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The past few weeks, I have been slammed with homework. I appreciate the quiet campus in the summer, but the fast-paced classes mean I haven’t had any time to cook. It seemed like a great time to break out the crockpot. Most slow cooker recipes want you to cook your ingredients before adding them to the crockpot, but I didn’t even bother with that in this Tofu Makhani.
The Indian restaurant in my hometown serves the best Paneer Makhani. No other restaurant can even begin to compare to the greatness of this restaurant’s version. However, it’s filled with cheese and heavy cream, which doesn’t work so well for a vegan diet. So I re-worked it vegan style, subbing tofu for the paneer and coconut cream for the heavy cream. It isn’t quite like the restaurant version, but it’s a pretty close second.
While I don’t think it’s worth the effort to cook the onion in advance, I highly recommend pressing the tofu. You could leave it pressing in the fridge overnight and add it to the crockpot in the morning. This way the tofu will be nice and dense and absorb more of the flavors. You could actually mix everything else the night before as well. Add the tofu in the morning, pop the crock into the heating unit, and forget about it until dinner.
If your crockpot doesn’t have a built-in timer (mine doesn’t), get a cheap appliance timer so that you don’t overcook the tofu makhani and you’ll have a perfect meal ready to go when you get home.
It’s best when served over basmati rice. You can make the rice in advance or you can actually cook the rice in another slow cooker. You can find directions here. If you go the slow cooker route, you might want to test drive it first so that you don’t come home to rice paste. I adapted this recipe from The Slow Cooker Gourmet’s Paneer Makhani. You can check out the original version here.
This slow cooker vegan tofu makhani is easy to throw together. You'll come home to the delicious aroma of Indian spices.
- 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes with Tomato Puree
- 1/4 Cup Chopped White Onion, Frozen or Fresh
- 2 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste, or 2 tsp minced
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2-3 tsp Garam Masala
- 2-3 tsp Chili Powder
- 2-3 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 14 oz Extra Firm Tofu
- 13.5 oz Can Coconut Milk (Not light)
- Basmati Rice
- Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Press for at least 15 minutes, longer is better.
- Collect as much of the cream, or solid part, of the coconut milk as you can. It should come to approximately 1 Cup. If you're a bit short, make up the difference with liquid coconut milk.
- Stir the cream and all remaining ingredients in a 1.5 - 2 quart slow cooker. (See notes below)
- Add the tofu, then heat on high for 2-3 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- If you used any of the liquid part of the coconut milk, you may need to let it cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes so that it can thicken.
- Serve over basmati rice with a side of naan.
You can use either frozen or fresh chopped onion, but you can save time by using frozen. You don't need to let the onion thaw before throwing it in the crockpot.
You can also save time by using jarred garlic.
If you only have a larger crockpot, double or triple the recipe as needed.
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