Vegan Chick’n Tikka Masala…and Adam Driver

It’s been snowing for a few days at Sideways Cottage, but we’re very cozy in our little cabin with no place to be but here. Indeed, our only real concern is that the electricity could go out at any moment, so I spent the afternoon making a big pot of sumptuous chickwheat tikka masala and baking pita bread just in case. It’s always good to have something that can be easily heated up on the woodstove. And don’t worry…we’ll get to Adam Driver in a moment.

So cozy!

My usual tikka masala is made with cauliflower and chickpeas in place of the traditional chicken, but I actually had a half-pound of chickwheat I’d made before all our guests arrived in late December/early January, so I decided to try the dish with that instead. I kept about half the cauliflower in the recipe, but ditched the chickpeas. The result was brilliant–really, really delicious!!

If you recall, chickwheat is a form of seitan made with vital wheat gluten and a kind of runny hummus, flavoured with poultry spices and vegan chick’n broth powder. When you rip it apart, the loaf really looks like chicken…and it tastes pretty close too! I feed chickwheat-based dishes to omni guests up here on the regular–in the form of chick’n enchiladas, butter chick’n, chick’n pot pies, barbecue chick’n sammies. Everyone gobbles it up without a squawk (har har). I can now add chick’n tikka masala to the list.

So, here we go with delicious….

Chickwheat Tikka Masala

Mix in the Vitamix:

  • 1 TBS coriander
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (if you use smoked paprika, you don’t need to include this)
  • 1 TBS dehydrated cilantro
  • 1 TBS Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 2 TBS sambal oelek
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 serrano pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger
  • 28 ounces fresh, chopped tomatoes (or 1 28-ounce can)
  • 1 can coconut milk


  • 1 onion, chopped

Once, the onion is translucent, add…

  • 1/2 cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1/2 lb. shredded chickwheat
  • 1 chopped red pepper

…and saute for a few more minutes until the chickwheat is nicely browned.

Next, add the contents of the blender and…

  • 1 cup frozen peas

Stir it all up, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer until the cauliflower is soft (but not mushy–you want it al dente).

Once it’s ready, stir in…

  • 2 TBS lime juice

And there you go! Serve it up with brown basmati rice, chutney, and freshly baked pita bread…

Tikka Masala on Brown Basmati Rice with some of James’ Plum Chutney

We’ve decided to once again attempt to watch all the movies nominated for Oscars this year. We did this last January–it was a bit of a slog because the list included so many films we would never normally watch, but it’s always good to stretch yourself a bit. Anyway, so far, we’ve watched Marriage Story (excellent!), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (visually evocative, but somewhat vacuous), and tonight’s offering, Bombshell (promising, but ultimately, a bit disappointing).

So the song for the day is Adam Driver singing “Being Alive” (from the play Company) in Marriage Story. I love the way his character–Charlie–starts singing the song almost as a joke when the pianist begins to play the song. He even does all the interjections of the other characters from the play…at first. And then gradually, he’s singing as though his life depends on it and seems to come to an understanding of exactly what he’s lost with the end of his marriage. It’s a stunning moment.

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