Vegan Chinese curry - this takeaway style vegan Chinese curry sauce is easy to make and tastes just like a takeout Chinese curry, but better! Serve it with vegan chicken pieces, baked tofu or stir fried vegetables.
This vegan Chinese curry is an easy, home made version of a classic British Chinese takeaway curry sauce.
I don't know how authentic it is (probably not at all!), but Chinese curry is something you will always find on the menu at Chinese takeaways in Britain; it is a great example of fusion food!
It is a mild, yellow coloured, thick curry sauce which is flavoured with Chinese five spice. This is the ingredient that gives it it's classic flavour and distinguishes it as a 'Chinese' curry sauce rather than just a plain curry sauce.
It is commonly served with chicken, vegetables, or for dunking chips in. (Chips with curry sauce is the ultimate post-drinking food!).
What Do I Need To Make Vegan Chinese Curry Sauce?:
Chinese five spice: this is essential to give the sauce that authentic Chinese takeaway curry sauce flavour. Do not omit it.
Curry powder: I use a mild curry powder as this isn't meant to be a spicy curry. Just a regular supermarket one is fine.
Turmeric: A bit of extra turmeric gives the sauce it's classic yellow colour.
Coconut milk: This isn't always included in Chinese curry sauce recipes but I think that it tastes so much better with it! It gives the sauce a nice creamy texture too. Either full fat or light will work (full fat is best though!).
Cornflour: Chinese sauces are commonly thickened with cornflour (cornstarch). You could also use arrowroot instead. Do be sure to add the cornflour slurry AFTER you have blended the sauce. Cornflour is finicky and if you blend the sauce after you have thickened it it will become runny again.
Onion, garlic and ginger: this forms the flavour base of the sauce.
Soy sauce and vegetable stock: Essential for flavour.
Sugar: Just a little bit to make the sauce taste more authentically 'chip shop'.
Butter: you can use olive oil, but I like to fry the onion and spices in vegan butter instead for extra flavour.
How To Make Vegan Chinese Curry Sauce:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
Start by gently frying a chopped onion in vegan butter until it is soft. Add grated ginger, crushed garlic, curry powder, Chinese five spice and turmeric and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
Add a tin of coconut milk, vegetable stock, soy sauce and a bit of sugar. Simmer the sauce for ten minutes.
Transfer the sauce to a blender and blitz until smooth then return it to the pan.
Mix cornflour and cold water together to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the sauce then bring it back up to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes while stirring until it has thickened.
Serve with your choice of vegetables, protein and carbs!
What To Have With Vegan Chinese Curry Sauce?:
I have deliberately left what you serve your vegan Chinese curry sauce with up to you as it is so versatile.
Commonly this would be a Chinese chicken curry, so vegan chicken style pieces work really well. Just cook them according to the instructions on the packet and add them to the sauce once they are cooked.
Baked tofu is also a great addition.
As for vegetables, pretty much anything goes but I do favour things that can be stir fried - peppers, sugarsnaps, mangetout, broccoli, pak choi, baby corn, peas, button mushrooms, carrots etc. Simply cut them up into bite-sized pieces and stir fry until tender before adding the sauce.
Sometimes I also like to add some water chestnuts and bamboo shoots (just from a tin).
Whatever you choose to use, the sauce makes enough to serve four people so plan your additions accordingly.
I generally serve it with rice, but noodles are great too!
Can I Make It In Advance?:
This vegan Chinese curry sauce will keep in the fridge for around three days.
It can also be frozen. Freeze in an airtight container for up to three months. Allow to defrost then reheat in the microwave or a pan as needed.
The Chinese five spice is what gives the sauce it's authentic takeaway flavour, do not omit it.
I like to blend my sauce so that it is completely smooth. You can skip this step if you want however.
Vary the vegetables according to whats in season. Anything that can be stir fried or simmered in the sauce will work.
Season the sauce to your own taste with more curry powder or five spice, or add some chilli sauce.
It is important to keep stirring the sauce once you have added the cornflour so you don't end up with gloopy lumps.
If you want to make this sauce gluten free it is important to note that soy sauce is generally NOT gluten free. Use tamari instead.
More Vegan Curry Recipes:
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Vegan Chinese Curry Sauce
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter (or olive oil)
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger (either fresh or from a jar)
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 4 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 ½ tsp Chinese five spice
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 400 ml (14 oz) tin of coconut milk (full fat is best but light will work too)
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 ½ Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- Heat the butter in a large pan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft.
- Add the ginger, garlic, curry powder, Chinese five spice and turmeric. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often.
- Add the coconut milk, water, soy sauce and sugar and crumble in the stock cube. Bring up to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender and blitz until it is smooth then return it to the pan.
- Place the cornflour in a small bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp cold water to form a slurry. Stir the slurry into the sauce then bring it up to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened.
- Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper then serve with your choice of stir fried vegetables and/or cooked vegan chicken pieces or baked tofu.
- Serve the sauce with your choice of stir fried vegetables/cooked protein. See post above for ideas on what to use.
- I like to blend my sauce so that it is completely smooth. You can skip this step if you want however.
- The Chinese five spice is what gives the sauce it’s authentic takeaway flavour, do not omit it.