If you’re craving dairy-free Indian food but just don’t know where to start, this incredible tofu butter chicken dish is the perfect meal to start cooking. This recipe is super quick and easy to make and packed full of all your favorite vegan Indian curry flavors. It features wonderfully baked Indian tofu that tastes just like butter chicken.
Even the fussiest meat-eaters are sure to love this dish!
What is butter chicken?
Butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian curry dishes you can buy in the Western world. It doesn’t pack as much heat as other Indian dishes, with a classic, mildly spiced, creamy tomato sauce packed full of flavor without melting your tongue!
Traditional butter chicken is made with – you guessed it! – chicken and dairy-cream, but as a vegan, I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my vegan butter chicken sauce to create a dish with all the delicious flavors and creaminess of standard butter chicken, but without the meat or dairy.
To substitute the meat in this vegan butter chicken, tofu is really the only way to go. This recipe uses a unique tofu preparation method to ensure the perfect amount of chewiness to substitute for chicken. Once it’s soaked in the sauce, this butter tofu recipe is almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
I absolutely love experimenting with tofu! Indian recipes, in particular, are always great as there’s plenty of sauce and flavor for the tofu to absorb. I know you’ll love this vegan butter tofu dish as much as I do!
Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe
This delicious tofu butter masala recipe is made from 100% meat-and-dairy-free ingredients to create a healthy butter chicken dish that even the most hardcore carnivores won’t be able to get enough of.
Storing & reheating leftovers
If you don’t want to eat all the vegan butter chicken at once or if you end up with leftovers (not a problem in our household as everyone always goes up for seconds!), store the Indian tofu curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Your leftovers will last for about 3-4 days before taking a turn for the worse.
Rice typically doesn’t reheat well, so I’d recommend simply storing the vegan butter chicken and cooking up some more fresh rice for your second helping.
Store this dish in a freezer-safe container, and your curry should last up to 2 months — Thaw for 12 hours in the fridge before cooking your frozen vegan butter chicken. Again, the rice doesn’t reheat well, so we also don’t recommend you freeze it.
When you’re ready to enjoy, simply reheat your vegan butter chicken in the microwave or a pan on the stove. Check the curry is warm all the way through before serving. The sauce may thicken in the cold, so you can add a little water to thin it down when reheating.
Our final notes
I absolutely love experimenting with vegan Indian food, and I think this vegan butter chicken dish might be the tastiest thing I’ve cooked in a long time! If you don’t want to mess with pressing the tofu by hand, use this tofu press to make life so much easier.
Light coconut milk is also tasty in this dish but won’t provide such a rich and creamy sauce.
If you prefer not to use fats or oil in the recipe, you can still make this delicious “butter” tofu recipe without olive oil or butter. Simply sauté the onions in water and don’t add the fats.
This dish is sure to impress at any gathering and is certainly easy enough to create a delicious and healthy midweek dinner. Even the kids love this delicious vegan butter chicken recipe, and many of my carnivore friends can’t get enough of it!
Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe To Wow The Family
2x 16oz blocks of extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
3oz of tomato paste
1 can full-fat coconut milk
4 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
Vegan naan bread
For the “chicken”
For the vegan butter chicken sauce
Preparing the tofu
Using a tofu press, squeeze any excess liquid out of your extra-firm tofu. Alternatively, use a DIY method to press the tofu between two chopping boards wrapped in paper towels and weighed down with heavy objects. Leave for about 20 mins.
Warm up your oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
After 20 mins of pressing your tofu, slice each block into 6 chunks, then use your hands to rip each slice into medium-sized pieces (this gives a much more chicken-y texture than cutting.)
Place the tofu pieces into a large Ziplock bag with olive oil, cornstarch, and salt.
Seal the bag, then shake it gently to coat the tofu in the seasoning evenly.
Pour the seasoned tofu onto the prepared baking sheet in one even layer. Bake for 25-30 mins until the tofu is crispy and golden.
Preparing the sauce
While the tofu bakes in the oven, move onto the vegan butter chicken sauce.
Melt your vegan butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
Add the onions to your pan and sauté for 3-4 mins or until soft.
Add in your ginger and garlic and allow them to cook together for about 1 min.
Tip in the garam masala, curry powder, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt, then add the tomato paste and coconut milk to the pan.
Stir together until well combined and smooth
Bring to a simmer for 5-10 mins, frequently stirring to ensure nothing sticks and everything cooks evenly.
Making the vegan chicken curry
Cook your rice as per package instructions and place your vegan naan bread in the oven to warm.
Once the tofu is nicely baked, slightly crispy, and golden in color, add it to the saucepan.
Gently stir to mix the “chicken” through the sauce.
Serve the vegan butter chicken over your cooked rice with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and warm vegan naan bread.