Saoji/Savji Tempeh(Spicy Fake Chicken Curry) Vegan

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Saoji Chicken/Mutton is a very spicy curry, a specialty of Nagpur city in central India. This curry is spicy not just because of the peppercorns, but also because of the long list of spices:) The meat mention in the title and the post gets the keyword hits from the search engines, so please bear with me. More hits = more probability of someone trying the vegan version!

I dont know why I waited this long to redo the vegan version of this recipe.. because this Saoji Masala rocks!! Try this tempeh version and you wont crave the meat ever again!

My recipe is a mix of the recipes from the following 2 links. The first link uses dry coconut and the second link uses Jowar(Sorghum) flour for the masala (spice mix).
This video is in Marathi :)

The spices can be dry roasted, grinded and kept for months or roasted in oil along with onion, blended and kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

Some other Indian curries with tempeh.. some simpler than this one:)..

  • 2 Tablespoons Organic Canola Oil
  • Spices:
  • 2 teaspoons Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 3-4 Black peppercorns (less or more depending on required spice)
  • 2 Green cardamoms
  • 2 Black cardamoms
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Whole dry red chillies (less or more according to spice)
  • 1 teaspoon Poppy seeds (khuskhus/posto)
  • 1 stone flower(Dagadphool, i dint have this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing(asofetida)
  • 1 inch stick cinnamon
  • Other Items:
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry coconut (khopra) Or Jowar flour(Sorghum)
  • 1 inch ginger chopped
  • 1 cup chopped organic Tempeh (can use Tofu or Seitan as well)
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a pan on medium heat, dry roast all the items under spices, continuously stirring) until they start turning slightly brown. (3-4 minutes).
  2. Cool grind and keep if using for later.
  3. In the same pan, add in the oil and cook the onions until golden. Add in the coconut and ginger and cook for another minute.
  4. Blend the onion mixture with the spices and cilantro using a little water into a smooth paste. My blender conked out so the curry is not as smooth. In any which way, the curry is going to blow your mind away! :)
  5. In the pan, add butter and the blended mixture, a cup of water, salt and sugar to taste. Adjust spice if needed( more black pepper for added authentic saoji taste)
  6. Add in the Tempeh and cook on low heat covered for 20-30 minutes until the curry thickens and the tempeh is cooked and double in size.
  7. Serve hot topped with any Indian flat bread(Roti, Paratha, Naan) or with Basmati Rice!.
  8. Keep a pitcher of cold water at hand for the spice shock!! :)


  1. I love tempeh even if it's just toasted so am sure I'll like this delicious looking dish!

  2. Where in Nagpur, can you buy this tempeh?

    1. I dont think Tempeh is available in Nagpur. you can make this with Tofu.


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Hi! I am Richa. I love to whip up plant-based meals which make me and hubbs swoon and not miss any animal or animal products in them. Find out more About Me here.

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