Homemade Chickpea Tofu: Soy-Free and Vegan

Chickpea tofu is a delicious and protein-rich option for vegan and vegetarian meals. This soy-free alternative boasts a delightful texture and readily absorbs flavors, making it a perfect ingredient for various dishes.

Chickpea tofu cut and placed on a white plate.

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Chickpea tofu, also known as Burmese tofu or Shan tofu, is a vegan and soy-free alternative to traditional tofu. Made with chickpea flour (besan flour) and water, it offers a delightful texture that’s firmer than silken tofu but softer than firm tofu. This allows it to beautifully absorb the flavors of marinades and sauces, making it a versatile ingredient for various dishes.

This recipe offers a simple method for creating chickpea tofu at home, allowing you to control the firmness and customize it to your preference. Once prepared, chickpea tofu readily absorbs the flavors of your chosen marinade or sauce, making it a versatile ingredient for various dishes. You can pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, or marinate chickpea tofu for a delicious plant-based, soy-free protein addition to your meals.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make chickpea tofu on a white surface.

Chickpea flour: The quality of the chickpea flour can impact the final texture of your tofu. Finer flours, like besan flour, tend to require slightly less water for a firmer set compared to coarser chickpea flours.

Salt and Ground Turmeric: Salt enhances the flavor of the chickpea tofu and helps it set properly. Adjust the amount of salt to your taste preference. Turmeric adds a subtle earthy flavor and a beautiful yellow color to the chickpea tofu. It’s entirely optional, but many traditional recipes include it.

See the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and quantities.

Step-by-step Instructions

Chickpea flour, water, salt, and turmeric whisked in a saucepan.

Step 1: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chickpea flour and water until well combined and smooth, ensuring there are no lumps. Add ground turmeric and salt, and give it a good mix.

Chickpea mixture after two minutes of stirring.

Step 2: Place the saucepan over medium heat and continue to whisk the mixture constantly as it heats up. Keep whisking the mixture as it heats up and starts to thicken.

Chickpea mixture after 5 minutes of stirring and thickening.

Step 3: Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent the mixture from sticking or forming lumps.

Chickpea mixture fully cooked and ready to be set.

Step 4: Cook the mixture for about 8-10 minutes or until it becomes thick. The mixture will start to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.

Chickpea tofu set in a round greased plate.

Step 5: Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it into a lightly greased shallow dish or container. Smooth out the surface of the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to create an even layer.

Well-set chickpea tofu before cutting.

Step 6: Allow the chickpea tofu to cool and set at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours or until firm to the touch. Once it has set, you can cut it into slices, cubes, or any desired shape.

Holding a cube of chickpea tofu showing texture.
Perfectly set chickpea tofu.

Expert Tips

  • Ensure the chickpea flour is mixed well with water to achieve a smooth and lump-free batter.
  • Stir continuously while cooking to prevent any lumps from forming and to achieve a consistent texture.
  • Use a heavy-bottom saucepan or non-stick skillet to prevent the batter from sticking or burning. Cook the chickpea tofu over medium heat, stirring frequently, to evenly distribute the heat and avoid overcooking.
  • To achieve a softer consistency, reduce the amount of chickpea flour or increase the water content.

Storage Tips

Store the chickpea tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Use it in your favorite recipes as a meat or tofu substitute.

Chickpea tofu can also be frozen for longer storage. Cut it into desired portions, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store it in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

How To Use Chickpea Tofu

  1. Curries and Stir-Fries: Add cubed or crumbled chickpea tofu to your favorite curries and stir-fries for a satisfying plant-based protein boost. My favorite is chickpea tofu tikka masala.
  2. Scrambled: Crumble chickpea tofu and pan-fry it with your favorite vegetables and spices for a satisfying vegan scramble.
  3. Nuggets: Cube or slice the tofu, coat it in a light batter or cornstarch and pan-fry or air-fry for crispy, golden nuggets. Enjoy them plain or with your favorite dipping sauce.
  4. Kebabs: Marinate cubed chickpea tofu in your preferred marinade, then thread it onto skewers and grill or pan-fry for flavorful, protein-packed kebabs.
  5. Salads and Grain bowls: Chickpea tofu adds a delightful protein element to salads and grain bowls. Grill and toss it with your favorite vegetables and dressing, and enjoy!
Pieces of chickpea tofu in a plate with more chickpea tofu in the background.

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A stack of homemade chickpea tofu on a small white plate.

Chickpea Tofu (Soy-Free, Vegan)

Chickpea tofu is a delicious and protein-rich option for vegan and vegetarian meals. This soy-free alternative boasts a delightful texture and readily absorbs flavors, making it a perfect ingredient for various dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Other
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 3 to 4 cups of chickpea tofu
Author: Shilpa Kerur

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chickpea flour and water until well combined and smooth, ensuring there are no lumps. Add ground turmeric and salt, and give it a good mix.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and continue to whisk the mixture constantly as it heats up.
  • Keep whisking the mixture as it heats up and starts to thicken. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent the mixture from sticking or forming lumps.
  • Cook the mixture for about 8-10 minutes or until it becomes very thick and starts to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.
  • Once the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and immediately pour it into a lightly greased shallow dish or container. Smooth out the surface of the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to create an even layer.
  • Allow the chickpea tofu to cool and set at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours or until firm to the touch.
  • Once the chickpea tofu has set, you can cut it into slices, cubes, or any desired shape.

Notes

  • Ensure the chickpea flour is well-mixed with water to achieve a smooth and lump-free batter.
  • Stir continuously while cooking to prevent any lumps from forming and to achieve a consistent texture.
  • Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan or non-stick skillet to prevent the batter from sticking or burning. Cook the chickpea tofu over medium heat, stirring frequently, to evenly distribute the heat and avoid overcooking.
  • To achieve a softer consistency, reduce the amount of chickpea flour or increase the water content.

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 813mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
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Chickpea tofu Pinterest image.

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