Vegan Butter Chicken with Tofu

The perfect veganized recipe to India’s classic Butter Chicken, made with tofu as the ‘meat’. This dish is packed with flavor and richness – it makes the perfect dish for any gathering or dinner and it’s so easy to make!!

Butter chicken is traditionally made with lots of butter and cream; not only did I veganize this recipe, but made it healthier. I’ve added no oil and used only 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Even though it tastes lighter, you still get that creamy, rich butter chicken taste. Butter chicken looks intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy to make 🙂 and trust me, you’ll have one bite (or two…) and know it’s worth the work.

Do I have to use tofu?

Not at all, tofu is just my ‘meat’ of choice, but you can use any meat substitute you prefer. Gardein’s chicken strips actually taste really good with this recipe if you’re not a tofu person.

Is there any vegan butter in this recipe?

Nope, to make sure there is no added oil in this recipe, I’ve not added any vegan butter (which is primarily made of oil). If you want to give this recipe that extra ‘buttery’ taste and aren’t worried about it being oil free, then you can always add 2 tbsp of vegan butter into the pan before adding the blended sauce.

Can I bake or air fry the tofu?

You can, but it will end up being crispy and for this recipe you don’t want the tofu to be too crispy. You want the tenderness, so when you take a bite with your roti or rice, it almost melts in your mouth with the gravy. That’s why I just pan fry it (without oil) in a nonstick pan and cook them until they’ve slightly browned.



For the marinade:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 tbsp non dairy yogurt
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • salt to taste

For the gravy:



Off On

  1. Take your tofu out of the package and remove the water. Place your tofu in a thin towel on a cutting board and cover it completely. Take a heavy object (I used the lid of my dutch oven) and place it on the covered tofu - let it sit for 35-40 minutes before cutting into your desired shape and size.
  2. In a large bowl, add your cut tofu and all the remaining marinade ingredients. Mix well and let it sit for about 20 minutes.

  3. In a nonstick pan, add the marinated tofu and pan fry until all the moisture has cooked down and the tofu is slightly browned - set aside for later.

  4. In the same pan we cooked the tofu, add the onions, salt, and ginger garlic paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes
  5. Add the tomatoes and red chili powder - saute for another 4 minutes.
  6. Add the cashews, coconut sugar, and water - cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for about 20 mins
  7. After it's cooked, transfer to a high speed blender (I used my trusty Vitamix because it makes sure the gravy is extra smooth).

  8. Transfer the blended gravy to the same pan and add the cloves, garam masala, salt, and butter chicken masala - cook for 2 mins and then add the coconut milk
  9. Add the cooked tofu and mix to combine well.
  10. Serve with rice or roti and enjoy :)

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