Main image of Vegan Butter "Chicken" with Baked Tofu

Vegan Butter "Chicken" with Baked Tofu

40 min

Meal

This veganized butter chicken is sure to become a new dinner favourite! It's beautifully spiced and wonderfully creamy. The grilled tofu has a great texture, bursting with flavour, while the blended cashews and coconut milk add a velvety creaminess to this delicious curry.

Servings

Total

40 min

Prep

10 min

Cook

30 min

Contains

Soy symbol

soy

Treenut symbol

tree nut

Free from

Peanut symbol

peanut

Sesame symbol

sesame

Gluten symbol

gluten

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (32 g)
    raw cashews, soaked for 1 hour or at least 2 hours or overnight
  • 15.8 oz (450 g)
    extra firm tofu, pressed, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • ½ cup (120 mL)
    unsweetened soy yogurt
  • 2 tsp (3 g)
  • 1 tsp (3 g)
    ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (2 g)
    ground coriander
  • ½ tsp
    ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch
    salt
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL)
    vegetable oil
  • 5
    cloves garlic, minced
  • 1
    large onion, diced
  • 1
    fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp (4 g)
    fresh ginger, grated
  • 1½ Tbsp (8 g)
  • 1½ Tbsp (9 g)
    ground coriander
  • 1½ Tbsp (13 g)
    ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (6 g)
    salt
  • ¼ tsp
    cayenne pepper
  • 1⅔ cups (400 g)
    canned diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup (60 mL)
    canned tomato paste
  • ½ Tbsp (7 mL)
  • 1⅔ cups (399 mL)
    canned full-fat coconut milk

Serves well with

  • cooked rice
  • fresh cilantro
  • lemon slices
  • unsweetened soy yogurt
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Directions

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  1. Soak the raw cashews in boiling water to soften. Set aside while chopping the vegetables.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  3. In a bowl, combine the tofu, yogurt, garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
  4. Transfer the tofu onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake the tofu in the centre rack of the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, turning every few 5 - 10 minutes for even cooking, and to keep an eye on it to prevent burning.
  5. To a large pot on medium-high heat, sauté the oil, garlic, onion, jalapeño, and ginger until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add splashes of water as needed to deglaze the pan.
  6. Add in the garam masala, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring throughout to toast the spices.
  7. To the pot, add the drained cashews, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, agave syrup, and coconut milk. Blend everything using an immersion blender or transfer to a standing blender to blend until smooth. Let simmer on low, and cover with a lid. Once the tofu is golden, remove it from the oven and add it to the pot. Give it a gentle stir, and serve with rice, naan, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, some plant-based yogurt, and some lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Storage

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Plate method

The Plate Method is a visual tool that helps us ensure our dietary needs are on track. Touch the image below to see how this recipe measures up.

Grains 0%
Proteins 45%

raw cashews

extra firm tofu

unsweetened soy yogurt

Fruits & Veggies 55%

clove garlic

large onion

fresh jalapeño

fresh ginger

canned diced tomatoes

canned tomato paste

Calcium

extra firm tofu

unsweetened soy yogurt

Fat

raw cashews

vegetable oil

canned full-fat coconut milk

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

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Bindiya Ganatra - Nov. 29, 2021, 6:29 a.m.

Dear Sadia,

I'm sending many good wishes your way - so happy for your engagement!! Loved the super adorable video!!
Love this recipe. I am Asian Indian, and am so used to growing up with my mom using evaporated milk in our curries. I hate coconut, but I will tell you this recipe gave me a different perspective on coconut. LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish. I hate tofu and coconut and do not taste it in there. I ended up mashing up the tofu with all the spices and yogurt before putting it in the oven. I know it looked like baby food, but I got my nutrients from the tofu without having to bite into a cube of it. Super thankful for this recipe! :)

I have a nutritionist question for you Sadia - you always talk about including plant based yogurt for probiotics in smoothies & granola. However, this recipe calls for baking the yogurt - doesn't that kill the good bacteria in the yogurt - doesn't that defeat the purpose of probiotics? Would you mind kindly explaining this to me?

Much Gratitude,
Bindiya Ganatra
Mississippi, United States

PUL Team - Dec. 1, 2021, 2:24 a.m.

Hey there, Bindiya, thank you for the wishes! We're so happy the video and recipe were enjoyed ✨

To help answer your question, plant-based yogurt can indeed be a lovely source of probiotics but cooking will likely kill most (if not all) of it. Luckily, at PUL we also enjoy yogurt for reasons aside from probiotics 🤓 For example, in this recipe, the yogurt-based marinade helps give the tofu a delicious crispier texture to resemble traditional butter chicken more. Another sample reason we enjoy yogurt is it may be fortified with calcium, which we talk more about here: pickuplimes.com/article/calci… 😊

We hope this helps for now and sending hugs to the United States!


Clara - Oct. 26, 2021, 2 p.m.

So so good ! Very creamy and tasty :)) lots of love from Germany !! ☺

PUL Team - Oct. 27, 2021, 2:11 a.m.

We appreciate this so much, Clara, lots of love to Germany 😃


Bree - Oct. 25, 2021, 4:31 a.m.

Love this recipe, I make this one for my family all the time! Thank you for sharing your craft!


Demi - Oct. 14, 2021, 3:24 p.m.

I love this recipe. I often add cauliflower to make it a bit more healthy, it goes wonderful with the sauce

PUL Team - Oct. 15, 2021, 1:17 a.m.

A lovely idea to add cauliflower, Demi, thank you for sharing 🤗


Emily - Sept. 28, 2021, 12:17 a.m.

Such a winner! This recipe is delectable as is, and the sauce would also be delicious with any number of mix-ins besides the baked tofu. For example, vegan meatballs, chickpeas and broccoli, or uncooked tofu.

PUL Team - Sept. 29, 2021, 6:37 p.m.

So glad the recipe was enjoyed, Emily, and thank you for the ideas!


Anna - Sept. 26, 2021, 9:24 a.m.

Thanks for this beautiful recipe ;)


Anouk - Aug. 20, 2021, 8 p.m.

Deliciouss! My first recipe from Pick up limes and definitely not the last one :)

PUL Team - Aug. 23, 2021, 10:51 p.m.

So thrilled you enjoyed your first PUL recipe, Anouk! Happy cooking 😊


Steph - Aug. 11, 2021, 8:12 a.m.

This is absolutely delicious! I make this regularly but usually don't go through the process of baking the tofu as I like quick dinners.


Ani - July 29, 2021, 1:11 p.m.

So great to have a healthier version and most of all vegan! I added some of your garlic/mint yoghurt (from the wrap recipe) on top and it was devine. Definitely a go to recipe now. Thank you so much and lots of love from Germany :)

PUL Team - July 30, 2021, 12:06 a.m.

So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Ani, thank you for taking the time to share! Lots of love to Germany 💚


Lena - July 25, 2021, 7:18 p.m.

My go to recipe to impress non vegans! They always love it & ask for the recipe :)


Michèle - July 25, 2021, 3:32 p.m.

We really LOVE this recipe and often serve it when we have guests. They always like it. We often add some broccoli to it, which tastes delicious.

PUL Team - July 27, 2021, 2:08 a.m.

Love the addition of broccoli! Thank you, Michèle :)


Sarah - July 24, 2021, 6:55 p.m.

My go-to butter "chicken" recipe! It's great with or without the baked tofu. I usually add some more veggies, but the flavors of this one never disappoint.


Arah - July 24, 2021, 1:43 p.m.

Every time I suggest ordering in Indian food my husband suggests that I make this recipe instead! It’s so good! I make a big batch of the sauce and use it with tofu one night and chickpeas another. Pick Up Limes never disappoints!


Joana Santos - July 23, 2021, 1:08 a.m.

This is hands down one of the best things I've ever tasted (if not the best!!). It is creamy, filling, and an overall incredible recipe. Me and my boyfriend have been making a batch every two weeks, it keeps well in the fridge and tastes even better the day after. I recommend adding lemon juice before serving, it is a game-changer. I have also tried subbing the tofu for canned chickpeas and it is still delicious (and saves me a ton of time). If you can I strongly recommend trying this, you won't regret it!

PUL Team - July 25, 2021, 2:28 a.m.

What an incredible compliment, Joana, it means so much that you took the time to share your experience with the recipe 😃


Neha - July 22, 2021, 7:34 a.m.

This required some patience to make (I'm pretty slow at food prepping esp. with the tofu) but it's always so, so worth it. I love how it all marinates over time, so bulk cooking results in a meal that just becomes tastier as it sits in the fridge. It tastes so rich and satisfying while somehow being healthy. Thanks heaps!

PUL Team - July 23, 2021, 2:20 a.m.

We're so appreciative of the review, Neha, and are so glad the labour of love was worth it 😃


Anna - July 21, 2021, 3:21 p.m.

Absolutely my favorite butter chicken recipe, hands down! It tastes insanely good and my boyfriend cannot stop asking me for it again and again. One of my favorite meals since I started cooking it.

PUL Team - July 22, 2021, 6:10 a.m.

Suuuch an honour, Anna, thank you so much for sharing! 🙂


Katrien - July 16, 2021, 7:12 p.m.

So delicious! My favorite curry recipe!


Constanze - July 13, 2021, 11:51 a.m.

I have made this a couple of times now and it has become one of my absolute favourite dishes; it’s just so delicious and comforting. Thank you for this great recipe.


Eva - July 12, 2021, 6:01 p.m.

This is a favorite. Even my omnivore Family who is skeptical about spices (other than salt and pepper) loves this one! I definitely recommend making it with the naan if you have the time.


GV - July 10, 2021, 1:37 a.m.

This is one of my favourite ‘party’ recipes. It comes together so easily and it’s such a crowd pleaser!! You won’t be able to resist seconds with this one :)

PUL Team - July 15, 2021, 5:29 a.m.

So happy to hear you're enjoying this one, GV, we appreciate the time you took to share this so much ✨


Katherine Broberg - July 9, 2021, 8:34 p.m.

Hands down the best vegan curry I have ever had. 1000 points to Sadia!

PUL Team - July 15, 2021, 3:16 a.m.

This is a huuge compliment! Thank you so much for the kind words, Katherine 🥰


Ruben M.C - July 8, 2021, 11:02 p.m.

This recipe is a staple alongside the homemade Naan!!! I have made and shared this recipe countless times as a way to show just how flavourful a plant-based recipe can be!! Quick tip, if you have an air fryer, bake the tofu in it, the air circulates better and the tofu texture gets awesome (at least for our taste :))

PUL Team - July 11, 2021, 2:31 p.m.

Thank you for sharing the recipe and for the lovely tip, Ruben! We appreciate it so much ✨


jul - July 8, 2021, 9:03 p.m.

I made it a couple times and I love it with my whole heart. Just saw that you can add cashews to make it extra creamy, can't wait to try again

PUL Team - July 11, 2021, 5:01 a.m.

Mmm yes, cashews add a lovely creaminess to the recipe! We hope you enjoy it, Jul :D


Morgane - July 8, 2021, 6:25 p.m.

Let's just say: yummy yummy yummy. This recipe is now a classic in winter!


Lisette - June 29, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

In the video you say firm tofu and in the recipe extra firm tofu, which is best? And can the tofu also be baked in the pan instead of the oven? Will make this dish soon! :)

PUL Team - June 30, 2021, 3:31 a.m.

Hi Lisette, very good eye and questions! In our experience, "extra firm" is more often found in North America rather than worldwide, so we aimed to be more general with the term "firm" in the video for those without access to extra firm. We see now how this may be confusing so thanks for pointing it out! Either works, although if you enjoy more crispy tofu we'd recommend opting for extra-firm.

The tofu can also be cooked on the stove if preferred rather than in the oven. If you'd like, you can follow along with how we made our stove-top crispy tofu in this Pad Thai recipe: https://www.pickuplimes.com/r…. Let us know how it goes if you give the recipe a try 🤗


Jess - June 29, 2021, 3:56 a.m.

The first Pick Up Limes recipe I've tried. It was yummy and I would make it again. I used coconut milk since I was missing yogurt. Also, I left it unblended, because I didn't have an immersion blender handy (and too lazy to use a regular one). Served over rice.

PUL Team - June 30, 2021, 2:12 a.m.

So glad you enjoyed your first PUL recipe, Jess! So nice to hear you were able to adjust it for you as well 😊


Judith - June 14, 2021, 7:46 p.m.

Amazing recipe! Thank you so much 😊


Cris S - June 5, 2021, 4:05 p.m.

I wonder - is this my top PUL recipe? :D It might be... I can't describe how delicious it is and I'd need more stars to truly rate it! Well done!

PUL Team - June 5, 2021, 9:38 p.m.

We're so thankful for all the wonderful reviews, Cris, our sincerest gratitude to you 🥰


Amanda - June 2, 2021, 12:30 a.m.

Hi PUL Team! I have a vegan butter made with the following ingredients: coconut oil, cashews, sunflower oil, quinoa rejuvelac (water, quinoa), water, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, nutritional yeast, chickpea miso (rice, chickpeas, sea salt, water, koji spores), Fermented oregano extract (water, oregano, raw cane sugar, active cultures). Can it be substituted for the homemade butter in the recipe? If not, will roasted cashews work well in this recipe since that is what I have on hand? Thank you!

PUL Team - June 5, 2021, 7:36 p.m.

Hey there, Amanda! Thank you for the question and patience as we catch up on website questions 😃 The vegan butter sounds like a good substitute to add a bit of creaminess. Roasted cashews may work better though as they might help make the curry a bit thicker. You could also leave out the cashews entirely or substitute them for some pre-soaked sunflower seeds, or equal parts plant-based creamer, like soy creamer or oat creamer. We hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe 🤩

Bindiya M Ganatra - Nov. 29, 2021, 6:37 a.m.

Dear Sadia & PUL Team,

Do you mind giving us measurements on the amount of pre-soaked sunflower seeds and plant-based creamer? Also a note to Amanda, the one who posted this question initially, I didn't have any raw cashews on hand. So I used the roasted, salted cashews, and it worked perfectly fine. The only problem is that whenever you soak the store bought roasted cashews, there was a lot of oil that floated to the top when I soaked it in hot water. Not sure if that oil is from the added oils (store-bought) or naturally occurring oils from the cashews itself - this is a question directed to you, Nutrition Expert Sadia. ;-)

Thanks,
Bindiya Ganatra
Mississippi, USA
Mississippi, USA

PUL Team - Dec. 1, 2021, 2:42 a.m.

Hello hello, Bindiya! Similar to cashews, around 1/4 cup pre-soaked sunflower seeds or plant-based creamer may be a good start. You can always add more if a creamier texture is desired 😊

Regarding the oil, it's likely that this is added oil from the store-bought roasted cashews. If you're able to look at the ingredients list for the nuts, and it lists an oil within the ingredients, this will help affirm it's likely added oil. If oil is not listed in the ingredient list, then it would be a bit of the naturally present oil from the outer shell of the nuts. The fat present in nuts can be incredibly wholesome, which we chat more about here in case you're interested and haven't already seen yet: pickuplimes.com/article/fats-… 😊


Tashkin - May 30, 2021, 8:44 a.m.

So often when I ask my family what they want for supper it’s this recipe! I use a vegan “chicken” instead of the tofu for speed. Truly. it’s a crowd pleaser. Amazing 🤩

PUL Team - May 30, 2021, 3:58 p.m.

Aww that's so wonderful, Tashkin! We're so grateful that your family has been enjoying this one 😃


Amelie - May 19, 2021, 2:34 p.m.

Thank you so much for the recipe! It was perfect! I did not have any cashews at home so I just thickened the sauce with a little bit of starch which worked perfectly. Overall, everything was just delicious!

PUL Team - May 22, 2021, 7:42 p.m.

So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Amelie, starch is a great idea! Substituting the cashews for some pre-soaked sunflower seeds, or equal parts plant-based creamer, like soy creamer or oat creamer are some other ideas in case you're interested ✨☺️


Katie R - April 28, 2021, 3:54 p.m.

This recipe is delicious. I have made it several times for my husband and me. Thank you for inspiring us to eat more plant-based.

It sounds like a lot of spices, but it all works SO WELL! If anyone is concerned about the spice, just reduce the cayenne (I halved it).

The second time I made this, I added some oil to the tofu so it would stick to the pan less. I also added some leftover cauliflower (1/4 a head) to the tofu mixture, and that worked great.

Highly recommend this!

PUL Team - April 29, 2021, 1:21 a.m.

We appreciate the review and kind words very much, Katie! Wonderful tips and go happy you enjoyed the recipe 🙂


Irene - April 6, 2021, 6:05 p.m.

I'm not familiar with Indian cuisine and I hadn't tried the "original" butter chicken before going plant-based, but this recipe was absolutely delicious and rather quick to make, I will definitely make it more often! Also love the new scale feature, makes cooking even quicker and easier when you're a student only cooking for yourself ;-)

PUL Team - April 7, 2021, 3:33 a.m.

Thank you for taking the time to share your review, Irene! We're so glad you enjoyed the recipe and the new site features 🤩


Lani - April 5, 2021, 7:37 a.m.

I made this recipe for my boyfriend and our two children of 6 and 9 years old and they loved it. They are very picky eters and love meat (unfortunately - but on our way to become vegetarian) but they thought this dish was perfect. My boyfriend said he want to eat this every two weeks now.
I didn't notice beforehand that the cashews had to be soaked for at least one hour, I did only soak them for 20min. but it still came out very well.

PUL Team - April 5, 2021, 7:40 p.m.

This is so lovely to hear, Lani! We're so glad your little ones and boyfriend enjoyed it 🤩


Agate - March 22, 2021, 8:41 a.m.

Overall, very nice dish if you can find garam masala. I didn't have garam masala, so I made my own from scratch. I didn't have enough cumin, so my garam masala ended up being a bit too intense from other spices. So my suggestion - if you are mixing spices yourself, taste the dish as you add them. Lemon is listed as one of the serving suggestions, but I would highly recommend adding it. Without it the sauce part was lacking some acidity (at least for my taste buds). I didn't add any sweetener and I don't think the dish was missing it. To boost up the veggie content I also added some lightly sauteed broccoli and whole, toasted cashews - tasted great! Another important detail - you must use full-fat coconut milk. If you use reduced fat (like I did - I suffer from heartburn), the sauce will be a bit too runny.

Sadia - March 29, 2021, 4:28 p.m.

Oooh I love all the suggestions, Agate - thanks for sharing! I definitely agree about the lemon adding some acidity 🍋🙌