Amazing Vegan Tikka Masala! It's an Indian-spiced masala sauce stewed with marinated soy curls and served over cilantro rice for a delicious vegan and gluten-free meal. Serve it with homemade naan and salad.
If you know anything about me, then you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE curry. Give me all the curries and I am one happy gal. Perhaps, that’s why you’ll find so many vegan curry recipes on my blog.
I'm also REALLY digging soy curls recently. They are the perfect low-processed chicken replacement for Chicken Caesar Salad and Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. And since those recipes have been such a huge hit at my home and yours, I decided to give it another go with this vegan chicken tikka masala.
I think you’re going to love this vegan Tikka Masala as much as I do. Its:
- rich and creamy
- packed with protein
- hearty and wholesome
- spiced to PERFECTION
Ready to take a closer look? Let’s dive in!
What is Tikka Masala?
Traditionally served with chicken, Tikka Masala is an Indian dish made with roasted and marinated chicken stewed together in a rich curry sauce that is spiced with garam masala, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. It is served over rice or with flatbread.
Since this dish is traditionally made with chicken, the first step is figuring out the best plant-based chicken replacement. Of course, I turn to my go-to chicken substitute: soy curls.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
Chana Masala is super simple to make. It can be made in two simple steps, in just one pot, and in about 30 minutes!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Oil- I recommend coconut oil but any high heat oil will do.
- Soy Curls - If you can't find soy curls at your grocery store, they can be found online (<<affiliate link). For a soy-free option, use cauliflower florets.
- Vegetable Broth
- Spices - You will need garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and salt.
- Fresh Ginger
- Tomato Sauce
- Cashew Cream - Cashew cream is a combination of raw cashews, water, lemon juice, and salt.
- Fresh Cilantro
In addition, I highly recommend a Vitamix to make the cashew cream. These blenders can be pricy, but my Vitamix is, by far, the most used gadget in my kitchen. Most other blenders are simply not powerful enough to create a cream out of cashews. (<<affiliate links)
As I said, this recipe is very straight forward. It’s a matter of cooking your rice, sautéing your soy curls chicken, and cooking it all together in a rich and creamy Masala sauce.
Step One- Make the Cashew Cream
Begin by making the cashew cream. When it comes to cashew cream, you really should use a high-powered blender. I recommend a Vitamix, which is what I use. These blenders can be pricy, but my Vitamix is, by far, the most used gadget in my kitchen. Most other blenders are simply not powerful enough to create a cream out of cashews and you’ll end up with gritty cashew cream.
With a Vitamix, you can just throw your ingredients into the blender and blend for about 30 seconds until you have a smooth, delicious cream. So easy!
Step Two - Marinate the Soy Curls
Whisk together the vegetable broth and spices for the marinade. Transfer to a shallow baking dish and add the soy curls. Make sure the soy curls are fully submerged so that they can properly rehydrate. Marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Step Three - Make the Sauce
Strain the soy curls, reserving the marinade, and sauté them in a heavy-bottomed pot. Sauté for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown on all sides. Add the marinade and bring to a heavy simmer. Simmer until all the marinade has evaporated. Transfer the soy curls to a plate and return the pot to the stovetop.
In the same pot sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Add the spices, tomato sauce, and water, stirring to combine. Return the soy curls to the pot along with the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, until everything is cooked all the way through. Stir in the cashew cream and cilantro and remove from heat.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Serve this dish immediately over rice, quinoa, or for a low-carb option, serve over cauliflower rice.
Storing - Store leftover curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To eat leftovers, gently reheat the stir fry over the stove or in the microwave until heated all the way through.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure the skillet and oil are very hot before adding the soy curls. This helps make sure they get a nice brown, somewhat crispy coating to them.
- Make the rice fresh when you serve the curry. If you want to make the curry the day before serving, you can, just make the rice when you intend to serve the curry. Rice tastes best fresh and often doesn’t store well.
- For a low carb option, serve this dish over cauliflower rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is!
Soy curls are a dehydrated soy product made by soaking the beans in fresh water and then constantly stirring them while they cook. They then get dried at low temperatures which hold in the nutrients making soy curls a fiber and omega-3 rich food. Also, they are delicious.
Most well-stocked grocery stores carry soy curls in the bulk section. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, pick some up online. (<<affiliate link)
No. You can also use cauliflower as a chicken substitute for this recipe. If you are doing that, I recommend using this recipe.
I do love cashew cream for this curry but if you don’t have a Vitamix or access to raw cashews, the creaminess of this recipe can be substituted with full-fat coconut milk.
More Vegan Curry Recipes
- Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry
- Eggplant and Chickpea Curry
- Thai Sweet Potato Curry
- Thai Green Curry
- Pumpkin Peanut Curry with Tofu
Check out all my vegan curry recipes for more dinner inspiration.
Vegan Tikka Masala with Soy Curls
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup (uncooked) Jasmine rice,
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- Begin by making the cashew cream. In a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, combine all the ingredients for the cashew cream, placing the water at the bottom. Blend on high until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the Masala Soy Curls except for the cooking oil- you will use that to sauté the soy curls later. Marinate the soy curls for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make rice. Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add rice, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes until all the water has evaporated and the rice is fully cooked. When the rice is done, stir in 1 tablespoon minced cilantro and set aside.
- Add two tablespoons of cooking oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Strain the soy curls, reserving the marinade, and add them to the pot to sauté. Sauté for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown on all sides. Add the marinade and bring to a heavy simmer. Simmer until all the marinade has evaporated. Transfer the soy curls to a plate and return the pot to the stovetop.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to the pot. Sauté the onions for 4-5 minutes, until they are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 60 seconds. Once fragrant, add the spices, tomato sauce, and water, stirring to combine. Return the soy curls to the pot along with the tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, until everything is cooked all the way through. Stir in the cashew cream and cilantro and remove from heat.
- Serve over cilantro rice with fresh naan.
- Do I have to use soy curls? No. You can also use cauliflower as a chicken substitute for this recipe. If you are doing that, I recommend using this recipe.
- Can this recipe be made without cashew cream? I do love cashew cream for this curry but if you don’t have a Vitamix or access to raw cashews, the creaminess of this recipe can be substituted with full-fat coconut milk.