Vegan Butter Chicken

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This vegan butter chicken is decadent and flavorful! Super easy to make and tastes just like the real deal.

Well, I’ve found my new favorite comfort food: this vegan butter chicken.

Holy moly, guys. When I set out to create this recipe I was sure it would be good, but it blew away all of my expectations. It was so rich, so decadent. I’ll confess that I’ve never had regular old butter chicken, but I can’t imagine it being better than my vegan version.

Jump to:
  • What You’ll Need
  • How to Make Vegan Butter Chicken
  • Shelf-Life & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Vegan Indian Recipes
  • Vegan Butter Chicken

What You’ll Need

  • Raw cashews. It’s really important that you use raw cashews — not roasted, which will result it a totally wrong flavor. You’ll also need to soak them in water for a few hours before you start cooking.
  • Vegetable broth. I like Better Than Bouillon in Roasted Vegetable flavor.
  • Vegan butter. Look for brands like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s.
  • Onion.
  • Seitan. You can use homemade seitan or store-bought. If you’re using store-bought, try to find diced or cubed seitan. I like WestSoy’s cubed seitan for this recipe. If you’re not a fan of seitan, you could try Butler Soy Curls or tofu (pan-fried according to this method) instead.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Spices. We’re using garam masala, cumin, and paprika.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes. Regular canned diced tomatoes will work if you can’t find these.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Fresh cilantro.
  • Basmati rice. For serving.

How to Make Vegan Butter Chicken

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way to the bottom if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe!

  • Place your soaked cashews into a blender or food processor, along with some vegetable broth.
  • Blend everything until it’s nice and smooth. Be patient — this can take a few minutes, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blending device.
  • Melt some vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it for a few minutes, until it begins to soften up.
  • Now add some cubed seitan. Just add the seitan and not the liquid it’s packed in. Sauté the seitan with the onion for a few minutes, until it begins to brown.
  • Now stir in the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook everything for about a minute, until the mixture becomes very fragrant. Be sure to stir the mixture frequently during this time to prevent burning.
  • Now stir in some broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Now stir in that cashew cream that you blended up earlier.
  • Bring the mixture back up to a simmer, and take the skillet off of the burner.
  • Season your vegan butter chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Top it with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
  • Spoon it over basmati rice. I like to scoop it up with vegan naan!

Shelf-Life & Storage

This dish will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Probably! Butler Soy Curls have a very similar texture to seitan, and they’re gluten-free. To substitute them in this recipe just soak them in vegetable broth for a few minutes, then drain chop them up roughly, and add them to the recipe just like you would seitan.

Is this dish spicy?

Yes, in that it has a lot of flavor from spices, but it’s not very hot. If you’d like a little heat, add some cayenne pepper to yours.

Is there a substitute for cashews?

Macadamia nuts or raw sunflower seeds often work, but I haven’t tested the recipe with either, so no promises. If you’re up for some experimentation, you could also play around will full-fat coconut milk to create the sauce. Check out my vegan korma recipe for some guidance.

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