Butter chicken is one of those dishes that, even if you don't eat Indian food often, you've probably heard of. We only have a couple of spots in my hometown that serve traditional Indian dishes, so it's not a type of cuisine that I have often. But I must admit that I LOVE how many spices are involved! The number and amount of spice that gets added to this dish is just sort of astounding to me. I mean, I feel like I season home cooked meals quite a bit, but it doesn't hold a candle to this. So I sort of love that this gets me out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.
Oh, as you probably already guessed from the title, this isn't butter chicken exactly. I've changed out the chicken (and consequently the preparation has changed quite a bit too) for tempeh. I've changed up a couple other things too mainly based on what's available in my usual grocery store. I've also got a few thoughts on how you could make this non-dairy if you so desire. 🙂
Last random note before we get into it: if you've never tried black rice, you must! It's a new obsession at our house. Although I think this dish is amazing when served with white rice and naan, you've got to try it with black rice. If they don't sell it at your local grocery store, check online.
Butter Tempeh with Black Rice, serves two to three.
As I alluded to in the text, this is a slightly adapted Butter Chicken recipe originally seen in NYT Cooking
8 oz. tempeh
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 small shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup cream
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
sliced almonds and cilantro for the top
1 cup cooked black rice for serving
First cut the tempeh into small rectangles or cubes. I like to do this on a slant, as I think it helps it hold together during cooking.
In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, and cumin. Fold in the tempeh so each piece gets coated in the yogurt business. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the butter and olive oil and melt over medium/high heat. Wait until the butter is all melted and beginning to foam, and then add in the chopped shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to look translucent.
Add in the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional minute or two on medium/low heat until the mixture becomes very fragrant.
Whisk in the vegetable stock, cream, and tomato paste so a thick sauce begins to form. Then add in the yogurt tempeh and stir together. Allow this to cook for 6-8 minutes on medium/low heat so everything gets warm and mingles together.
Top with almond slices and cilantro. Serve hot over some warm black rice. Yum! This is such a delicious dinner, and if you end up with leftovers, it makes a great next-day lunch too (store the tempeh separate from the rice).
This is already vegetarian, but if you wanted to try a vegan (aka non dairy version), you could try swapping out the butter for vegan butter, the Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt, and the cream for coconut milk.
Thanks for letting me share a new favorite at our house. xx. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.