This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It’s a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy!

This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It's a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

I’m on a mission recreate all the things that I loved when I used to eat when I ate meat, ages ago. Not that I miss meat at all, but because you guys specifically asked for it! One of the greatest realisations is that seasonings have a lot to do with why we love the foods we love, vegan food being no exception. I’ve been amazed at the things I’ve been able to recreate, such as vegan fish sticks (like what?!) that taste so much like the real thing that I haven’t felt unsatisfied. We also recently remade vegan saltfish fritters, which is a very popular Jamaican dish, and one I haven’t had in almost 5 years. It felt like a trip back to my childhood, and I promise that recipe is coming soon.

I digress, majorly. All of that is to explain that recreating butter chicken into a vegan butter chicken version was a palate heaven dream come true. All the creaminess and butteriness I got from that dish, once again a part of my life. Friends, I ate this Vegan Butter Chicken for days on end, dreamed about it (no, really), and wondered how I could incorporate it into breakfast. A la breakfast tacos maybe? It’s your kitchen, do you. Treat yo’ self. Live yo’ life. These were all the things I repeated to myself into bites of it during every dinner.

This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It's a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Here’s a question I get asked sometimes and more often nowadays, “if it’s vegan, why give it a meat name?”. Honestly, because Jessica in the Kitchen caters to everyone, which means making recipes very easy to find and relate to. If I called this “Vegan Butter Tofu” you might not even think of the Indian dish “butter chicken”, but instead tofu with butter on it, which is weird.

The point is to make it easier for someone interested in veganism, or a new vegan, or any human really, to be able to find vegan versions of their favourite dishes, and to be able to relate it to something they’ve already had. This is why you won’t see “veggie balls” or “nut balls” or “mylk” “cheez” but instead “vegan meatballs” and “burgers” and “Mac and cheese”. I’m all about making life easier for everyone, instead of making anyone feel like they need to be a part of a special club to “get it”. As an aside, I would definitely wear a T-shirt that says “cheez rulez”, because it does friends, it does. It’s ALL about love here!

This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It's a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Hence, why I named this Vegan Butter Chicken. Instead of chicken, I used tofu, and the way I prepared it, is a must in life. I called it amazing tofu because, well, that flavour! Since I couldn’t find any vegan yogurt for this, so I tried a different method. I marinated the tofu in the spices with some cornstarch, then pan-fried it on each side. That initial pan-frying give it such an amazing texture in the sauce, and it still absorbed so much flavour from it. I would definitely recommend firm tofu which holds up well here. The secret is to press that tofu hard friends. It crisps up better, and leaves more space for the tofu to absorb all of that yummy flavour.

This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It's a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Speaking of the sauce, my GOODNESS!! Spoiler alert, there’s no butter in this. But it tastes just like the butter chicken sauce you know and love. I subbed healthier ingredients that are also more wholesome, and lend for a more filling meal. I guarantee, you’ll be putting this Vegan Butter Chicken on your meal prep list friends. Eat up, and enjoy!

This Vegan Butter Chicken will blow your mind and impress your friends! It's a healthier version of the classic, and so rich and creamy! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

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These 10 Minute Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas are so perfect for a quick weeknight dinner! They come together incredibly quick and are so flavourful! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Vegan Butter Chicken (with Amazing Tofu)

Vegan Butter Chicken (with Amazing Tofu)

by:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Serves: 4-5
Category: Dinner
Calories: 240
Get Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
  • Carbohydrates: 13.2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Fat: 17.4g
  • Fiber: 2.1g
  • Protein: 7.8g
  • Sodium: 474mg
  • Sugar: 7.1g
Ingredients
Amazing Tofu
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 block firm tofu, pressed*
Vegan Butter Chicken Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 14 oz coconut milk
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • juice of one lime
Instructions
Amazing Tofu
  • Cut the pressed tofu into cubes, or tear into cube size pieces for extra texture.
  • Mix the cornstarch and the seasonings together. Add the tofu cubes into the bowl and toss to combine, until all pieces are coated. Set aside or cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  • In a pan over medium high heat, heat the oil. Once hot, Add in the tofu cubes and brown and crisp until all sides are completely browned and crisped up. Remove the tofu and set aside.
Vegan Butter Chicken Sauce and Tying it Together
  • In the same pan over medium high heat, heat the rest of the coconut oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until translucent.
  • Add in the the garam masala, ground ginger, chill powder, sea salt, ground black pepper and the curry powder. Stir together and let the seasonings cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste, stirring for about 15 seconds to incorporate everything. You can use whisk or just stir throughly to combine the tomato paste completely.
  • Bring the mixture to a slightly boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook together for about 5 minutes, allowing the mixture to thicken.
  • Add in the tofu, combined gently to cover it with the sauce.
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for another 5-10 minutes to allow the tofu to soak up some flavours and to marinate. Squeeze the lime over the mixture and stir to combine it into it. Taste and season with more salt if you'd like.
  • Remove the vegan butter chicken from the heat. Garnish with parsley and serve with basmati rice and homemade whole wheat naan.
NOTES

Here’s my favourite way to press tofu! Wrap the tofu in some paper towels, then with a kitchen towel around that. That way the kitchen towel is much easier to wash and doesn’t have pieces of tofu in it. Wrap it like a blanket around a baby. The tofu is now your food baby. Put a heavy pan on top, like a cast iron skillet. Then put two books in or on top of that. Balance it so it doesn’t fall off, and leave it to be pressed for about 30 minutes. The tofu should be smaller, and the kitchen towel should be wet with the water from the tofu. Now you can proceed and use this. This makes tofu absorb flavours so much better, and gives it an amazing texture too.

 

*Prep time includes time to press the tofu. You can definitely prep the ingredients and even start the sauce will the tofu is pressing if you want!

TO LOWER CALORIES TO 166 Calories

If you use a can of Lite Coconut Milk, you’ll lower your calories to 166 calories and fat to 10.6g. I did the above measure with a regular can of coconut milk. Note that it’ll be a little less creamy but still taste great!

Tags: coconut, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, tofu, tomato, Vegan, Vegetarian coconut, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, tofu, tomato, Vegan, Vegetarian
by Jessica

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52 comments

  1. Things2Eat says:

    This looks amazing, and not just like it is tofu tossed in to sauce! Thank you for sharing.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      LOL we’re not opposed to tofu tossed in sauce either, but you’re so right it is so much more. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. Things2Eat says:

    Not that I am opposed to tofu tossed in sauce, LOL

  3. Roz says:

    I love that you make the recipes easy to find by using the original names. It really does help. I’ve never had butter chicken but this looks sooo delicious I will have to try the vegan version.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you for your comment Roz! This feedback truly helps!

  4. I’m soooo glad I read til the end to get that tip on pressing tofu, I’ll def be trying that tomorrow. Thanks Jessica!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re glad you did too Kathryn! We hope you enjoy!!

  5. Rox Geer says:

    I am definitely going to give this one ago,

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Rox! We hope you do, and we hope you enjoy!!

  6. Maz says:

    What’s the heat rating for this? If level two or more how can we make it mild tasting? Thx

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi MAz! Not exactly sure what you mean by heat rating or level two but if you meant a spicy heat I would rate it a 1 out of 5. I hope this helps!

  7. Kathryn says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and it is so delicious. The spicing is beautiful and it is so wonderful over basmati rice. A very simple but delectable recipe. I will definitely be making this many many times. Thank you!

  8. Farah says:

    Can’t wait to make this tonight! Will post a pic of how it turned out 🙂

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We hope you enjoy Farah!! Thanks for the comment!!!

  9. I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and made it for dinner tonight. My hubby couldn’t stop making yummy noises! We didn’t have garam masala or coconut milk so I substituted almond milk and a variety of spices. Looking forward to trying the original recipe. It’s definitely a keeper.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thanks so much Annette we’re glad you and your husband enjoyed our recipe!

  10. Simon Nightingale says:

    Made this today….OUTSTANDING!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Wow thank you Simon!!! We are so happy you like it!

  11. Tina says:

    Jessica do you use canned coconut milk or carton. I assumed canned but wanted to be clear.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Tina! we definitely use canned coconut milk. I hope this helps!

  12. Shari Griffith Anderson says:

    This has got to be one of my faves! The recipe is right on the money in giving you the most authentic butter chicken flavour. Love! Love! Love! I made it day before yesterday and my husband and I ate the left overs yesterday. With the above recipe we got 4 filling meals. Instead of the basmati rice, I paired mine with a quinoa/brown rice/wild rice mix. I am big on Indian cuisine so I was very excited about trying this recipe when I saw you posted it, and I was definitely not disappointed!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Wow high praises Shari!! Thank you so much for sharing and we’re glad you enjoyed our recipe!!!!

  13. Nani says:

    Hello. I have this wonderful sauce simmering away on my stove right now! But I don’t know if the juice of 1 lime goes in the sauce or reserved for garnish. Thank you.

  14. Stephanie says:

    Hi Jess,

    Wondering what is meant by pressing the tofu? Thanks!

    Stephanie

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Stephanie Gavin here I think I can help. At the bottom of the post we have the procedure, but I’ll just leave it right here so you have easy access to it.

      Wrap the tofu in some paper towels, then with a kitchen towel around that. That way the kitchen towel is much easier to wash and doesn’t have pieces of tofu in it. Wrap it like a blanket around a baby. The tofu is now your food baby. Put a heavy pan on top, like a cast iron skillet. Then put two books in or on top of that. Balance it so it doesn’t fall off, and leave it to be pressed for about 30 minutes. The tofu should be smaller, and the kitchen towel should be wet with the water from the tofu. Now you can proceed and use this. This makes tofu absorb flavours so much better, and gives it an amazing texture too.

  15. Angie says:

    How well does the tofu reheat if there are leftovers? It looks so good that I doubt we will have any 😉, but I often have issues with tofu being rubbery when reheated. I am also considering taking this to a potluck and wondering how it will do on the low setting of the crockpot (strictly for keeping it warm, not for cooking). Thanks for any insight.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Angie! So the best way to reheat tofu is to use the stovetop this avoids the usual rubberiness caused by the microwave! In terms of bringing it to the potluck that should also be fine if you keep it at a low temperature to keep it warm. I hope this helps!

  16. Suzanne says:

    Fabulous recipe! The spices worked so well together. I had this one marked for a few months and finally got around to making it tonight. So incredibly good. I was out of tomato paste and instead used a small can of tomato sauce and also lite coconut milk. I love the tofu frying technique. I can see using that in other recipes. One question: what chili powder did you use? I only had Korean red pepper/gochugaru and that worked great, but was still curious. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Suzanne Thanks for the kind words on this recipe!! We used an Indian chilli powder! As you can taste gochujang can definitely be used as well!

  17. Bella says:

    Hi! Would almond milk be an appropriate substitute? I would love to try this recipe but am not a huge fan of a strong coconut flavour. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Bella almond milk might not give the same creaminess as coconut milk. You can try it and tell us how it goes though! I hope it helps!

  18. Cecilia says:

    How many grams is “1 block tofu”?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Cecelia 1 Block of non Silken tofu is roughly 450 grams. I hope this helps!

  19. genevieve says:

    Made this tonight and loved it– perfect recipe, thank you so much! Even my boyfriend (who is an avid fan of the original Butter Chicken) loved it.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so happy to hear that Genevieve!! You’re so welcome and thanks for your feedback!

  20. Erin says:

    I just made this for dinner and my whole family lost their minds! It’s is phenomenal!! Definitely gonna make this a regular meal! Thank you!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Erin,

      So happy to hear this yay!! You’re so welcome and thanks for your feedback!!

  21. Jessica says:

    Dear Jessica,

    I LOVE your recipes!!! They are AMAZING. Thank you so much! I tried this right away and it tastes like heaven <3

  22. Jordan says:

    Fantastic recipe! Will be trying again with seitan instead of tofu. The sauce is impeccable!

  23. Nicki says:

    I just made this curry and I have to say it is the BEST vegan curry i’v made and better than any curry iv ordered eating out! Since becoming vegan 6 years ago, I haven’t been eating much curry as I couldn’t find a recipe I really loved. So thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It is going to be a weekly dish for my family (they loved it just as much as me)

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Nicki,

      Oh my gosh – thank you SO much!! I’m so happy to hear that!! ❤️

  24. ang says:

    in the ingredients for amazing tofu, theres coconut oil, yet in the instructions, its nowhere to be found!

  25. ang says:

    omg jk to that ^^^^ lmaooo i just found it

  26. Trena says:

    Hi, would substituting seitan for tofu work here?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Trena,

      I haven’t tried it but it should! You mean pre-cooked Seitan right? If using pre-cook, just don’t let it cook as long as you would the tofu, only long enough to absorb the sauce. Hope that helps!

      • Trena says:

        Thanks for your response and advice Jessica! I tried it tonight and it came out great. I made the seitan from scratch using the Bob mills vital gluten. Worked out pretty well, will definitely make again. Loving your recipes, love supporting my Caribbean people! 🇧🇧🇯🇲

        • Jessica says:

          I’m so happy to hear Trena!!

          Oh nice!! Thanks so much for supporting <3 and yes to us supporting each other!!

  27. Rebecca says:

    Hi Jessica! Made this today and it’s a winner! I’ve never attempted to make butter chicken and was incredibly pleased how it turned out. I made the sauce in my slow cooker, omitted the oil and added a tiny nub of sweet potato that needed to be used up, as well as some greens, and then blended it up once cooked before adding the tofu. I also love your tofu tips! No wonder my tofu never gets super crisp, I’m too impatient and don’t let it press long enough. I was running around a bit today so I let the tofu press about an hour, and then also let it “marinate” in the spices about an hour while I went to yoga before sautéing. Love how much flavour is packed into this dish, adding to my recipe collection! Also love how much healthier this is than takeout – I’m on Weight Watchers and the takeout butter “chicken” I had a few weeks ago was about 21 puts, this clocks in at 6 pts per serving. I just recently discovered your blog and will be sure to checkout some more recipes, thank you 😀

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