Prior to cutting dairy out of my diet, one of my favorite Indian cuisine staples aside from chicken tikka masala and eggplant bharta was tandoori chicken. There was something about the smoky aroma, the crispy edges of the blackened meat, the spicy flavor, the savory qualities, and the appearance of the tandoori that never failed to prompt immediate salivation. And one of the best parts about finishing the tandoori chicken pieces were demolishing the caramelized onions coated in oil afterwards—a mandatory finisher even if you’re stuffed to the brim.
Unfortunately, I never could find any vegan options for tandoori dishes at most Indian restaurants, unless if the places are completely plant-based. Sure, I’ve had sizzling vegetables once or twice, but none of the spicy, aromatic, and warming magic that came with the tandoori chicken was present. Until recently, I could never experience the same incredible sensations of tandoori chicken in ages. Thanks to a jar of curry paste, an oven, a trip to Trader Joe’s, and a little faith and uncertainty, my tandoori palette was rejuvenated instantly!
My fellow vegan buddies and I had the most amazing low-key craft, cooking, and glitter party the evening before I departed home to Los Angeles. My neighbor and I hosted the first portion of the event by inviting everyone and preparing the food. I took this as an opportunity to eliminate all the leftovers and unused produce in my fridge. Thing is, I never had a truly good experience with cooking tempeh. For the most part, I ate it straight out of the package (not a good idea) or made in a restaurant, but I knew that my friends deserved something much more special than uncooked tempeh slices into little cubes. Would you serve plain tempeh to the Queen of England? Exactly.
After a few minutes in the pantry, I pulled out a jar of tandoori-style curry paste to make the tempeh more palatable, since I know that tempeh is a hit or a miss for many. However, for this event, the tempeh was an absolute winner! Within a few minutes, every piece was eaten and everyone was entranced, asking who and how. I’ve never felt more like a superstar.
You bet that this recipe is astoundingly easy and relatively quick to make. But you should certainly believe that you will be seeing this recipe on my Instagram time and time again! It’s just so delicious! Heck, it only requires two ingredients and tastes like there’s five. Okay, Food Network. I’m ready for my own show.
- I package of Trader Joe’s organic Three-Grain tempeh (approximately 8 ounces)
- 2 TBSP tandoori curry paste
- Optional: lemon juice: seasonings, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Cut the tempeh into small bite-sized cubes.
- Place the tempeh in a mixing bowl and stir in the curry paste thoroughly.
- Line a tray with parchment paper, aluminum foil or nonstick spray.
- Add the tempeh pieces onto the tray.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes on one side, and flip every piece and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
How blackened do you like your onions? What’s your favorite crowd-pleasing dish?