Vegan Butter Chicken (with Amazing Tofu)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

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!

A fork dipping into vegan butter chicken with rice.

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.

Top down shot of vegan butter chicken on two plates with gold forks.

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!

A fork holding up a piece of butter chicken.

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.

Vegan butter chicken on a plate with rice.

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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Vegan butter chicken on a white plate with rice.

Vegan Butter Chicken (with Amazing Tofu)

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!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian
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

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!

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.2g | Protein: 7.8g | Fat: 17.4g | Sodium: 474mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 7.1g
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




75 comments

  1. Lori says:

    5 stars
    Another easy, delicious weeknight meal. Your recipes are a savior after a long day. It’s the perfect meal on a cold winter night. I baked the tofu, used reduced fat coconut milk and served it over farro. This will definitely be in my regular rotation of winter recipes. Thank you!

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