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Making authentic Jamaican tofu curry is simple and takes a few ingredients. This rich and hearty stew can be made any night of the week or meal-prepped for later. It’s a vegan and gluten-free take on a classic Jamaican recipe.

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Curry is an insanely popular dish in Jamaica. Jamaica has a large population of people of Indian descent who have influenced some of our local dishes. I grew up eating countless bowls of curries as we would have a dish at least once a week.

This Jamaican Tofu Curry combines the nostalgic flavours of Indian curry and Jamaican spices with hearty chunks of tofu to make a filling and satisfying stew. It’s a healthier, chicken-less version of curried chicken. It’s quick and easy to make any day of the week. You can even meal prep a huge batch for daily lunches. I’ll share all the details for making authentic Jamaican curried tofu. 

jamaican tofu curry with rice in a bowl

What makes Jamaican Curry different

Jamaican curry powder is made of commonly used spices in Indian curry powder, such as turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, black pepper and garlic; but with a higher amount of turmeric. Jamaican curry also uses fresh seasonings and local spices, popularly used in Jamaican cooking. These include, onion, scallions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and allspice (pimento). 

Cooking tip: When using a scotch bonnet pepper, be careful NOT to cut or bruise it. Scotch bonnet peppers are some of the hottest in the world. On the Scoville Heat Scale, scotch bonnet peppers measure 80,000 to 400,000 SHU. In comparison to jalapeño peppers (2500-8000 SHU) that’s extremely hot.

We often use scotch bonnet peppers in whole form then remove at the end of cooking. This allows the unique flavour from the skin of the pepper to infuse the dish without ruining it as no contact is made with the seeds.

If you are unable to find some of these seasonings or spices, try adding a teaspoon of a mild Jerk seasoning, preferably one made in Jamaica. These marinades contain a combination of these fresh seasonings and spices which can help give your curry that authentic flavour. Jerk seasonings can be spicy so I recommend sticking to a mild version and leaving out the scotch bonnet pepper in the recipe.

Jamaican curry is often made without coconut milk but still results in a rich and savoury sauce.

Where to buy Jamaican Curry Powder

There are many variations of Jamaican curry powder blends. However, I find that a good quality Jamaican brand of “Indian Curry Powder” provides the best flavour. Then I would add any additional spices if needed. A brand that I buy and use most often in Jamaica is called Bahola’s Indian Curry. It can be found in most supermarkets in Jamaica. An overseas brand that I’ve tried that is also very good is Badia Jamaican-style Curry Powder. It’s close to being authentic and can easily be found on Amazon.

What type of tofu to use for Jamaican Curry

The best kind of tofu to use for Jamaican curry is firm or extra firm. This will hold up better during cooking and helps to make the stew rich & hearty.  Also the benefit of using firmer tofu is that there’s less need to press the tofu as it contains less amounts of water. 

I’ve also tried this recipe using tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake that’s used in a similar fashion to tofu. Soy-free versions of tempeh are also available. I went into more detail about tempeh and why it’s great in my Vegan Tempeh Bacon Sandwich post.

jamaican tempeh curry with rice in a bowl
Vegan Jamaican-style Tempeh Curry

How to make Jamaican Tofu Curry

  1. Cut tofu into cubes and season with curry powder, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a pan at medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides. Be careful not to burn the curry as this could result in a bitter aftertaste.
  3. Add remaining ingredients including water and whole scotch bonnet pepper.
  4. Cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and carefully remove scotch bonnet pepper.
  6. Serve with rice.

Jamaican Tofu Curry Video

How to store Tofu Curry

Tofu curry can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I would not recommend freezing tofu as this may affect the texture.

jamaican tofu curry with rice in a bowl
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Jamaican Tofu Curry (Vegan Curried “Chicken” Recipe)

Making authentic Jamaican tofu curry is simple and takes a few ingredients. This rich and hearty stew can be made any night of the week or meal-prepped for later. It’s a vegan and gluten-free take on a classic Jamaican recipe.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Jamaican, Vegan
Keyword: easy recipe, high protein, Jamaican tofu curry, meal prep, tofu recipes
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 10 oz block of firm tofu, drained (300g)
  • 2 tbsps Quality Indian/Jamaican Curry Powder, (see notes)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large stalk of scallion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsps fresh thyme
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper, (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice, ground or crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 1 cup water, (236ml)

Instructions

  • Cut tofu into cubes and season with curry powder, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a pan at medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides. Be careful not to burn the curry as this could result in a bitter aftertaste.
  • Add remaining ingredients including water and whole scotch bonnet pepper.
  • Cover pot and reduce heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and carefully remove scotch bonnet pepper.
  • Serve with rice.

Notes

  • I recommend using a Jamaican-made brand of Indian curry powder for the best flavour. Bahola is a brand I usually buy in Jamaica. On Amazon, Badia Jamaican-style Curry Powder is the closest alternative.
  • When using a scotch bonnet pepper, be careful NOT to cut or bruise it. Scotch bonnet peppers are some of the hottest in the world. On the Scoville Heat Scale, scotch bonnet peppers measure 80,000 to 400,000 SHU. For comparison, jalapeño peppers measure 2500-8000 SHU.
  • We often use scotch bonnet peppers in whole form then remove at the end of cooking. This allows the unique flavour from the skin of the pepper to infuse the dish without ruining it as no contact is made with the seeds.
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