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

Indian Butter Chicken ( or Cauliflower)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Indian

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

  • 2 lbs chicken ( breast or thighs) or tofu, or roasted veggies ( cauliflower, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc)
  • 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
  • 2 serano chilies ( or sub 1 jalapeno) split in half lengthwise, ( leave tops in tact)
  • 4 fat garlic cloves- finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger finely minced ( or use paste)
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds ( optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds ( optional)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds ( optional)
  • 1 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!)
  • 1  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

Decide what you want to serve this over ( basmati rice, roasted cauliflower florets, cauliflower rice, quinoa ) and get it cooking.

Season chicken (either whole or cut into bite-sized pieces) or tofu ( filets or cubes) 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 can continue cooking the chicken all the way through in the Indian Butter Sauce in a little bit, or in the oven now.)

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 and optional 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 ground, now.)

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.

Alternatively you can keep everything separate, allowing people to make their own “bowls” with either chicken or tofu or veggies, over the rice, topped with the fragrant Indian Butter Sauce.

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.