This recipe was originally published January 16, 2017.
What do you do when you have some coconut cream and spices staring at you? It’s cold outside and your soul is calling for a warm hug to lift it up from the cold of winter. I’ll tell you what you do; you make this vegan butter chicken with some flatbread and just call it a day.
Your soul will thank me.
Vegan Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken is a dish that is very dear to my heart. The first time I have ever stepped into an Indian restaurant was in Montreal. Indian cuisine has always intrigued me but to be honest, I did not know what to try.
The two words: Butter Chicken are kind of appealing. At the same time, you can pretty much put any word after the word butter and it would sound yummy. Butter Fingers. You see.
So what is butter chicken ? Butter Chicken is one of the most popular curries and one of the best-selling items in any Indian restaurant. It originated from Northern India and is very similar to Tikka Masala. It’s usually is built on a buttery base with the addition of cream and tomato sauce or paste.
Vegan Butter Chicken Ingredient list
- Tofu : The star of this dish if you will. You will want to use extra-firm Tofu only as it keeps its texture very well.
- Cooking oil: you can chose canola, coconut oil, olive oil or vegan butter. I prefer olive oil.
- Coconut Milk: Use full fat only. The fat in coconut milk is what gives the sauce its signature creaminess and texture. Brand suggestions: Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk.
- Tomato Paste: will make your sauce more flavourful by adding acidity to it. Plus it will give it that signature red colour that we come to expect with butter chicken.
- Coriander & Parsley: Adds a lot of freshness to dish. Trust me, with all the coconut, spices and tomatoes, fresh herbs go a long way to
- Spices: I used a mix of turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, paprika, ground cayenne and ground coriander seeds.
How to make vegan Butter Chicken
The first step is to drain your tofu and pat it dry. Next, break your tofu using your hands into little chunks. Sprinkle some salt and olive oil on it and grill your tofu in the over for just about 20 minutes at 400F.
Note: You can also sear your tofu directly on high heat using a non stick pan and some cooking oil. I prefer to use the oven as it allows me to get started on the sauce simultaneously.
How to make vegan butter chicken sauce
The first crucial step in making your sauce is to place your onion, garlic, fresh herbs, ginger and spices all in a food processor. Pulse for 3-4 times or until you get a fine texture.
This step is important as it allows you to cook your onions much faster and makes a much creamier curry sauce.
Next, heat up 1 tbsp. in a pan on medium heat. Add your onions and cook until they become translucent. After 5 minutes or so add your coconut milk and tomato paste. Season your sauce with, 1 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Stir and let simmer for 20-22 minutes. During this time, your sauce will reduce and thicken and will get darker in colour.
That’s your sauce!
Once your sauce has thickened, your tofu should be ready. Add your roasted tofu to the pan and stir for another minute or until your get to your preferred consistency.
Pro Home Cook Tips
Add one 15oz of cooked chickpeas to your curry for a boost of fibre and protein. If you are a big fan of chickpeas, this is a must. Try it out.
You can coat your tofu in corn starch before you roast it, if you like the texture. My aim with this recipe was to make the simplest vegan butter chicken. If you’re feeling particularly crispy, go for it.
Serve with some awesome homemade Vegan Naan, or Basmati Rice or Both. Go crazy.
Save yourself sometime: Cook the sauce only in big batches and store it in a mason jar. Whenever needed, you can just cook some Tofu and pour your sauce on top. It makes for a quick and easy homemade meal.
Vegan Butter Chicken
Spices for onion base
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric.
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder.
- 1 tsp of paprika See notes
Seasoning for the sauce
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika, for color
- Drain your tofu and pat it dry with a paper towel. Next, break your tofu using your hands into little chunks (1" in size). Sprinkle some salt and olive oil on it and bake it on a sheet pan at 400F for about 20 minutes.
- To a food processor add your onion, garlic, fresh herbs, ginger and spices all in a food processor. Pulse for 3-4 times or until you get a fine texture.
- Next, heat up 1 tbsp. in a pan on medium heat. Add your onion mixture and cook until they become translucent. After 5 minutes or so add your coconut milk and tomato paste. Season your sauce with, 1 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- Stir and let simmer for 20-22 minutes. During this time, your sauce will reduce and thicken and will get darker in color.
- Once your sauce has thickened, your tofu should be ready. Add your roasted tofu to the pan and stir for another minute or until your get to your preferred consistency.
- Garnish with some freshly chopped coriander and serve. Enjoy!