How to Prepare a Tofu Jalfrezi

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Tofu jalfrezi is a quick nutritious recipe that has both Indian and British influences. In most recipes tofu is cooked separately and here it is lightly fried. The jalfrezi means ‘hot-fry’ which makes this dish a stir-fry too although it’s extremely easy. The jalfrezi cooking is also a bengali tradition and has travelled around most of the world.

The tofu and vegetables are cut into strips or battens. This should be performed before frying starts. 

During frying the tofu should be fried lightly without crisping and it needs to retain its shape when it is mixed with any sauce. It should have a slightly tawny yellow colour and still be relatively soft. It also needs to be unfried because it must absorb as much of the spice flavour as possible. Serve with naan bread or a chapati. Why not try out tofu phali as they both work on related spice mixtures.

Serves 4: Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: Upto 30 minutes


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The Tofu

  • 500g tofu
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil but use ghee if it is not to be vegan. 
  • ½ tsp salt and ground black pepper

The Tofu Jalfrezi Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil – coconut oil/sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large red onion – finely chopped along with 1/2 red onion just sliced to be added later
  • 1 tbsp ginger – thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili – chopped into rough pieces or 2 pieces of whole dried chili which is crumbled.
  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce – (you know which one is best – make sure it is vegan).
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¾ turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper- sliced into battons
  • 1 tbsp green pepper – sliced into battons
  • 1 tbsp tomato sliced
  • 1tbsp non-malt vinegar
  • ½ lime – just the juice.
  • A good handful of coriander leaves – chopped.


  1. Rinse the tofu well with water. Wrap in paper towels to remove excess moisture. Allow to sit for a half-hour.
  2. Cut the tofu into battens and gently fry in oil in a skillet or frying pan with 1 tbsp of oil of choice. Try not to crisp the tofu. If using an air fryer for example than air fry for 10 minutes at 180ºC. Carefully turn the tofu round to get even cooking on both sides.
  3. Remove the tofu and place on a board. Season with pepper and salt.
  4. To prepare the sauce, heat a skillet or frying pan over a medium heat.
  5. Add the oil to this pan and heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them spit and crackle for a minute.
  6. Add chopped onion and fry on a high heat for 3 or 4 minutes until it is translucent. Stir to avoid sticking to the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and continue frying but keep stirring to stop both the garlic and ginger sticking. Another 2 minutes should do it.
  7. Add the chili and cook for another minute.
  8. Add the tomato sauce and cook on a low heat for another 2 minutes. You can add a tablespoon of water to make the sauce more liquid if needs be. Mix thoroughly.
  9. Add the spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric powder, black pepper, garam masala and salt. 
  10. Mix well and cook the spiced sauce for another 2 or 3 minutes.
  11. When the oil in the sauce starts to separate out add the thinly sliced red onion, bell peppers and sliced tomatoes. 
  12. Stir and just coat the vegetables but don’t overcook as crunchiness is important.
  13. Add the vinegar to a bare spot on the pan and then the tofu.
  14. Mix and toss off the tofu without disrupting it. Try to coat with the sauce and allow it to absorb the flavours.
  15. Add a half-squeezed juice from a lime and then the chopped coriander leaves.
  16. Add to a bowl and garnish with slices of lime.
  17. Best serve tofu jalfrezi with a chapati or naan bread.
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