Vegan “Butter” “Chicken”
What a ridiculous title to lead with on the first post back after a looong hiatus. Since the last post your Ripe Avocados team are no longer roommates (except in our hearts) and are both no longer living in Montreal. Even though we’re now on separate continents, I hope we can keep up the care and feeding (get it?) of our blog baby.
I’ve recently been experimenting with veganism as well, otherwise I probably would have made this with paneer. But I ended up using tofu and really liked it! I live near a Chinese supermarket with an intense fake meat selection. Mock meat can be contentious with vegheads, personally I don’t make it a regular part of my diet. But I like experimenting with it every now and then just to switch up the texture/flavor of regular tofu, though I avoid the stuff that doesn’t even taste good–Yves, etc. The stuff from my local supermarket is pretty good and they had a curry flavor already, though I made this dish again with regular tofu and enjoyed it just as much if not more. I did marinate and precook the tofu in advance so there are extra steps involved if you go that route. Here’s the mock meat I used, if you can find something similar go for it:
Vegan Butter Chicken
Curry recipe adapted from Manuja’s Kitchen, tofu preparation from Veganomicon
Tofu Ingredients (if not using a mock meat product similar to the one I used)
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 T rice vinegar
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1/4 cup curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 green chili
- 1-inch piece of ginger
- 2 T oil (for sauteeing)
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 T ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 c spinach (optional, I had some I needed to use up one time and threw it in. Consider this recipe equally subject to your whims)
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- cilantro to garnish to taste
- rice or naan/roti as desired
- Slice tofu widthwise into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices, then cut each of those on the diagonal to make triangles.
- Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl large enough to also hold the tofu slices.
- Add tofu, give it a good stir so each piece is coated with marinade, and let marinate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. This is also a good time to prep other ingredients.
- Place the tofu on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip over and bake for another 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it throughout this process, those are Veganomicon’s baking times but I found it went a little faster for me. I also spooned extra marinade on the tofu throughout the cooking process when it was looking dry.
- Optional, I skipped this step because I felt like my tofu getting hard and I felt it was on the verge of being overdone: Broil for about 3 minutes “for extra chewiness.”
- Blend tomatoes. ginger (peeled), and the chili in a food processor or blender. If you don’t have one, chop everything as finely as you can, mix it all together in a bowl, and mush it around with a fork.
- Heat oil in a saucepan.
- When it’s hot, add the onion. Sautee, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent.
- Add tomato puree, cumin, coriander, turmeric, bay leaves, and chili powder to the pan. I found it helpful to measure out all the spices into a bowl beforehand.
- Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the tomato mixture has reduced by about half.
- Add coconut milk and incorporate. Add baked tofu/mock meat.
- Cook for ten or twenty minutes, or until mixture has thickened to a consistency you like. If you’re adding spinach, chop it roughly and stir it in until it wilts. Taste for seasoning and add salt.
- Take off the heat, add garam masala and cilantro.
- Manjula says to add a bit of sugar “if the gravy is sour.” This wasn’t the case for me, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw it in.
Enjoy on the carb of your choosing, or on its own!