Harissa Marinated Tofu Skewers for AFBHLS

Harissa Marinated Tofu

Warm and spice grilled tofu on a bed of crispy greens is the kind of meal I have been look forward to these days. I am glad to take a break from the luxurious platters and revitalize the self with the light healthy and the nutritious.

We did not quite have a love affair with tofu. To tell you the truth I never even heard of tofu before we moved here. I remember my grandma squeeze out fresh soy milk from soy beans. But my familiarity with soy milk stopped right there. The first time I bit into the little white cubes in an Asian vegetable soup in a restaurant, I was still trying to decide if I liked it or not. But I was slowly getting there. I tried it in soups and stir-fries a few times, before I decided to get it home and cook this elusive thing myself. This was many years back. Slowly I found ways to make my family fall in love with it too.

Tofu for Harissa Marinated Tofu

Sanjeeta from Lite Bite has been sweet and generous to ask me to contribute to the AFBHLS series in her blog. She is one talented woman who has really innovative recipes; delicious with a healthy twist. You would really be amazed how she uses healthy wholegrain substitutions for the traditional recipes.

Harissa as I have said before is very close to my heart. You cannot go wrong with this vibrant red paste with a bold burst of flavor. I use this left, right and in everything in the middle and still do not have enough it. It paints the food and  livens up anything you add it to.

So here it is, two ingredients from two corner of the world brought together.

Harissa Marinated Tofu

Cooking the marinated tofu on the grill adds a lovely smoky flavor (and don’t you love the grill marks!) and a subtle hint of fried garlic, which is impossible to achieve if this would be cooked in the oven. However cooking it over high heat in an stove top grill pan will have the same smoky flavor. It is a ridiculously easy recipe and takes only little effort if you have the Harissa ready.

Harissa Marinated Tofu

{I am taking this over to Lite Bite now. Head over there to read a little bit more about my life style and how I try to stay and eat healthy and for the recipe.}

Harissa Marinated Tofu Skewers


1 block of extra firm tofu, 14 oz/approx. 395 gms


For marinade:

  1. 4 tablespoon Harissa (*recipe below) (or use as much heat as you can take; Harissa is very spicy)
  2. 1 tablespoon oil + some more to brush on when cooking
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 1.5 teaspoon dried mint (optional – use if you want a subtle mint flavor)
  5. 4 teaspoon corn flour/or chickpea flour/besan
  6. salt to taste
  7. fresh cilantro (coriander)/or mint to garnish



Homemade Harissa: (makes approx. 3/4 cup)

  1. 3/4 cup dried red chilli peppers
  2. 1/4 cup garlic, cloves
  3. 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  4. 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  6. sea salt or any coarse salt to taste
  7. 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves ( or any other herb you want to use – optional)
  8. 2 tablespoons tomato puree (optional… to make it less spicy)
  9. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil





Making the Harissa:

Remove the stems from the chilli peppers if any and soak in water for 15-20 minutes, then drain. Reserve the water. (If you do not want the Harissa too spicy, you may remove the seeds of the chili peppers).

In a dry skillet lightly toast the cumin, caraway and the coriander seeds, only for a couple of minutes until just fragrant. Watch that they do not turn dark or burn. Cool the toasted seeds.

Place all ingredient in a blender or food processor and process it until smooth but not absolutely pureed. OR place all ingredients in a mortar & pound with a pestle until smooth. If it feels too dry, add a few teaspoons of the pepper soaked water, a little at a time, only as much required to make a thick paste. (try not to use any water, as it stays longer in the refrigerator if no water in used)

Store in a clean dry container topped with the rest of the olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Allow it to sit for a couple of days for the flavors to infuse and mature.

The sauce will stay in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.


To prepare the Tofu:

Wrap the tofu block in several layers of paper towels and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. You should try to have the towels as much water from the tofu as possible.

When you feel the tofu block is considerably dry, slice into thick rectangles/squares; make sure it is think enough to run the skewers through it. Wipe the tofu pieces with a paper towel again.

Whisk all ingredients for the marinade into a smooth paste, except for the oil to be brushed on while grilling/cooking the tofu.

Combine the marinade and the tofu pieces, making sure that each piece is coated well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours; overnight works well.


When you are ready to cook/grill:

If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Skewer the tofu slices into the skewer, two to three in each skewer. Lightly smear a stove top grilling skillet or a skillet with oil, and when the pan is sizzling hot, place the skewers on the pan and cook each side for about 2-3 minutes each, while brushing each side with oil. The skewers may be grilled on the outdoor grill too. Do not overcook; it will make the tofu get tough and leathery.

Serve with any hot spicy chutney or any kind of condiment you want.

If you want to make a meal with it, place the tofu inside Pita or Naan, smeared with your favorite spread, fill in with some greens and wrap it up.

Harissa Marinated Tofu

Related Posts:

The Terrific Tandoori Tofu

Braised Tofu in Spicy Sesame, Peanut Sauce

Tofu Peanut Stir Fry

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