Ok, so the name is a bit misleading because this recipe doesn’t contain any butter, and it doesn’t contain any chicken.
Why call it vegan butter chicken then? Because it absolutely nails the spirit of the original recipe: velvety, creamy, tangy, and utterly delicious comfort food.
Perfect for any occasion, but especially when you feel like you could use a warm hug in food form. And don’t worry about trying to get the kids to eat this one – if they are anything like mine, your challenge will be to get them to stop eating it!
Fewer than 300 calories and 2.5g saturated fat per serve, yet it packs a hefty nutrition punch: 20g protein and oodles of micronutrients, including 46% Calcium, 100% Manganese, 90% vit. B1, 56% vit. C – and much more!
If you’re short on time you could skip the first two steps of this recipe: pressing the tofu, and soaking the cashews.
Pressing the tofu gets rid of excess moisture, and will allow your tofu to do a much better job soaking up the flavour of the sauce. While this step is not strictly speaking necessary, it is highly recommended. You’ll definitely taste the difference (in a good way!) if you take the time to press the tofu.
Soaking the cashews will enhance the creaminess and velvety texture of the sauce, and can be done unattended – but ensure you leave the bowl out of reach of little fingers!
Vegan Butter Chicken
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 medium brown onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger finely grated
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 400g can diced tomatoes
- 400 g firm tofu pressed and cubed
- 2 cups baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start out by pressing the tofu: slice your block of tofu into two or three slabs, then wrap in paper towels and place between two bread boards. Place a heavy pot on top, and leave to press for 15 or 20 minutes.
- While the tofu is pressing, place the cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiled water. Leave to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
- When they're done soaking, place the cashews in a blender with the soy milk, and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
- Heat a tablespoon of water in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add additional water as needed to prevent sticking.
- Add the turmeric, coriander, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon, and cook for another minute or two until fragrant. You may need to add a splash of water to prevent sticking or burning.
- Add the tomato, cashew cream, tofu, and maple syrup. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and let it simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spinach, and simmer for another few minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Season to taste, and serve over rice with a side of roti, garnished with freshly chopped coriander and a wedge of lemon.
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Gabrielle is an evidence-based vegan coach who believes that health transformation begins when you switch to a plant-based diet. Her mission is to help midlife women eat in alignment with who they are and what they value so that they can lead a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
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