Make Ahead

Vegan Makhani (aka Butter Chicken without the butter or chicken)

January 25, 2018
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Inspired by the genius recipes found here on Food52 and the the incredible books of the wonderful Anna Jones, I have been tending toward vegetarian and vegan adaptations of recipes, with that in mind, I felt like butter chicken one night and decided to take a stab at Urvashi Pitre's beautiful instant pot recipe. . . without the instant pot. . . or the chicken. . . or any butter. When I gifted some leftover sauce to my lovely vegan cousin, I thought I'd just rewrite my adaptation of the recipe for anyone looking for an easy, delicious weeknight meal of Chana Makhani. The whole process took me about 25 minutes to cook, (not including the time to cook the chickpeas.) —Selina

What You'll Need
  • The Sauce and Rice
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 square inch ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (I used spanish)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons cayenne (this is optional, I opted for a fully sweet sauce because my kids are wimps)
  • 1 (14oz/400ml) can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (about 4oz/120mL)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • The Chickpeas (Chana)
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (canned will work, but rinse them well.)
  • the zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
  • the juice of half a lemon
  1. Using a rice cooker or a lovely bevel-lidded heavy cooking pot, rinse the rice, set in the cooking device with twice the amount of water, and bring it to a boil, then quickly set the heat to low for about 20 minutes. (We all have our rice tricks, use yours!)
  2. While the rice bubbles away, you can begin your sauce. Start by gathering all the dried spices in a little bowl (minus the salt.) Then chop and prepare your garlic and ginger for cooking. Open your tins of tomatoes and coconut milk, and set up your raisins and coconut oil so that you have everything at the ready.
  3. In a wide pan, over medium heat, melt the tablespoon of coconut oil until it coats the bottom, then toss in your garlic and ginger and let them simmer until softened and fragrant. This is when you can quickly add the spices and use your senses to tell when it's time to cool the mixture down with your tomatoes. You do not want to burn the garlic and spices, just release the flavours and cook them gently.
  4. Once you are ready, add the tomatoes and 1/4 cup of raisins, (To be honest, I added the raisins that my son had not eaten from his snack because I felt like the sauce may be more popular if it was a little sweeter.) Add the second teaspoon of Garam Masala and let it simmer together until the raisins are plump and the tomatoes start to bubble (about 5-7 minutes.)
  5. Use a spatula to scrape the contents of your pan into a blender and blend it all up into a sauce, then let that sit while you cook your chickpeas.
  6. Using the same pan as your sauce, set a little oil to prevent the chickpeas from sticking, toss the chickpeas in the paprika to coat them lightly, adding more as needed. Then toss the chickpeas in the pan on medium heat and sprinkle with salt and the zest of half a lemon. Let them toast up and darken a little, then squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over them. Let them cook for a few more minutes while you finish your sauce.
  7. Fluff the basmati with a fork and serve in flat bowls. (Pasta bowl-styles will do.) Ladle your sauce and chickpeas over the rice and serve with a garnish of chopped coriander (or parsley if you're one of those people who hate coriander.) Smaakelijk!
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