May I present the Butter Chicken Curry (VEGAN). This vegan butter chicken curry is a delicious and flavourful Indian curry dish. It is made with a blend of spices, tomatoes, and coconut milk. Butter chicken is a creamy, rich and savoury dish that is hearty and comforting. Serve it with basmati rice, naan, roti, or chapati for a complete meal.
This vegan version of the classic butter chicken curry is sure to be a favourite in your home. Enjoy! This Vegan Butter Chicken is CRAZY, BONKERS DELICIOUS! Yes, you read the title correctly and no, this is not a drill.
I’ve been experimenting with my Vegan Butter Chicken recipe for a VERY long time. After dozens of iterations, I’m finally ready and so excited to share it with you.
Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a beloved Indian dish that has captured the hearts of foodies worldwide. It’s a dish that’s rich, creamy, and filled with spices. If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the lookout for amazing food experiences.
In this post, I’ll take you on a journey through the delicious world of vegan butter chicken. Not only will you learn all about the original butter chicken, but you’ll also see why it’s a must-try.
The secret to Butter Chicken Curry (VEGAN)
There are multiple components to get right here; the seitan chicken needs to be firm, pullable and flavoursome without being overpowering. The colour should to be light inside, not brown.
Next, the sauce. Perfect Butter Chicken sauce is the holy grail of modern North Indian cooking and everyone has their own way of doing it. It’s one of the most popular restaurant dishes around the world because of its subtlety and simplicity. It’s not always easy to find that balance.
What is Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish that’s typically made with yoghurt-marinated boneless chicken. To veganise this recipe, we’ll be using an incredible chicken-style seitan (a wheat gluten protein) marinated in a handful of spices.
The seitan is then cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with lots of vegan butter, hence the name. The dish originated in Delhi’s famous restaurant, Moti Mahal in the 1950s, and it quickly became a favourite amongst the locals. Butter Chicken is typically served with naan or basmati rice.
What does Vegan Butter Chicken taste like?
The vegan seitan chicken is tender and moist, and the sauce is so flavourful that it’s hard to believe that it’s vegan. The sauce is also perfect for soaking up with the naan or basmati rice.
The combination of the vegan butter, tomatoes and coconut milk creates a unique flavour that is both creamy and savoury. Vegan Butter Chicken is a great choice for anyone looking for a delicious vegan meal that is sure to satisfy.
You’ll be tempted to take a spoon to this sauce. Butter chicken is a dish that’s perfect for the slow cooker too!
Why is Butter Chicken So Delicious?
Butter chicken is a feast for the senses. The aroma of the spices and the creamy tomato sauce will have your mouth watering before you even take a bite. When you do finally take a bite, you’ll be met with a perfect balance of spiciness and creaminess.
The Spice Factor
One of the reasons that butter chicken is so popular is because of the spices. The dish features a blend of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and chilli powder. These spices create a flavour explosion in your mouth, which is why it’s such a crowd-pleaser.
How to make Butter Chicken extra creamy
I’ve switched the butter in my Vegan Butter Chicken with almond butter which lends a rich, creamy texture to the fresh tomato sauce. Having said this, you could also use cashew butter if you prefer that. A touch of coconut milk mellows out the spices and finishes the dish perfectly. I’d highly recommend using a high-powered blender, such a NutriBullet to blend the sauce.
Sieve the Butter Chicken gravy!
For the silkiest gravy possible and a true restaurant-style Butter Chicken finish, pass the sauce through a sieve or food mill to strain away unwanted tomato seeds and skin, as well as any coarse spices. You don’t want rogue spices ruining your heavenly Vegan Butter Chicken experience.
Stockpiling vegan chicken pieces 101
If like me, you need a Vegan Butter Chicken experience once a week, you can always double up on quantities and stow it away in the freezer to assemble later. For example, I keep seitan pieces in a ziplock-type (for example) bag in the freezer. You can keep it frozen for up to 3 months.
Indeed, you can also freeze sauce portions. The sauce can also be used for other curries, such as butter tofu or mixed veggies. The protein-packed seitan pieces are great in stir fries, salads, pasta, wraps and more.
How to Make Butter Chicken
Now that we’ve discussed what this vegan butter chicken is all about and why it’s so delicious, let’s talk about how to make it. You’ll need spices, tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegan butter, as well as the ingredients for the seitan. Some recipes include using a tandoor to cook the protein element of the dish, while others recommend grilling it.
Kudos goes to the brilliant Skye Michael Conroy and The Seitan Appreciation Society on Facebook who are generous enough to share their wonderful passion, tips and recipes. The addition of beans to this seitan recipe was inspired by the Avocados and Ales Chickwheat recipe. Thank you.
Shall we get on with the curry then?
How to make Butter Chicken Curry (VEGAN) | Vegan Butter Chicken recipe
For the seitan chick'n marination
- 1 kg seitan chicken, cubed recipe below
- 2 tbsp any flavourless oil such as sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp chilli powder Kashmiri chilli is best
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 large cloves garlic crushed
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
For the butter chick'n curry
- 2 tbsp your favourite vegan butter
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic chopped
- 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/4 tsp kalonji seeds nigella seeds
- 2 hot red chillies chopped
- 1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
- 400 g fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cardamom seeds from 4-5 green cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp smooth almond butter
- 200 ml coconut milk (or vegan cream) plus more for drizzling on top
- 2 tsp kasoori methi, rubbed between your palms until fine plus more for garnishing
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
To marinate the seitan pieces
- Combine the ingredients for the seitan marinade until smooth. Add the seitan chicken pieces and gently mix until coated. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and carefully add the seitan chicken pieces. Cook until golden on all sides. You might need to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Place the pieces onto a plate and set aside whilst you make the sauce.
For the butter chicken curry
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the nigella seeds and chopped onion. Sauté until translucent. Next, add in the ginger, garlic, chillies and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in the fresh tomatoes, ground coriander seeds, garam masala, ground cardamom seeds, almond butter, coconut milk, kasoori methi and brown sugar. Give everything a thorough stir and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender and blend until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve, back into the same pan. Season with salt to taste. Switch the heat back on and add the golden seitan chicken pieces. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on. Garnish with fresh coriander, more kasoori methi and a splash of coconut milk, if desired.
- Keep refrigerated and eat within 48 hours.
- Leftovers can be frozen the day the curry is made. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and ensure the curry is piping hot before serving.
How to make seitan chicken-style pieces for Vegan Butter Chicken | Murgh Makhani
- Pressure cooker
- High-powered blender
- 300 g extra-firm tofu
- 400 g tin any white beans inc. liquid from tin such as haricot
- 150 g vital wheat gluten
- 150 ml cold water
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp white miso paste or MSG optional
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or 1 vegan chicken-style stock cube (such as Massel)
- 3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
- In a high-powered blender, combine the tofu, haricot beans in their liquid, miso paste (or msg), salt, nutritional yeast, oil and water until you have a smooth paste.
- Add the vital wheat gluten to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the tofu mixture and mix on a low speed until the two come together in the form of a dough.
- Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on a medium/high speed for 10-12 minutes. Stay close by as the mixer may shuffle across the counter top as the dough is tough to work. You’ll also need to be very careful your mixer’s motor doesn’t burn out. This kneading of the dough is crucial in developing the gluten and proteins in the seitan and shouldn’t be skipped. The longer and harder you work it, the more fibrous and chicken-like the final product will be.
- Once your seitan has been kneaded long and hard, remove it from the mixer and cut it in half. Wrap each “loaf” very tightly in 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil. You want it to be nice and compact inside to stop it expanding inside as this will promote sponginess rather than the shreddable texture we’re after. The multiple layers of foil will also stop water getting inside.
- Next, fill a pressure cooker with plenty of water (about 3/4 of the way full) and bring to a boil. Carefully drop your seitan into the cooker and put the lid on. Cook on a medium/high heat for 40 minutes. Once the time is up, switch off the heat and leave it to cool completely.
- Once cool, remove the seitan parcels from the cooker and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours.
- Unwrap and check out that amazing texture when you pull it apart. Your seitan is now ready to use in your favourite vegan chicken recipe.
- I wouldn’t recommend making this recipe by hand as your arms might threaten to fall off. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger would struggle, seriously. Having said this, you can create seitan kneading by hand – it will not however, have a shreddable, “pulled” quality and you’ll finish up with a spongy end product instead. It’ll still taste good but probably won’t fool your meat-eating friends.
- If freezing the seitan chick’n, keep it in an airtight container and use within 3 months.
Variations of Butter Chicken Curry (VEGAN)
There are several variations of butter chicken that you can try. Some recipes call for using paneer instead of chicken, which makes it an easy vegetarian option. You can also add different vegetables to the sauce to make it even more delicious. Peppers, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms and potatoes are all great options.
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