When we sat down to our meal of Vegan Butter Chick’n last evening, we both groaned at our first bite–it was so rich-tasting and sumptuous! But when James asked me if it tasted like my memory of butter chicken, I paused for a moment and then realized I’ve been vegetarian for so long, I’ve never actually tasted butter chicken. So, though I can’t attest to this meal’s similarity to the original, I can say it’s damn delicious!
Now, I do agree that this recipe looks labour intensive, but it’s actually quite simple. The seitan chick’n–or chickwheat–does take some time, but most of that is steaming time, not labour time.
And it is most DEFINITELY worth the investment of time.
Plus, the chickwheat recipe makes two and a quarter pounds, and you’ll use only one pound for the Butter Chick’n, so you’ll have lots left over for chick’n salad sandwiches and stir-fries!
So let’s start with the chickwheat. This is basically a seitan recipe that uses chickpeas, tahini, and various spices as the wet ingredients. It’s really just a kind of hummus mixed with vital wheat gluten!
As you know, the good news about seitan is that it contains the same amount of protein as meat. The bad news is that seitan lacks an amino acid called “lysine” which meat does contain. Combining vital wheat gluten with lysine-rich foods–like legumes–addresses this problem, however; thus, this recipe, which contains both vital wheat gluten AND chickpeas, is a complete protein. Indeed a three-ounce serving will give you 42% DV (daily value) of protein and 16% DV of brain-protecting selenium.
The source recipe is from the brilliant Lacey Siomos at Avocados and Ales. Do check out her blog for some excellent vegan recipes! The changes to the recipe were made to remove any extracted oil and to add flavour–I wanted the chick’n to be a bit tasty as opposed to “a blank slate.” In the original recipe, Lacey notes, “It is a base ‘bland chick’n’ recipe. Please consider it like you would bland chicken.” Thus, I added some of the spices from Gaz Oakley’s KFC recipe.
So here we go:
Throw the following in your Vitamix and blend until SMOOOOTH:
1 can chickpeas (liquid and all!)
1/4 cup water
2 TBS tahini
2 TBS miso
1 TBS Better Than Bouillon No Chick’n Base (or vegetable base or powdered no-chick’n broth)
1 TBS onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 TBS poultry seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
While the mixture is blending, measure the following into the bowl of a stand mixer:
1 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten (255 gms)
Next, pour liquid into the stand-mixer bowl with the vital wheat gluten and mix on the lowest speed until the dough is uniform.
Let sit for fifteen minutes and then knead in the stand mixer for about eight minutes.
Next, shape the dough into a log shape and wrap tightly in parchment paper and then in tin foil.
Next, pour two cups of water into your Instant Pot, set the steamer insert in the pot, and set the wrapped seitan on the insert. Set the Instant Pot for 120 minutes on high pressure. Once the cycle is complete, do a quick release and remove the seitan loaf.
Unwrap, let cool, and pull into shreds with your hands.
And there you have it–chickwheat!
Next up is the Butter Chick’n!
The source for this recipe is Vegan Richa–another amazing blog/youtube channel created by Richa Hingle. The changes I made to this recipe are minor–I mostly wanted to remove any extracted oil and change the tofu to seitan. I was tempted to add the spices into the blender with the tomatoes, but then remembered I once read that with Indian food, the spices are usually added toward the end of the cooking period. I also doubled the recipe (and I’m SO glad I did because it is so delicious–the kind of meal you could serve to company!).
Vegan Butter Chick’n
Spray a non-stick pan with a bit of oil and saute until the garlic turns a bit brown:
- 6 TBS chopped garlic
- 2 pieces of cinnamon bark
- 2 bay leaves
Meanwhile, blend until smooth in the Vitamix:
- 1 28-ounce can of tomatoes
- 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger
- 1 serrano pepper
Pour the mixture into the pan and simmer for a few minutes.
While the tomatoes are simmering, blend the following in the Vitamix:
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup water
Once the tomato sauce has thickened a bit, add the cashew mixture.
- 1 TBS Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp date syrup
While the sauce is simmering, blend in the Magic Bullet:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 one-inch chunk of ginger
- 1 TBS smoked paprika
- 1 TBS garam masala
- 1/4 cup water
Pour into a non-stick pan and add:
- 1 pound of chickwheat shreds
Saute until the chickwheat is nicely browned.
Add the chickwheat to the sauce, stir well to combine and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
Serve over brown basmati rice and top with matchsticks of ginger and serrano pepper and some chopped cilantro.
And there you have it: delicious Vegan Butter Chick’n!!
It’s a perfect meal for a lazy, snowy Denman Island day….
….when all you want to do is stay in bed…
The song of the day is Josh Ritter’s “Kathleen” because I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head for the past several days. Whenever I think of the song, I think of my mother, the former Kathleen Gallagher, beautiful breaker of hearts in the early 1940s.
And we woke up to snow this morning and my first thought was to call the lovely Kathleen…because I always call her when it snows. She had an inordinate fear of my driving in the snow, so we had a running joke where I’d call her to say, “Guess what, mum!! It’s snowing….and I’M DRIVING!!”
I last saw her only a couple of weeks ago when I was in Vancouver, but I’ve been fretting about her a bit because she has a bug that’s been going around her assisted living facility…which is likely why I can’t get this song out of my head.