Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe | Indian Recipes | PBS Food

Vegan Butter Chicken

Vegan Butter Chicken recipe

Butter Chicken is an Indian classic, and this vegan twist is similar to tomato and cauliflower curry. (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of the Fresh Tastes blog)


Yield: 4 servings

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  • 1.2 ounces (35 grams) garlic
  • 1.2 ounces (35 grams) ginger
  • 26 ounces (745 grams, or about 1 head) cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 28 ounces (2 small cans) whole stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 1 pod black cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 fresh chili peppers (optional)
  • 2.3 ounces (65 grams, or about 1/2 cup) raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).
  2. Peel and grate the ginger and garlic together.
  3. Wash the cauliflower and separate the florets into 2-inch chunks.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garam masala and 1/2 of the garlic ginger mixture. Pour this over the cauliflower and toss well to coat evenly.
  5. Spread the cauliflower out onto a baking sheet and then roast in the oven until tender and golden brown (about 20-25 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, put the canned tomatoes in a blender and puree.
  7. In a heavy bottomed pot, add the coconut oil, green and black cardamom, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, cloves and chili peppers. Fry the spices until fragrant (1-2 minutes).
  8. Add the remaining garlic and ginger mixture to the pot and fry until the garlic starts to brown and the mixture is very fragrant (2-3 minutes).
  9. Add the pureed tomatoes and simmer over low heat until the tomatoes are thick and paste like (about 45 minutes). Once the mixture starts sputtering, you'll want to stir it constantly to speed up evaporation and to control the sputtering.
  10. In the blender, puree the cashew nuts and nutritional yeast with 2 1/4 cups of water until smooth. When the tomatoes are done caramelizing, add the mixture to the pot and stir to combine.
  11. Add the roasted cauliflower, fenugreek leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala to the pot. Season with salt to to taste and simmer together until the flavors meld together (about 10 minutes).
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