Weekday Vegetarian: Indian Butter Chickpeas

weekday vegetarian butter chickpeas photo

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

One of the things I hear from people who have become vegetarian is that they miss some of their favourite dishes from their meat eating days. If you are missing the taste and texture of a big rib-eye steak, I can't help you out, but if you miss particular sauces or rubs or marinades, you can usually make them and use a different source of protein, often tofu. I found this recipe for Butter Chicken Schnitzel which already treated the sauce as a dip rather than putting the chicken straight into it as it is made traditionally. I just made myself some chickpeas with some Indian spices and served the butter sauce along side. If you like, you can pour the sauce over top.This recipe is from Vij's at Home, Relax Honey cookbook by Vancouver chef Vikram Vij and his wife and partner Meeru Dhalwala. It's designed as a kind of east meets west recipe that would appeal to their young daughters who want chicken fingers, but with a definite Indian dipping sauce. Interestingly enough, there is no butter in this recipe for butter chicken, but Mr. Vij is a celebrated chef and cookbook author, and I am not, so who am I to say? What I can say is that in a sea of recipes for butter chicken this is a more pared down and simpler to make version than I have made in the past and was totally delicious.

I just sauteed some onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, added some sliced carrots and cooked them until almost tender. Then I added a bit of ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, a bit of cayenne and salt. Then I added a small can of drained and rinsed chickpeas and a handful of leftover rice. I stirred that all together for a few minutes until everything was heated through and then served it with the sauce. In increased the amount of tomato from 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup because I found the sauce a little bit thin.

Butter Chicken Sauce

1/4 cup cooking oil
2 to 3 tbsp crushed garlic
1 small can tomato paste or 1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tbsp if you don't use garam masala)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepepr
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1. Heat oil in a medium pot for 1 minute. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until golden. It will become slightly sticky, but keep stirring. Add tomato paste or crushed tomatoes and stir well. then reduce the heat to low and add paprika, turmeric, salt, cumin, garam masala, coriander and cayenne. Stir well and saute for 4 minutes. Stir in water and cream.

More Indian Recipes
Indian Spiced Lentils
Chickpeas in sauce
Bombay Aloo

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