Flip Cookbook

Girl geek foodies making healthy cooking fun and easy.


Spiced Grilled Tofu

The best thing about Indian spices is that a little bit really packs in a big punch. I find tofu, much like paneer (Indian cottage cheese), makes a great base for really showcasing spices. That’s really what this dish was for me. A way to really highlight the spices that are used on a daily basis in Indian cooking. Or as my husband says – “It’s a delivery mechanism of spices”. 🙂

Today I’d like to talk about what these “daily” indian spices are… If you ever have the opportunity to cook in an Indian’s kitchen you may come across the following:

This is a spice box. It almost always looks just like this. Small removable metal containers within one large round metal container which has a lid. No, the small metal containers within don’t have lids of their own. Why would they? Remember, in Indian cooking, all these spices are used nearly on a daily basis. Which means, they finish quick and need to be replenished often.

So what are these spices you see in the magic box? Starting with the container with the spoon and moving clockwise it’s:

  • gaaram masala
  • cumin seeds
  • mustard seeds
  • coriander powder
  • cumin powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • and turmeric powder in the middle

The two other “spices” that are not generally kept in this box, but are used just as frequently are:

  • Curry leaves
  • Asafotida

When I first started making Indian dishes at home, if I didn’t know which spices to use in a particular dish, I’d just go in a complete circle. Usually that worked out just fine since I wasn’t a terribly picky eater. 🙂

I love how despite the variety and amount of spices used in most Indian dishes, each spice really holds out on it’s own. Enough so that someone with a discerning taste, like my grandfather, could always figure out exactly which spice needed to be adjusted till you had just the right combination of perfection.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Most Indians would imagine it to be quite basic.. however it really is quite delicious.


This recipe is shared at the following virtual recipe potlucks: Wellness Weekends

Spicy Grilled Tofu

Makes: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes


  • 7 oz Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 2 – 4 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon gaaram masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • salt to taste


1. Remove and drain the tofu. Wrap in a paper towel to remove the excess liquid.

2. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slice.

3. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the tofu on the pan. Sprinkle the top of the tofu with salt.

While one side of the tofu grills, heat the remainder olive oil in a small pan. Check if the oil is completely heated by dropping a couple of cumin seeds into the oil. If they sizzle, add the cumin and mustard seeds and the curry leaves. Allow them to fry for about 15 – 30 seconds.

Once the seeds stop popping, add the cayenne powder, gaaram masala, cumin powder and coriander powder. Allow this mixture to fry for about 30 seconds.

Flip the tofu over once it has dark brown grill marks.

Pour the spice mixture onto each slice of tofu. Sprinkle salt on this side of the tofu as well. Allow the other side to cook till it also has dark brown grill marks. Eat hot!

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