Butter Chickpeas (Vegetarian Butter chicken)

Butter Chickpeas is a vegetarian version of the classic Butter Chicken. An easy, loaded with flavor, butter chickpea curry will rival any butter chicken that you have ever tasted!!! A must try recipe.

white and black bowls filled with butter chickpeas, white rice and naan, garnished with cilantro and a hand trying to take a bite from one of teh black bowls.

Remember the butter chicken pasta that I shared few days ago? We have come up with another creative twist to the all time favorite butter chicken.

BUTTER CHICKPEAS

What is Butter Chickpeas?

In simpler terms, it is butter chicken made with chickpeas instead of chicken. Clever, right? (A humble brag😊). It tastes exactly like butter chicken but made vegetarian. You need to taste to believe.

Canned chickpeas are one my all time favorite pantry staple when looking quick weeknight dinner ideas. It is readily stocked in the pantry, ready to go in matter of seconds, healthy, packed with protein and incredibly versatile.

Main ingredients:

Butter – Ain’t butter chickpeas without butter! You can use salted or unsalted butter, but make sure that you adjust salt accordingly.

Onion, ginger and garlic – No Indian recipe is complete without these three.

Tomato – Tomato puree is one of the key ingredients in the recipe. Traditional butter chicken recipes call for blanched and pureed tomatoes, however this recipe uses canned tomato sauce for convenience.

Spices – Cumin seeds, kasoori methi, cayenne, coriander, turmeric and garam masala powders

Cashews – Powdered cashews not only adds creaminess but helps to thicken the sauce.

Chickpeas – I have used canned chickpeas, but you love to cook your own then use 3 cups of cooked chickpeas instead.

Heavy cream – It makes the sauce silky smooth, creamy and luxurious. Do not replace with milk.

Honey – It adds sweetness and makes the dish finger licking good

Food color – Orange food color

a black bowl filled with butter chickpeas curry and white rice with a spoon. Another white bowl with the same chickpeas and naan instead

Method:

(with step by step photos)

Heat a pan with butter and toast cumin seeds. Add chopped onion, garlic and ginger and saute until golden brown. Add all spices and cook (stirring continuously) for about couple of minutes, to toast the spices.

Stir in tomato sauce, water, cashew powder and cooked chickpeas, cover and cook in low flame for about 10 minutes (making sure to stir every few minutes to avoid burning). Uncover, stir in heavy cream, honey and food color. Simmer for about 2 minutes and take off heat.

How to serve Indian butter chickpeas?

  • Naan, to scoop up all the luscious sauce
  • Cooked rice
  • Crusty bread
  • Parathas
  • Rotis

Storage instructions:

Leftover butter chickpeas curry can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

To reheat – Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat in microwave, until hot.

a orange enamel cast iron skillet placed on a blue napkin is filled with butter chickpeas recipe and garnished with cilantro

Pro tips to make butter chickpeas recipe:

Color : Traditional butter chicken always has an iconic deep orange color that is achieved by adding orange food color. However, the food color can be absolutely skipped and it will not affect the flavor in any way.

Cashew powder – Grind raw cashews into a fine powder using any dry spice grinder or coffee grinder. Stop the grinder every few seconds and give a good shake and continue grinding. This step is important, since cashew powder will start clumping up due to the high fat content.

Cayenne – Cayenne is Indian chili powder.


Spicy – If you like it spicier, then increase cayenne pepper.

Tomato Sauce – Tomato sauce is found in cans in the canned tomato section of your grocery store. DO NOT USE jarred MARINARA SAUCE / PASTA SAUCE / PIZZA SAUCE instead.

Kasoori methi – Kasoori methi is dried fenugreek leaves and is one the essential ingredient in an authentic butter chicken recipe. However, it can be skipped if you don’t have it stocked.

Salt – Salt depends on the type of tomato sauce used and your taste preference. Use accordingly.

bowls of creamy Indian chickpeas curry with white rice and naan, a small bowl with fresh cilantro and a tiny bowl of red pepper flakes

Keeping track of all the chickpeas recipes?

Air Fryer Chickpeas 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas that tastes like Tandoori Chicken

Mexican Chickpeas

4-ingredient Salsa Chickpeas

Instant Pot Chickpea Curry with Beets 

Chickpea Tacos with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Creamy Chickpea Salad

Instant Pot Thai Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Healthiest Chocolate Hummus

Yield: 4

Butter Chickpeas

Butter Chickpeas

Butter Chickpeas is a vegetarian version of the classic Butter Chicken. An easy, loaded with flavor butter chickpea curry will rival any butter chicken that you have ever tasted!!! A must try recipe. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes

Ingredients

Group-1

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped onion ( about 1 large)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided (or to taste)

Group-2

Group-3

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 to 2 pinches orange food color (optional)

Instructions

    1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and let melt.

    2. Add cumin seeds and let it toast for about 10 seconds and then stir in chopped onion, crushed garlic, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until onions get golden brown color (4-5 minutes).

    3. Add kasoori methi, coriander powder, cayenne and garam masala powder. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted well (don't let it burn).

    4. Add tomato sauce, cashew powder and chickpeas, stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes (stirring every 3-4 minutes to make sure that it does not burn in the bottom).

    5. Uncover, stir in heavy cream, honey, orange food color and remaining salt. Let simmer for about 2 minutes.

    6. Remove from heat and let curry rest for few minutes before serving.

    Delicious served with naan and/or rice

Notes

Tomato Sauce - Tomato sauce is found in cans in the canned tomato section of your grocery store. DO NOT USE jarred MARINARA SAUCE / PASTA SAUCE / PIZZA SAUCE instead.

Kasoori methi - Kasoori methi is dried fenugreek leaves and is one the essential ingredient in an authentic butter chicken recipe. However, it can be skipped if you don't have it stocked.

Color : Traditional butter chicken is always in a iconic deep orange color that is achieved by adding orange food color. However, the food color can be absolutely skipped and it will not affect the flavor in any way.

Cashew powder – Grind raw cashews into a fine powder using any dry spice grinder or coffee grinder. Stop the grinder every few seconds and give a good shake con continue grinding. This step is important, since the cashew powder will start clumping up due to the high fat content.

Cayenne – Cayenne is Indian chili powder.

Spicy – If you like it spicier, then increase cayenne pepper.

Salt - Salt depends on the type of tomato sauce used and your taste preference. Use accordingly.

Chickpeas - Instead of canned chickpeas, use 3 cups of cooked chickpeas

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