This Vegan Paneer Butter Masala is adapted from a traditional Paneer Butter Masala recipe I used to make when I was vegetarian. My boyfriend and I always loved it so I couldn’t wait to create my very own vegan version of this tasty dish. As with most of my other recipes, I created this in the heat of the moment, if you will, and had no idea how it was going to turn out or if it would even be any good. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.
In the original recipe, I used regular butter and whole milk. For the vegan version, I used vegan butter and coconut milk and what a delicious combination it turned out to be. The perfect sauce to serve over steamy basmati rice.
Vegan Paneer Butter Masala has it’s roots in Northern India. It combines the rich flavors of Indian spices such as garam masala, fenugreek leaves and red chili powder with the tanginess of pureed tomatoes and ginger and the savoriness of garlic. The end result is a delicious, creamy flavorful sauce with just a hint of heat and sweet.
When I served it to my boyfriend tonight, he said “you’ve got another winner, babe!” I just love how supportive he is of my cooking. And believe me, when he says it’s delicious, it’s delicious. There have been times when my recipes have been mediocre, and he is the first one to tell me about it.
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Paneer Butter Masala as much as we did. Serve it with my Vegan Garlic Naan (which I made today and ate with the leftovers) and some steamed basmati or brown rice.
Vegan Paneer Butter Masala
- 16 oz package tofu super firm
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- 3 tbsp cashews soaked in boiling water for 1 hour and then ground with some water for a smooth paste
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes pureed in blender
- 1 Serrano chili or jalapeno finely chopped; keep as many or as few seeds per your heat preference
- 2 inches ginger ground together with garlic in mortar & pestle
- 3-4 cloves garlic ground together with ginger in mortar & pestle
- 1 inch ginger julienned
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1.5 tsp red chili powder
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk unsweetened
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp cilantro leaves for garnishing
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- Heat oil and butter in large skillet or wok. Add bay leaves and simmer for a minute or so until the oil becomes fragrant. Discard bay leaves.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and red chili powder. Stir well. Add the tomato puree and saute on medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Add cashew paste and stir thoroughly. Add coconut milk, stir and simmer over medium heat.
- Add julienned ginger, green chili, salt, garam masala, dry fenugreek leaves and salt and stir. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tofu, stir and cook until well-heated. Add corn starch and stir just until sauce starts to thicken.
- Garnish with cilantro. Serve over a bed of steamed basmati rice with plain or garlic naan.