Butter Tempeh with Black Rice

Butter Tempeh with Black Rice (via abeautifulmess.com) Butter Tempeh with Black Rice (via abeautifulmess.com) 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.

Butter Tempeh with Black Rice (via abeautifulmess.com)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. πŸ™‚

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.

SpicesButter 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.

Butter tempeh recipeIn 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.

Butter Tempeh with Black Rice (via abeautifulmess.com) 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.Β 

  • I miss the book club although I completely understand how much work that must have been. If you have time it would still be nice to see what you are reading and maybe what your favorite books from last year are. Thanks for all of your hard work and inspiration.

  • Hey Emma, may I ask where you got those cute spoons in the photo with the spices? I’m looking for new flatware and I really love those! Thanks. :o)

  • This looks delicious! I don’t have tempeh readily available; do you think I could use extra firm tofu instead?

  • I’d love to do a round up of what I’m reading every now and againβ€”thanks for asking. πŸ™‚

    Also, currently I’m reading The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (I love his books and this is the 3rd in a series).



  • Yes, I would bake it first. Check the archives for my Pineapple Fried Rice for a easy method for baking tofu if you don’t already know.

    Love extra firm tofu. πŸ™‚


  • I was going to ask about the spice spoons too, thanks for the info. I really have enjoyed seeing your design sense work its way into your food, what a pretty plating!

  • I love the recipes! I am a visual learner and I wish you guys had a video for some of these vegetarian dishes! I’m newly vegetarian and would like to learn more recipes. Thanks for inspiring!

  • Love that you’re doing more vegan friendly dishes these days, I recently made the switch so it’s really useful!! Are you thinking about converting? I found I miss eggs most, there’s no good sub for a dippy fried egg πŸ™

  • Living in India, Indian cuisine found its way in my daily life, though because it can be very time consuming to cook at time, I do still cook a lot of continental dishes as well (something that tend to puzzle the old ladies around as they imagine I must only cook Indian for my Indian husband).

    Butter Chicken is one of my favourite though, mostly because compared to other dishes it is fairly fast to cook, and the marinating time can be done in advance. I usually blitz my red onions to a paste before cooking though, it makes for a creamier, velvetier gravy.
    If you want to add a bit more depth of flavour to the dish, try adding a pinch of dry fenugreek leaves to the marrinade, this is usually the secret weapon in most Indian restaurant to get the flavour to pop even more πŸ™‚

  • I made this tonight (complete with black rice, which I love) and it was great! I added a smidge of salt at the end, which made it pop. I’m sure I”ll be making it again.

  • When i read this recipe, i knew i would try it, it seems so tasty.
    I did yesterday and… it will become one of my top 5 favorite indian recipes!
    This one is one of the greatest i’ve ever tried and it also reconcile me with tempeh !!
    Thanks Emma for this great share !

  • When I saw this recipe, I knew I would try it.
    I did yesterday and oh my ! It’s in my top 5 best indian recipes.
    You even reconcile me with tempeh.
    Amazing recipe and a huge thank you Emma for this share !!!

  • Emma, I am so excited to see a curry with tempeh!
    However, I have only ever eaten crispy fried tempeh; don’t you pre-fry it here?
    doesn’t it get mushy?


  • This looks really delicious!! I’ve been vegetarian since I was 12, but recently became almost vegan (still eat yogurt). What would the vegan alternative be to cream in this recipe?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.