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This vegan butter chicken has been a staple recipe in my household for years. It's so delicious that I always make it when we have friends over for dinner because everyone literally loves it.
It's also quite simple to make, in fact you just marinate the vegan chicken with yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices and then roast it in the oven briefly.
The vegan chicken is then served with a delicious sauce made of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, spices and vegan cream. The result is a super flavorful dish that will blow everyone's taste buds!
Before you jump into the kitchen to prepare this butter chicken, I recommend you read this blog post carefully. The recipe is simple but there are some important steps you need to pay attention to.
- What to use instead of chicken
- What to use instead of cream and yogurt?
- How to make vegan butter chicken sauce
- To blend or not to blend the sauce
- What to serve with vegan butter chicken
- Make ahead option
- How to store butter chicken leftovers
- More recipes you may like
- If you try this recipe...
- If you have Pinterest...
- 📖 Recipe/Rezept
You need quite a few ingredients to make this recipe, I don't want to sugar coat it. But I'm sure many will already be in your kitchen cabinets. Others you'll have to buy, but trust me when I say that the recipe is so good that I'm 100% sure you'll make it again, so it's worth it!
As for the spices, try to use high-quality ones, the more flavorful they are the more delicious your butter chicken will be. Below is the list of ingredients you'll need:
- vegan chicken (tofu or tempeh can be used as a substitute)
- coriander (optional)
- soy yogurt
- vegetable oil
- soy cream
- lemon juice
- tomato paste
- garam masala powder
- kurkuma powder
- cumin powder
- paprika powder
- coriander powder
- cinnamon sticks
- star anise
- onions (I forgot them in the photo below)
Spices are the basis of a good butter chicken. If you check a couple of recipes in the internet you'll see that every single one requires a slightly different mix of spices depending on the chef's taste.
I personally prefer to use both powdered spices like kurkuma, cumin, garam masala, paprika and coriander and "whole" spices like cinnamon stick, star anise and cloves. This way the sauce will be an explosion of flavors.
I know there are some spices that you may dislike. But remember that a spice alone doesn't taste the same when mixed with others. So, I recommend making the recipe at least once following the recipe before changing/omitting any of the them.
What to use instead of chicken
The traditional butter chicken recipe calls for chicken. In this vegan version I always use this vegan pulled chicken but if you prefer you can use tofu (better if fried), tempeh or even vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes etc. .
What to use instead of cream and yogurt?
Substituting cream and yogurt has become super easy these days.
When it comes to cream you can use any vegan soy or oat based cream, as long as it's unsweetened. If you can't find it anywhere you can use yogurt instead.
As for yogurt, try to use soy or oat yogurt that is rich in fat and is unsweetened.
To make a delicious butter chicken we start by marinating the vegan chicken. We mix the chicken with yogurt, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, kurkuma, garama masala, cumin, paprika and salt.
Then we place the marinated vegan chicken in an airtight container and let it marinate for at least 3 hours or at best overnight. We want the chicken to absorb as much flavor as possible.
Once the chicken is marinated, we preheat the oven to 250 °C (480 °F) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Then ee arrange the chicken pieces on the tray so that they do not touch each other and bake them for 10 minutes.
How to make vegan butter chicken sauce
While the vegan chicken is in the oven we can start preparing the sauce.
We start by frying the star anise, cinnamon sticks and cloves in hot oil for 2 minutes. Then we add the onions and cook them until caramelized.
Once the onions are browned we can add the tomato paste, which we will sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then we add the tomatoes, chopped ginger and garlic and the rest of the spices and cook the sauce for 15 minutes until it is creamy.
When the sauce is creamy we add the cream, mix well and the sauce is ready!
To blend or not to blend the sauce
When the sauce is ready we have two options: we can add the chicken and serve it right away or we can blend the sauce until nice and creamy and then serve it with the chicken.
The choice is up to you, in the photo above you see the sauce (still without cream) before being blended, while in the photo below you see the blended version. Both are delicious it's just the consistency that changes.
What to serve with vegan butter chicken
Personally, I like to serve it with plain rice and steamed broccoli because it is a dish rich in fat, so it is good to serve it with something light.
That said, the traditional version is served with naan which is absolutely delicious!
Make ahead option
The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare it ahead of time. Just make the vegan butter chicken as described, then allow it to cool completely.
Once cold, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
This rest will help the flavors to develop even further making the butter chicken absolutely delicious. Of course this step is optional.
How to store butter chicken leftovers
You can either store butter chicken in the fridge or freezer (depending on how long you want to store it for).
Fridge: store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it in a preheated oven at 200 °C (390 °F) for 15 minutes and serve right away.
Freezer: place butter chicken in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating it in the oven at 200 °C (390 °F) for 15 minutes.
More recipes you may like
- Vegan Calamari Rings with Cocktail Sauce
- How to Make Seitan Shredded Chicken
- How to Make Seitan Roast Beef
If you try this recipe...
Let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #carlocao or #vegaliciously on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
If you have Pinterest...
Feel free to pin the following picture and to follow me by clicking here 😌
Vegan Butter Chicken (murgh makhani)
For the marinade:
- *600 g vegan pulled chicken ((21 oz))
- 300 g plain full-fat soy or oat yogurt unsweetened ((10½ oz))
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 30 g of ginger minced ((1 oz))
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
For the curry:
- 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 star anise
- 1 large cinnamon stick or 3 small
- 5 cloves
- 2 large onions sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 garlic minced
- 20 g ginger minced ((¾ oz))
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp paprika
- 400 g tomatoes chopped ((14 oz))
- 2 tsp salt
- 200 ml vegan cream ((7 fl oz))
- 150 g soy yogurt ((5⅓ oz))
- 1 handful of Coriander
- Preheat the oven to 250 °C (480 °F).
- Place the chicken into a large bowl, add all the marinade ingredients and mix until coated.
- Place the chicken on a baking tray lined with baking paper so that the pieces do not touch one another. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
- For the sauce, heat oil to a medium-high heat. Once hot add anise, cinnamon and cloves and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Then add onions and cook until caramelized (5 minutes).
- Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in ginger, garlic and the spices and simmer briefly.
- Add tomatoes and salt and cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.
- Add in cream and yogurt and stir well (If you want to blend the sauce, remove cinnamon stick and anise and blend).
- Add in the vegan chicken and cook for 5 minutes.
- Adjust salt and pepper, garnish with coriander and serve right away.