Vegan butter chicken – Tofu Butter Chicken

An easy vegan butter chicken recipe made with chewy marinated tofu pieces cooked in a spiced tomato creamy sauce. The best vegan Indian curry recipe for cold days.

How to make vegan butter chicken

This vegan butter chicken is a vegan curry adaptation of the popular Indian butter chicken. Below are all the tips and tricks to make the best vegan butter chicken with chewy tender pieces of vegan protein and a creamy buttery tomato sauce.

Is butter chicken sauce vegan?

No, a classic butter chicken sauce is not vegan because it contains butter and heavy cream. Both are cow-derivative products that make the sauce not vegan.

Vegan Butter Chicken

How to make Vegan Butter Chicken?

This easy Vegan Butter Chicken recipe is made in two steps. First, you need to prepare the tofu. Then, you make the vegan butter chicken sauce.

Finally, you can assemble the dish and serve with your favorite side dishes. Let’s see each step in details with the ingredients needed to make this easy vegan curry recipe.

Tofu butter chicken

Drain the tofu

To create a chicken-like texture in your vegan curry, you need to use a firm tofu block or extra firm tofu block.

First, drain the tofu block for 30 minutes to remove excess water. Below is a picture that shows you how to press tofu to remove its water.

The simplest technique consists of wrapping the tofu block in absorbent paper and then placing the block between two wooden chopping boards.

Finally, add pressure on the top board. It can be done by stacking books or a bowl filled with tap water. Set aside 20 minutes to give time for the tofu to drain itself.

Cut the tofu

Since you want to mimic chicken texture to its best, it is recommended to cut the tofu in irregular pieces. To do so, first cut thin tofu slices and then pull apart each slice into chunks of tofu.

Marinate the tofu

The last step consists of covering the tofu pieces with a marinade that not only adds lovely Indian flavors to the tofu but also gives a nice chewy texture.

To make the marinade, you need to add all the ingredients below in a medium mixing bowl. Then, add the tofu pieces into the bowl and stir to evenly cover with marinade.

  • Olive oil
  • Cornstarch
  • Garam masala
  • Garlic powder
  • Turmeric
  • Salt

Bake the tofu

Preheat oven to 400F (200C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the marinated tofu pieces in a single layer on the tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping them halfway.

How to bake tofu ?

Vegan butter chicken sauce

The best vegan butter chicken sauce is made of a spiced curry paste cooked with coconut cream. All the ingredients you need to make this great recipe sauce are:

  • Coconut oil – you can use refined coconut oil to avoid any coconut flavor or olive oil.
  • Vegan butter
  • Onion
  • Garam masala – don’t replace with curry powder this is not the same thing.
  • Fenugreek powder – this is an optional spice but a typical Indian spice that creates all the difference in butter chicken sauce recipe so highly recommended!
  • Ground cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Ginger and garlic – I used ground ginger and fresh garlic but you can also use fresh ginger.
  • Tomato paste
  • Coconut cream – you can also use canned coconut milk to decrease the saturated fat in this recipe but the sauce won’t be as creamy and buttery. You must use canned coconut cream or coconut milk, not the long-life milk or the sauce would be too thin!

Prepare the curry paste

The sauce is super easy to make in 10 minutes. First, melt coconut oil and vegan butter over medium heat and cook the onion until soft and fragrant.

Then, add all the curry spices along with tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. In fact, frying the spices and tomato paste is the trick to creating the most fragrant Indian curry so don’t skip this part.

Finally, stir in canned the coconut cream and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

How to make vegan butter chicken sauce ?

How to spice up your dish!

A classic butter chicken recipe is mild in flavor, it means that it doesn’t include chili powder. However, if you love spicy curry follow the rules below to adjust the curry spiciness:

  • Mild curry – don’t add chili powder, follow the recipe as is.
  • Medium – add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder in the sauce.
  • Spicy – add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder in the sauce.

Vegan Butter Chicken Curry

Assemble the tofu butter chicken recipe

Now, stir in the baked tofu pieces into the vegan butter chicken sauce, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens.

How to serve vegan butter chicken curry?

You can serve this Indian curry with many different side dishes like:

  • Classic Jasmine rice or basmati rice
  • Brown rice or quinoa – for a healthy high fiber side
  • Cauliflower rice – for a low-carb vegan meal

Butter chicken sauce vegan

Tofu swaps

You can make this recipe with many different vegetables or vegan proteins. For example, you can replace the tofu pieces with the same amount of canned chickpea.

Simply marinate and cook chickpea as for tofu. Bake them in the oven to make them crispy or skip the marinade for a quick chickpea curry and add directly the drained, canned chickpeas into the sauce.

Other great tofu substitutions for this curry are :

  • Chickpea
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Steamed potatoes and peas
  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes

Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe

Have you made this vegan butter chicken recipe yet? Leave me a comment or review below to share your experience with others! Or join me on Instagram to share a picture of your creation

Your friend, Carine

Vegan butter 'chicken' style curry with tofu

An easy vegan butter chicken recipe made with chewy marinated tofu pieces cooked in a spiced tomato creamy sauce. The best vegan Indian curry recipe for cold days.
Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: vegan butter chicken, vegan curry recipe
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 317kcal
Author: Carine
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

Tofu marinade

  • 1 block Firm tofu - 14 oz, 400g
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Curry sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Vegan Butter
  • 1 medium Onion - chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - crushed
  • 1/3 cup Tomato Paste
  • 14 oz Canned Coconut cream - 1 can

Instructions

Prepare the tofu

  • Wrap the tofu block with absorbent paper and place between two chopping boards, adding a few books on top of the top board to add pressure. Set aside 30 minutes to release all the tofu moisture.

Marinate tofu

  • Cut the tofu block into thin slices (about 0.4 inches/0.1cm). Then pull apart the tofu slices to create irregular pieces of tofu - this mimics chicken texture the best! but you can also simply cube the tofu slices if preferred.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients: olive oil, cornstarch, garlic powder, masala, turmeric, and salt.
  • Add the tofu chunks into the marinade and combine with a spoon.
  • Lay the tofu pieces onto the prepared baking sheet into a single layer, make sure the tofu pieces don't touch each other or overlap.
  • Bake on the center rack for 20-30 minutes, flipping them halfway. Meanwhile, prepare the curry sauce

Curry sauce

  • Heat a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil, butter, and chopped onions. Stir and cook until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add all the spices:  ginger, garam masala, fenugreek, cumin, salt, crushed garlic, and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 30 seconds until it forms a paste.
  • Stir in canned coconut cream, stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the baked tofu pieces, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve with jasmine rice, vegan naan bread, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb version.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serve | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 448mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg

Vegan Tofu Butter Chicken

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