Indian Butter Chicken gently simmers in fragrant Tomato-Ginger-Coconut Sauce infused with Indian spices – delicious comfort food on chilly winter nights. Serve with fluffy basmati rice or naan bread!

Indian Butter Chicken (or Cauliflower) in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce! Serve over roasted cauliflower or brown basmati rice- a flavorful meal that is vegan adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.~ Anaïs Nin

Just as delicious with roasted cauliflower or pan-seared tofu, this Indian Butter Chicken is vegan-adaptable and is really ALL about the sauce!  The sauce alone, spooned over veggies and fluffy basmati rice will make you so incredibly happy you will want to melt into your chair. You think I’m kidding, don’t you?  I’m not. 😉

The best thing is this version is adaptable for mixed households, meaning, your spouse who wants his chicken dinner and your daughter who is vegan will both totally loooooove it!

I’ve been making this recipe for years in our catering business and am so excited to be able to share it with you finally! It’s reasonably quick and easy ( 45-60 mins). The payoff, however, is huge.  You can totally do this.

Variations of Indian Butter Chicken

Make it with chicken, roasted cauliflower or pan-seared crispy tofu, chickpeas, or roasted veggies ( or all the above) – all at the same time- and let your family assemble their own bowls. Everyone’s happy!

Version 1: Here it’s made with chicken thighs, left whole to finish cooking in the flavorful sauce. You can also use chicken breast. Serve over fluffy basmati rice, or with naan bread with a side of raita!

Indian Butter Chicken (or Cauliflower) in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce! Serve over roasted cauliflower or brown basmati rice- a flavorful meal that is vegan adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com

Version 2: Here below, it’s served with roasted cauliflower and brown basmati rice.

Vegan Indian Butter Cauliflower in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce. Incredible flavors, simple to make! | www.feastingathome.com

Version 3: Here it’s served with rice and pan-seared tofu.

 Indian Butter TOFU in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce. VEGAN! Incredible flavors, simple to make! | www.feastingathome.com

Version 4: And for a low-carb, high-protein option, you could serve the chicken with roasted cauliflower instead of rice. Or try cauliflower rice!

Indian Butter Chicken (or Cauliflower) in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce! Serve over roasted cauliflower or brown basmati rice- a flavorful meal that is vegan adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com

Or leave all the components separate so family members can create their own bowls!

What to serve with Indian Butter Chicken?

  1. Emerald Dal 
  2. Palak Paneer
  3. Raita!
  4. Mint Chutney 
  5. Aloo Gobi 
  6. Basmati rice
  7. Naan Bread
  8. Authentic Chai!
  9. Chai Cookies! 

Indian Butter Chicken (or Cauliflower) in the most flavorful Tomato Ginger Coconut Curry Sauce! Serve over roasted cauliflower or brown basmati rice- a flavorful meal that is vegan adaptable! | www.feastingathome.com

As you can see from the recipe, this can easily be made this vegan (though the ghee truly does add great flavor).  Feel free to serve the Indian Butter Sauce over simple, oven-roasted veggies and rice, or slow-braised lamb or beef, or meat balls. It’s really that versatile.

If cooking for one or two,  freeze half of the sauce for another time or freeze the sauce in individual portions – in small ziplock bags for quick lunches or dinners.

I purposely used coconut milk here instead of the traditional plain yogurt and heavy cream -to keep it vegan – but if you prefer, please use it instead.

FYI: the sauce tastes even better the next day.  Be sure to rate the recipe leave your notes below and share any adaptions or substitutions.

Thanks and enjoy! xo

Sylvia

PS. Here’s a simple recipe for  Garam Masala Spice that may come in handy!

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Indian Butter Chicken ( or Cauliflower) with the most flavorful Tomato- Ginger garam masala sauce. Vegan Adaptable!

Indian Butter Chicken | Vegan adaptable


Description

Indian Butter Chicken (or Cauliflower or TOFU) served over your choice of roasted cauliflower or brown basmati rice– a flavorful Indian Curry dish that is vegan-adaptable!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs chicken (breast or thighs) or sub tofu, or cualiflower
  • salt, pepper & garam masala to taste, oil for searing.

Indian Butter Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut or olive oil)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 serrano chilies (or sub 1 jalapeno) split in half lengthwise ( leave tops intact)
  • 4 fat garlic cloves- finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger finely minced (or use ginger paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or tomato puree (or sub 2 medium tomatoes, diced, with their juices)
  • 1 cup water or stock
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala spice ( see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (optional, but elevates the dish substantially)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ( do NOT use smoked paprika, if you don’t have regular, just leave it out!)
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (milk and solids) see notes
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional)
  • little squeeze of lemon, 2 teaspoons
  • cilantro, optional garnish

Serve with naan bread,  fluffy basmati rice, cauliflower rice or cauliflower florets and optional raita!


Instructions

  1. Season chicken (either whole or cut into bite-sized pieces) or tofu ( filets or cubes) generously with salt, pepper and a little sprinkling of garam masala. Heat oil in a skillet and sear well, until golden and crispy and set aside. (You will continue cooking the chicken all the way through in the Indian Butter Sauce.)
  2. Heat ghee or oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, cinnamon stick and serano chilies and saute 8-10 minutes until deeply golden. Add the garlic, ginger , fennel seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook until ginger is cooked and golden, about 3 more minutes. Add the diced tomatoes (and juices) plus 1 cup water. Add all the remaining spices and salt. ( If you didn’t have cumin seeds or fennel seeds earlier, feel free to add the same amount,f ground, now.)
  3. Bring this to a gentle simmer on low heat, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing all the fragrant spices to infuse the sauce and your home. After 10 minutes it will have thickened slightly – stir in the coconut milk and simmer gently once more for 5- 10 minutes, placing the chicken into the sauce to finish cooking all the way through.
  4. Taste, adjusting salt. Add a little honey and lemon to taste if need be.
  5. Alternatively, you can keep everything separate, allowing people to make their own “bowls” with either chicken or tofu or veggies, over the basmai rice, topped with the fragrant Indian Butter Sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro if you like.

Notes

This recipe is all about the Indian “Butter” Sauce. As you can see you can easily keep it vegan (though the ghee truly does add great flavor).  Feel free to serve it over oven roasted veggies and rice, or slow braised lamb. It’s really that versatile. Feel free to freeze half of the sauce for another use, or to freeze it in individual portions- in small ziplock bags for later on down the road.  You could even use the sauce in a slow cooker meal. I purposely used coconut milk here instead of the traditional plain yogurt and heavy cream ( to keep it vegan) which you are free to use instead ( 1 cup yogurt, ½ cup cream). FYI: the sauce tastes even better the next day.

Garam Masala Spice can be found at your local super market ( spice section or bulk spice section) and even though it’s kind of an “odd” ingredient, it’s one that I use here on the blog frequently, so perhaps worth investing in. You can also make your own blend….click here!

This recipe is all about the Indian Butter Sauce. As you can see you can easily keep it vegan.  Feel free to serve it over oven roasted veggies and rice, or slow braised lamb. It’s really versatile. Feel free to freeze half of the sauce for another use, or to freeze it in individual portions- small ziplock bags for later on down the road.

Another ingredient I use a lot on the blog….are dried fenugreek leaves (not seeds) – they can be hard to track down, but well worth the hunt-  they elevate Indian dishes substantially! Asian markets usually carry them or they can be ordered on Amazon.

 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: -Based on using Chicken Breast, served over roasted cauliflower
  • Calories: 307
  • Sugar: 6.1 g
  • Sodium: 866.3 mg
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 5.8 g
  • Protein: 16.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 48 mg

Indian Butter Tofu   Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower

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Recipe rating

Comments

  1. This is by far the best butter chicken recipe I’ve ever made. Such complex flavours. Your recipes never disappoint.

  2. Incredible! My family gobbled it down. I’d say better than what we’ve had at restaurants not only for the complex and rich flavor but being able to control the quality of all the ingredients. Thank you for another great dish. And it’s worth it to take the time and toast your own garam masala.

  3. Really good but I didn’t see directions for the lemon and honey. I added a bit of each at the end. I also blended everything before adding the coconut milk for a smoother consistency. It was very spicy! I removed the Serrano peppers half way through after tasting, but luckily I love spicy food. I made with roasted cauliflower and rice and it was delicious!

    1. Opps! Sorry, Ashley- I left those out. Updated now and thanks for this pointing it out.

  4. Made this tonight- tasted great, but was not like the pictures at all. Thin bodied, not “clingy” and brown. I did use light coconut, but I don’t think if I had used full bodied it would have changed things much. Will use again, but I have different expectations..

    1. Hi Rob- sorry about that – and I’m pretty sure it was the light coconut milk. I never have good results with it. How was the flavor?

  5. I made this today and followed your recipe for vegetarian. Absolutely delicious!!!
    Thank you for sharing all of these amazing recipes, what a gift you have.

  6. Absolutely delicious, made it with chicken for my son, vegan for myself. Will definitely make again. Thank you !

    1. Absolutely delicious!! very easy to make. I couldn’t stop eating, went back for seconds!! I will definitely make this again. Thanks

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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