If you like butter chicken, you're going to love this tender butter tofu chicken! The melt-in-your-mouth tender tofu chunks are swimming in spicy, creamy tomato butter sauce on a bed of fluffy rice. Trust me! It's an incredible, super flavorful, Indian style vegan butter chicken recipe that is totally craveable! Easy to make, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.
My inspiration came from Chrissy Teigen's Butter Chicken recipe (cravingsbychrissyteigen). I just switched up a few ingredients and voilà, vegan butter tofu chicken.
Keep reading for all the ingredients and step by step instructions:
How to Make Vegan Butter Chicken
Tofu - I use extra firm for this recipe. Wrap in paper towelling and press with heavy cookbooks while you are preparing the other ingredients. Then just break it into chunks, marinate it, and dunk it in the silky gravy. This tofu is super scrumptious and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Marinade the tofu in a spicy yogurt sauce the day before or the morning of and store in the fridge.
Gravy (tofu butter sauce) - butter, oil, a few Indian spices, fresh garlic and ginger, crushed tomatoes and creamy cashew sauce bubbling on the stove. It makes the house smell like a five star restaurant and it tastes even better!
Rice - you can use any rice, but my favorite is basmati. It's light and fluffy and pairs well with the richness of the sauce. If you make it in the Instant Pot or rice cooker, it's super easy and fuss free.
Naan or Pita Bread - buy your favorite store bought brand or make this delicious, homemade pita bread.
More Spicy Recipes
If you like spicy vegan Indian food, here's a few other spicy vegan dishes to try:
- Vegan Masala
- Vegan Ginger Beef
- Vegan Chili with Beyond Meat
- Poblano and Mushroom Tex-Mex Enchiladas
- Vegan Shawarma with Sweet and Spicy Tahini Drizzle
Did you make this recipe? I'd love to see it!
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Melt-In-Your-Mouth Butter Tofu Chicken (vegan)
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- 1 350 g block tofu, extra firm, pressed
- 1 lime, zested then cut into wedges
- 1 cup full fat yogurt, plant based
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
- ½ teaspoon paprika
Make the Gravy (Creamy Tomato Sauce)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons oil (divided)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated
- 1 ½ tablespoons garam masala
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups crushed tomatoes
- ½ - 1 cup cashew cream (recipe link below)
- ½ - 1 cup veggie broth or water (for thinning)
Rice and Garnishes
- 2 cups basmati rice, cooked
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2-4 pieces naan (optional - but not really)
- Wrap the block of tofu in a few sheets of paper towelling or a clean kitchen towel. Place a couple heavy cookbooks or a cast iron pan on top.
- Let the tofu press while you prepare the other ingredients. Then cut or break the tofu into 1" cubes or chunks.
- In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt (I used Daiya Greek Style yogurt), lime zest, half the garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and paprika (not smoked).
- Add the pressed tofu chunks. Stir to coat the tofu.
- Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or more). Pro Tip: Can be made the day before or in the morning before work and left in the fridge.
Make the Cashew Cream
- Cashew cream basic recipe. The consistency should be that of a heavy cream. If the cashew cream is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency. Set aside.
Make the Rice (stove, Instant Pot or rice cooker)
- Make rice in the Instant Pot or rice cooker for easy and fuss free rice.1 cup uncooked rice = approximately 3 cups cooked rice.
Make the Gravy (Tomato Cream Sauce)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven (or large saute pan) over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent (7 to 8 minutes).
- Add the remaining garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant (around 2 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl.
- Into the Dutch oven, add one tablespoon of oil and the marinated tofu chunks. Turn the heat up and cook flipping as they start to turn golden (3-4 minutes).
- Add the onions back into the pan along with the crushed/ground tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Stir in ½ cup cashew cream. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your taste.
- Add more cashew cream for richer creamier gravy.
- If the tomato-cream sauce is too thick, add water/veggie broth ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency is met.
- Serve on a bed of rice with a sprinkle of cilantro, a wedge of lime and naan on the side. Pro Tip: Don't skip the squeeze of lime!
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