Who says you can’t have curry when trying to lose weight? At only 356 calories a serving, my vegan paneer butter masala is a perfect balance of spiciness and creaminess. If you’re not watching your waistline, why not have it with naan or rice, or starchy curry dishes, such as aloo masala and dal fry!
I had the genius idea of making paneer with plant milk – I always used to always make my own paneer, so how hard could it be to make it from non-dairy milk?
Do you know what you get when you try to make paneer from soy milk?
Tofu, that’s what.
So I suppose it would be more accurate to call this Tofu Non-Dairy-Butter Masala… but it doesn’t really have the same ring about it, does it?
Nevertheless, regardless of what it’s called, this is flimmin’ gorgeous.
I mean, really, really gorgeous. Just look at it…
Couldn’t you just?
OK, the tofu is not an accurate, 100% substitute for paneer but who cares? It still works perfectly. It also works wonderfully in my vegan palak paneer.
By the way, if you can’t get super-firm tofu, you can press firm tofu (not silken) to firm it up. My local Asian store only has firm tofu, so when I get it home, I drain and rinse it, then wrap it in a clean tea towel, place it in one of the sinks, and then put a kilo bag of rice on top. I leave it for 20-24 hours, and then it’s really firm, and ready to be used.
At some point, I’m going to try again to make paneer but I think next time, I’m going to use a nut milk, such as cashew. After all, cashews produce an excellent ricotta that really does taste like dairy, so maybe it’ll work for something a bit more solid, right? Ha ha!
Vegan paneer butter masala
- full of Vitamin C
Make it as hot or as mild as you like – however you make it though, enjoy!
Vegan Paneer Butter Masala
- 200 g extra-firm tofu drained and pressed to remove as much moisture as possible
- 1 large onion finely-chopped
- 2.5 cm piece of ginger root, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 medium-sized tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Indian bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 green chilli split
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- 2 tbsp cashew cream
- 1 tsp palm sugar finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 250 ml canned coconut milk
- 125 ml water
- 1 tsp kasuri methi dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- dash salt
- A few fresh coriander leaves chopped
- Cut the tofu into cubes, and dry-fry in a skillet, until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- While the tofu is browning, blitz the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic in a food processor or a high-speed blender for couple of minutes, until you have a thick paste. Remove from the processor, and also set aside.
- Add the tomatoes to the processor, and blitz for a few seconds, until you have a coarse purée.
- Heat the oil in a wok or a kadai (or similar), add the bay leaf and the green chilli, and fry over a medium heat for a minute.
- Add the onion, garlic, and ginger paste, and fry - stirring all the time - until the raw smell has gone, and the paste starts to turn golden-brown. This should take around 5-7 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds or so.
- Add the Kashmiri chilli powder and the cashew cream, and continue to stir-fry for another couple of minutes.
- Add the puréed tomatoes and palm sugar, mix well, reduce the heat slightly, and continue to cook until the oil starts to separate out (around 5 mins).
- Mix in the ground coriander and garam masala, and allow to cook in for another 2 mins or so.
- Add the coconut milk and water, mix well, and leave to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the oil rises to the surface of the gravy.
- Add the tofu and the methi leaves, stir, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and simmer for 5 mins to heat the tofu.
- Turn off the heat, taste, stir in the vegan butter, and season with salt.
- Place into a serving dish, and sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.
- If you don't have Indian bay, leave it out, do not sub Mediterranean bay - it's a completely different beast, and will not work in this recipe!
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml