Butter chicken is one of the most popular curries at Indian restaurants around the world. In this meatless version, aromatic golden seitan pieces simmer in a generously spiced, savory tomato-cream sauce. This dish cooks quickly and easily in a skillet on the stovetop, and takes only 30 minutes to make. Rice is a traditional accompaniment, but we had couscous for a change, along with some broccolini.


¾ cup vital wheat gluten (VWG)

3 Tbsp. garbanzo flour

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

½ cup (or slightly more) water

1/3 cup whole raw cashews

14-ounce can tomato sauce or puree

1 cup plain nondairy milk

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

2 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. coriander

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. nondairy butter, such as Miyoko’s

1 cup chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, small dice (optional)

Chopped cilantro for garnish


1. Make the seitan: In a medium bowl, whisk together the vital wheat gluten, garbanzo flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. Add the water and use a silicone spatula and your hands to bring all the ingredients together to form a soft ball. Add a little more water if the ball is too tough and rubbery.

2. On your work surface, knead this dough for a minute or two and then use your hands to roll it out to form a thin rope about 18 to 20 inches long. Suffice it to say it will not go willingly, so just keep rolling and stretching.

Slice the seitan rope into ¼-inch-thick pieces, about 32 or more total. Let rest while making the sauce.

3. Make the sauce: In your blender, on high speed, process the cashews, tomato sauce, milk, ginger, garam masala, paprika, curry powder, cumin, coriander, and salt. Process for at least 2 full minutes.

4. Heat a large sauté pan and add the butter, onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Push these vegetables to the side, turn the heat to low, and add the pieces of seitan. Cook the pieces on low heat, turning them, until both sides are golden brown. They brown quickly, so don’t walk away. Add a little more butter if needed for proper browning.

5. When the seitan pieces have browned, turn the heat as low as possible and add the sauce from your blender. Cook and stir all the ingredients together for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and hot. Add a little water if the sauce becomes too thick. Garnish with cilantro.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.