Vegan Jackfruit Butter Chicken

Since becoming a vegetarian and cutting dairy out of my diet there are a few things that I crave every now and then, butter chicken is one of them. I have to admit, it isn’t the chicken I crave, it’s the rich bold spice flavoured sauce (I’m a total sauce girl!) that has me craving this traditional Indian dish.

A few months before making this recipe I’d made “pulled pork” with jackfruit and loved the texture and taste of this new ingredient. Naturally, I decided to give it a try with a few curry recipes (they turned out ok), but what I really longed for was a saucy dish that the jackfruit could soak up. Thus, Vegan Jackfruit Butter Chicken was born!

My hubby isn’t a huge fan of jackfruit… fortunately, this dish can be made both vegan and carnivorous friendly by cooking a side of chicken breast and adding the sauce separately. I love a dish that’s versatile for both meat-eaters and vegetarians because accommodating these differences shouldn’t be a daunting task. See below for my chicken option.

Side note: I took these photos the day after I originally made this dish and the jackfruit sopped up most of the sauce. This recipe is much saucier than the photos show, mmm sauce!

Vegan Jackfruit Butter Chicken

Vegan | Dairy-Free | Gluten-Free

Note: If you plan to make this recipe with half jackfruit and half chicken start cooking your chicken before making the sauce (see the below “chicken option” for details).

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp Cumin
2 Whole Cardamon Pods
½ Tsp Chili Flakes
¼ Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Can (400ml) Coconut Milk
2 Cups Crushed Tomatoes

1- 2 Cans of Jackfruit (1 if your planning to make the half chicken option, 2 for full vegan)

To Serve:
2 or 3 Green Onions, diced
Cooked Rice or Quinoa

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the fresh ginger, Garam Masala, cumin, cardamom pods, chilli flakes, and cinnamon. Mix well and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir again. Let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

While your sauce simmers drain the jackfruit and rinse it under cold water. Break the jackfruit into smaller chunks and then shred with a fork to break apart the little fibres of the fruit. I find shredding gives the fruit the best ‘meat-like’ consistency, plus it provides more surface area to soak up all that saucy goodness.

At this point, if you plan to turn this dish into a double duty meal, add 1/3 to 1/2 the sauce into the pan with the cooked chicken (see below for chicken recipe) and add the jackfruit to the pan with the remaining sauce.

Simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes.

REMEMBER to remove the cardamom pods before serving (or before adding the jackfruit/chicken, it’s easier to find them this way), cause a big mouthful of cardamom pod is not a pleasant experience.

Serve hot with rice or quinoa and top with chopped green onion.


Chicken Option

(Start before making the sauce)

1 large Chicken Breast
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Water

Rub the raw chicken with olive oil and season with Garam Masala, salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken in an oven proof pan with a splash of water. Cook at 350F for 30 – 35 mins.

Make your sauce and jackfruit while the chicken cooks (see above).

Remove the chicken from the oven and shred with a fork. You want the chicken to be JUST cooked and still very moist as you’re going to add it to the sauce to simmer and it will continue to cook.

Divide 1/3 – 1/2 of the butter chicken sauce into the pan with your shredded chicken and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice or quinoa.


Sprouted Tip:

Store your ginger in the freezer. Frozen ginger is easier to grate and will keep for up to 9 months in an airtight bag or container.

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