This recipe is sponsored by EZ Tofu Press, all opinions are 100% my own.
Creamy, deeply-seasoned vegan butter chicken is a snap to make in the oven! This creamy tomato and tofu curry is a total crowd-pleaser. Even the kiddo loves it!
Y'all, you are going to love how easy it is to make rich and creamy vegan butter chicken in the oven. This oven method is based on my Twice-Baked BBQ Tofu, and oh my WORD! I'm obsessed with it.
I'd like to thank Pokemon for this recipe idea.
In the version of the game my kid is playing now, there's a cooking component where you make different curries. After playing the other day, he asked if we could have curry for supper sometime soon.
I immediately started brainstorming the most kid-friendly curry I could think of. My kid is a pretty good eater, but he's still a kid. Kids are picky!
Butter chicken sprang to mind, and I'm so glad! My vegan version is easy to make, and he scarfs it down, just like Ash does in the game, every time. The other day, he said, "This is the best curry ever, mom!"
I can't think of higher praise for a recipe!
Pressing the tofu
Please do not skip pressing the tofu in this recipe! If you want this to have a firm, chicken-like consistency, pressing is crucial. Not only does pressing give your tofu a firmer texture, but it makes it thirsty for that tasty marinade.
I press my tofu using the EZ Tofu Press. The EZ Tofu Press gets ½ cup of water out of your tofu, on average.
The EZ Tofu Press is easy to use and easy to clean. It's dishwasher safe, though I rarely put mine in the dishwasher, because it's so easy to wipe clean by hand.
Making the recipe in less time is all about staying active.
Don't feel the need to prep all of your ingredients before you begin cooking. Instead, get the tofu marinating, and then prepare the sauce ingredients.
While the tofu bakes for the first time, you have plenty of time to make the sauce on the stovetop. During the second round of baking, you make the cashew cream.
Little time overlaps like this reduce your cooking time significantly!
Why bake it twice?
Baking tofu twice might seem like overkill, but pressing and then double baking yields such firm and flavorful results. You are going to love it!
First, you press and marinate the tofu in a spiced vegan yogurt mixture. Then, arrange it on a baking sheet. This first round of baking not only infuses the tofu with maximum flavor, but it further firms up the texture.
In round two of baking, you are adding even more flavor to the mix and firming up the texture even more!
The results is ultra-firm, incredibly flavorful butter tofu in a decadent sauce.
Making the sauce
While the tofu bakes for the first round, you have plenty of time to make the sauce. This recipe calls for a Dutch oven, and any pot that can hold the goods and go from stovetop to oven will work fine here.
To make the sauce, just saute tomato, onion, hot peppers, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger in plant-based butter. Then, add some spices.
To complete the sauce, you'll add the baked tofu to the Dutch oven. Cover, and bake a second time.
Making the cashew cream
During round two of baking, you just have one quick task: make that cashew cream. It should take you less than five minutes.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need raw cashews to make cashew cream. Soaking will soften even roasted cashews enough to get a smooth blend.
If you're using a high speed blender, it should take about a minute to make velvety-smooth cashew cream.
In a regular blender, it may take a bit more time. In this case, stop blending every 45 seconds or do to scrape down the sides of the canister and give the motor a rest.
I do not recommend blending for more than a minute at a time without a break, because you can burn out your blender's motor that way.
When the second round of baking is done, stir your cashew cream and a bit of vegan butter into the pot of tofu, and it's time to eat!
How to serve and store it
Serve this up over rice or quinoa. It's also lovely with some vegan naan on the side, to sop up that creamy tomato sauce.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I like to pack this up with the rice, so the next day, I just have to pop the whole thing in the microwave for a quick curry lunch.
It will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator.
Vegan butter chicken recipe
- ¾ cup plain vegan yogurt - unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 teaspoons Garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 block extra firm tofu - pressed and cut into large cubes
- ¼ cup vegan butter - divided (¼ cup = 4 tablespoons)
- 4 medium tomatoes - diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 sweet onion - chopped
- 2 serrano peppers - minced (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1" piece of fresh ginger - minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ cup cashews - soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained
- ⅓ cup water - NOT the soaking water
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, 1 teaspoon of Garam masala, and cumin. Mix well, then add the tofu cubes and toss to coat. Marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Transfer the tofu to a lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, no need to flip. Do not turn off the oven when you pull out the tofu.
- While the tofu bakes, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, onion, peppers, cinnamon stick, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onion turns translucent, then add the rest of the Garam masala and the paprika, stirring to combine. Remove the pan from the heat.
- When the tofu finishes baking, add it to the same Dutch oven, tossing gently to coat the tofu well in the sauce. Cover, and bake for another 20 minutes at 400° F.
- While the tofu bakes in the sauce, combine the cashews and water in your blender, and puree until you have a completely smooth cashew cream. If needed, you can add up to 1 tablespoon additional water to get things moving in the blender. When the tofu finishes baking in the sauce, remove the pot from the oven, stir in the cashew cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and serve.
- Time Saving Tip: Prep the sauce ingredients while the tofu marinates to reduce prep time.
- If you can't find fresh garlic or ginger, it's OK to use dried in a pinch. Use a tablespoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of ground ginger in place of the fresh.
- For a mild butter tofu, remove the seeds from the serrano peppers. You can omit them completely, if you don't want any heat at all. If you can't find serranos, you can use small jalapenos instead.