour ¼ cup hot water. Stir well and let cook covered for 3 mins. Taste test and adjust salt. If you want squeeze some lemon juice while serving.
  • Serve tofu stir fry with rice or chapatti/roti & a vegetable salad. Alternately stir in some cooked noodles or pasta for a complete meal.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.


Watch Indian Tofu Kadai Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Indian Tofu Kadai Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 181 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.04g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 1189mg52%
Potassium 551mg16%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 2777IU56%
Vitamin C 96mg116%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

This Indian Tofu Recipe was first published in 2013 March. Updated & Republished in May 2023.

Indian Tofu Kadai Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
This is the best and delicious recipe for Indian tofu. So fast and easy to make.. I used tomato paste to save on the prep time and subbed bell peppers with mushrooms. Served it over spaghetti and it was a delicious meal. Thank you. Bookmarking this to make it again.

5 stars
Good recipes Vegan food
Tofu is best natural protein food
This is good for health more and more developing tofu recipes
Very good recipes ?

5 stars
Fantastic recipe. Boiled tofu in water for a few minutes, pressed it down to drain before adding to the sauce. Very good!!

5 stars
The flavors in this tofu kadai are insane!! Replaced the bell peppers with mushrooms and it came out so good. Loved it for a fast dinner!

5 stars
I love this tofu recipe, and have had it on repeat for several months. It’s so easy and tastes delicious over noodles & spaghetti.

5 stars
Thank you for this amazing and easy recipe!
We love it!

PS. I added carrots and cooked with the tomato sauce.

5 stars
OMG this tofu recipe was so easy to make and honestly tastes like restaurant food.

5 stars
Amazing recipes swasthi n v helpful.

5 stars
Simple , light and Easy

What the measurements for salt and tumeric? Are the curry leaves chopped into the mix or tossed before serving?

5 stars
So happy to have come across this. I wanted to add tofu into my regular diet but am not a big fan of its flavour so find it difficult to eat it as a salad. But now I can use my regular spices to turn tofu into a quick and tasty dry dish that can be eaten as a salad or with a chapathi. It turned out really flavourful! I adapted it slightly by adding a bit of dry basil, using only yellow & red peppers and skipping cumin. Thanks!!

Simple and delicious. Loved it.

5 stars
Wonderfully delicious. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was so good!

5 stars
Best tofu recipe.

love this masala swasthi.. your clicks are so neat and inviting..

I always follow your recipes

Thank you for your posting

A great healthy dish ! Nice pic too!

Yummy n healthy …looks colorful

simple and delicious curry.

Hi Swasthi, your tofu masala look very inviting and yummylicious. Love the combination and the spices that your used. Thanks for sharing your recipe.Have a nice weekend.

wow!! this is amazing…

Deliciously prepared tofu.. Looks inviting!