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Tofu Butter ‘Chicken’

This recipe from Max La Manna is the ultimate meat-free take on the classic curry butter chicken. With a creamy sauce and plenty of protein-packed tofu, this irresistible dish will head straight to the top of your list of favourite vegan meals.

From the book


A fan favourite, this is one of my most popular dishes with over 4 million views on my social media channels! Pressing the tofu removes excess water, and coating it with cornflour gives it a thin, crunchy exterior when it’s baked until golden in the oven. Paired with a vibrant, creamy sauce, it’s winner winner (tofu) chicken dinner!

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For the tofu:
450g extra-firm tofu
2 tbsp cornflour
For the sauce:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds or ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
pinch of salt and black pepper
3 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 x 400g tin full-fat coconut milk
To serve:
toasted coconut flakes
yoghurt (I use coconut yoghurt)
fresh coriander
fluffy basmati rice
Flatbreads (page 206)


Cut the tofu in half. Wrap each half in a clean tea towel. Stack something heavy on top – such as a weighted pan – and leave for 10–15 minutes to press the liquid from the tofu.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Tear the tofu into smaller pieces to resemble pieces of chicken. Place the tofu in a mixing bowl with cornflour and gently toss to coat the tofu pieces. Spread out the tofu pieces on the baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes, until the edges start to brown, flipping halfway through.

Meanwhile, in a food processor blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste. In a large frying pan over medium heat, toast the spices for 1–2 minutes until fragrant then stir in the paste, and cook for 1 minute. Add the butter, salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 3–4 minutes until the onion mixture is soft. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute.

Pour in the coconut milk, stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.

5 When the tofu is brown and crispy, take the sauce off the heat and add the baked tofu. Serve with toasted coconut flakes, yoghurt, fresh coriander, fluffy rice and flatbreads.

Tips: Some might say that the leftovers are better the next day. More bulk? Add roasted chickpeas and a handful of leafy greens.

Fun fact: It’s said that in Delhi in the early 20th century, butter chicken was a way to use up leftover chicken – a perfect fit for a cookbook that’s all about cooking the food you already have.


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From the book: You Can Cook This!: Simple, satisfying, sustainable veg recipes

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