This easy, 20 minute Vegan Chinese Curry is loaded with healthy vegetables, vegan chicken, and lots of tasty sauce! Enjoy it over rice, noodles, on its own, and feed a large family or enjoy leftovers, since like most curry the flavors get even better the next day!
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for details.
Hey Internet, summer seems like a strange time for curry. Curry is usually a warming, comforting dish that’s perfect for the cooler months. But I had an intense craving, so I had to satisfy it!
I was browsing through different kinds of curries, and kind of jumped down an information rabbit hole, which happens to me honestly kind of often. Researching food is something I like, lol.
I found Chinese curry, and it was interesting to me because I hadn’t really considered curry as a Chinese dish.
Curry was primarily developed in the southern parts of India, though it originally only referred to one dish. The name curry has now become synonymous with saucy vegetable and meat dishes with curry-type spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, ginger, etc.).
Although curry is not an integral part of a typical Chinese diet like it may be in Indian diets, it is somewhat common in parts of southern China and the components were introduced by the Cantonese.
Now, this curry recipe is more of an inspired-by type of recipe, not authentic necessarily considering I didn’t add meat. But it is absolutely delicious and easy to make, and definitely different than any curry you might be used to.
To make this dish quick and easy, we’ll be taking a few shortcuts too (that you absolutely do not have to take), such as store-bought curry powder and 5-spice powder, and vegan chicken broth.
Ready to dig in?
What You’ll Need
Let’s start with the spices, because they totally make this dish!
So traditionally, Chinese curry powder is typical curry powder you might find anywhere, but with the addition of star anise and cinnamon. I didn’t have access to that, so I used store-bought curry powder with Chinese 5-spice, which does include star anise and cinnamon.
If you don’t like things spicy, you can use a mild curry powder (they are often sold in mild, medium, or hot), or you can make your own non-spicy curry powder using turmeric, coriander, and cumin--none of these should be spicy.
Chinese 5-spice powder is also not spicy, but it can be challenging to find. If you can’t find it, you can make your own using star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and Szechuan peppercorns. You can substitute black peppercorns for the Szechuan if you need to.
I actually order all my spices from The Spice House. You can get your spices cheaper if you order a flat pack (cheaper to ship as well) and refill your existing spice jars. Here’s a link for a discount with The Spice House.
So let’s move onto the sauce. The sauce is actually just the spices + broth.
For broth, I made vegan chicken broth using my favorite kitchen shortcut, Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. You can also use carton vegan chicken broth or just use vegetable broth.
For veggies, you can really use whatever you like. Based on my research, I used garlic, ginger, bell pepper, snow peas, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and potatoes. It was unclear whether onions were traditional or not, but I like them so I added white onions at the beginning and green onions at the end. Use whatever veggies you like and omit the ones you don’t!
Note that if you do not like spicy food, go light on the ginger as it can have a bit of a kick to it.
Finally, if you want to add vegan chicken, I used Butler soy curls to create a delicious chicken texture that, when soaked in the vegan chicken broth, actually tasted a lot like chicken!
Instead of soy curls, you could use tofu or tempeh.
For a non-soy protein boost, you could just use chickpeas or seitan chunks.
I also served this curry over Jasmine rice -- any rice would be great, as would noodles or anything else you’d like to serve this curry with.
Tips for Making Vegan Chinese Curry
- I recommend prepping all your ingredients beforehand so you aren’t stressed while cooking, especially when it comes time to add the spices, as we’ll toast them a bit first.
- Using soy curls for vegan chicken like me? Soak them in vegan chicken broth instead of water for a few minutes to rehydrate them, then squeeze out some of the liquid before cooking them.
- If using soy curls, dry-fry them in the skillet for a few minutes and then remove them and add them back in at the very end. They’ll soak up any excess curry liquid and they won’t disintegrate.
- To keep this recipe oil-free, I saute my onions in water--you can use broth or oil if you like. I let the onions start to stick a bit, then add a splash of water and repeat for 3 minutes.
- After the onion is cooked I add the garlic and ginger and saute those for a minute.
- When it comes time to add the spices, scrape the veggies to the side of the pan and add the spices straight to the pan. Stir them around for about 30 seconds until they start to clump--then add the broth and potatoes.
- You can add your other veggies whenever you’d like -- for softer veggies, add them at the same time as the potato. I like my bell peppers, snow peas, and water chestnuts to still have a bit of crunch, so I added them after the potato was cooked through.
- If you feel the curry needs salt, add it at the end, as some of the salty flavor can cook away if you add it too early.
Serve the curry over rice or noodles and sprinkle with fresh green onion and or thai basil. If you like it spicy, add a shake of chili flakes.
Perfect for Meal Prep
This vegan Chinese curry is perfect for meal prep. Curry flavors develop and marry together over time, so store this curry in the fridge after it cools.
Make up a big batch of rice and store it separately. This will make for easy and quick lunches or dinners on busier days.
This curry also freezes fantastically!
You can also freeze cooked rice. My best tip for keeping it soft is to let the rice defrost and then add a tablespoon of water to it when reheating. This re-steams it and softens it considerably.
Other Flavor-Packed Vegan Dishes
I love flavor, so I’ve got a whole host of other delicious vegan recipes to recommend! For your next quick dinner, try one of these:
- Vegan Orange Chicken
- 15-minute Garlic Noodles
- Vegan Beef and Broccoli
- Rasta Pasta
- 15-minute Veggie Lo Mein
- Chickpea Florentine Pasta
- Weeknight Vegetable Curry
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This Vegan Chinese Curry is:
- Spicy -- easy to make mild, though
- Surprisingly healthy
- Perfect for meal prep
- And oh so delicious!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!