It’s a vegan version of Butter Chicken, though when I excitedly told my wife I was planning to make it, she was less than enthused. “Butter…cauliflower?” It took me a minute, but then I realized she thought I meant just plain ol’ cauliflower with butter on it. Oops. She agreed to try the cauliflower with the proviso that I realize she doesn’t usually like cauliflower. That’s fine, it’s cooked separately and then added to the rice and the sauce, so if she didn’t like it, it was no trouble to make it without. I’m a cauliflower fan, so that just meant more for me! I love me some butter chicken, but mixing heavy cream with Indian spices doesn’t do my digestive system any favors, so it’s a very, very rare treat for me. So when I found a vegan version, I nearly jumped for joy. When I read over the recipe and realized I wouldn’t have to make any changes, I did do a little happy dance in the middle of my kitchen. I am going to repost the recipe here, but only so I can find it easier and so I can hold on to it in case something happens to the other site. But I found the recipe over at Food Doodles, you should totally check them out. I did not make the coconut brown rice, De doesn’t like brown rice, so I made my own version with a can of coconut milk and Jessie’s Tea from DavidsTea, a blend of coconut, rooibos, and lavender.
Author: Heidi @ Food Doodles
Yield: 4 servings
For the cauliflower:
3-4 C cauliflower, 1 small head
1 tbsp oil
1 – 1½ tbsp tandoori seasoning
juice of half a lemon, about 2 tbsp
½ tsp salt
For the sauce:
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
¾ tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
1 quart (or a 32 oz can) jar tomatoes, pureed
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 can full fat coconut milk
¼ tsp salt + more to taste
In a large skillet heat the oil over medium low heat. When hot add the onion and saute until completely softened and some pieces are starting to caramelize and turn dark, 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon and stir again. Pour in the tomatoes and stir well. Bring up to a boil and then turn down and simmer while preparing the cauliflower.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
To prepare the cauliflower chop into bite sized pieces and lay out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with tandoori seasoning, fresh lemon juice and salt. Toss well to combine. When the oven is hot, place cauliflower in the oven and roast until the edges of the cauliflower are beginning to caramelize and turn dark but the cauliflower is still firm, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the sauce occasionally until it thickens, about 20 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of sugar, ¼ tsp of salt and the can of full fat coconut milk(*see note). Stir well.
Once the cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and stir into the sauce. Stir well and serve hot over rice.
She also notes that if you want a thicker sauce, don’t shake your can of coconut milk and instead just use the thicker cream on top and use the thinner liquid for something else (maybe your rice!)
I have a few notes of my own for what I would do next time. Oddly enough, De loved the cauliflower and I didn’t like the texture of it at all. I’m big on texture, so I ended up boxing up my leftovers with no cauliflower. More for De! Also, I’ve never worked with tandoori before, so I had no idea it was spicy and used 1.5 heaping tablespoons on the cauliflower. De loved it, but I was chugging water and sweating. I did use an immersion blender on my finished sauce and it was a dark red-orange, not the bright color you see in her pictures, but it tastes delicious. I will definitely use this recipe again, it was delicious and tasted just like the butter chicken sauce I know and love. And let’s face, we only eat it for the sauce, the chicken is just a sideshow for this yummy dish. Oh! And I had the grate idea (you’ll get it in a minute) to grate the onion, ginger, and garlic in our salad shooter. 1/10, would not do again. So messy!!!