How to make and use vegan butter

Having learned to cook Indian food from my mother in law, it was particularly fun to showcase a vegan butter “chicken” recipe for the recent Sunday Brunch episode on Channel 4 which aired on May 8th.  The first step was to re-create a creamy butter without the use of any animal products.  I made my butter with coconut oil (using a refined coconut oil which has been bleached will result in an odourless butter, but I like to keep my food natural), agar agar flakes, grapeseed oil, coconut milk and apple cider vinegar.  The other trick to delicious Indian food is to toast your spices for 1-2 minutes on medium heat before making the gravy.  Lastly, I’ve substituted the chicken with roasted cauliflower which is a deliciously versatile vegetable!

Serves 4

Vegan Butter

  • 95g coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 180g coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp agar flakes


Butter “Chicken”

  • 70g ginger, grated
  • 70g garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 2-3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 4 x 400g chopped tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 head (750g) cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 200ml soy yoghurt


Butter Method

  1. Add vinegar to the milk. Stir and leave to curdle for 10 minutes.
  2. Boil milk and agar flakes stirring until flakes dissolved.
  3. If coconut is solid, melt over water bath until liquid or in microwave for 30 secs.
  4. Add all ingredients in blender and blend on high for 3 mins.
  5. Pour into a silicon mold, place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about an hour.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (or freeze for up to 1 month).vegan_butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  2. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and toss in olive oil, 1 tbsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bake on parchment lined baking tray for 20-25 mins until golden brown.
  3. Grate the ginger and garlic.
  4. Mix 1 tbsp garam masala, cinnamon, cardamom and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a small bowl.
  5. Blend canned tomatoes using hand blender or blender.
  6. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat vegan butter on medium high heat. Add spices and cook 1-2 mins until fragrant. Then add garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 mins. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat until for 45 mins stirring occasionally.
  7. Add soy yoghurt and more vegan butter (if desired) and cook for another 5 mins.


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