Butter Chicken and Dahl

The local paper (Cleveland’s own Plain Dealer), for the last two years has come out with the top 100 restaurants in Northeast Ohio. When it first came out, my wife and I decided that every time we decided to eat out, we’d try to choose from the list until we had been to each of them. Our initial cut showed that we had already been to only 5 on the list. Pitiful. Shameful. For someone who loves good food, I was embarrassed. Then I looked at the list and determined that very few served chicken nuggets and realized that the last 15 years of my eating out was determined by availability of that single menu item. So began our quest.

We don’t eat out much, but really took the challenge to heart when we did. One of the restaurants on the list, in fact the one closest to our home (2 miles away), was an Indian one.

I want to like Indian food. I really do, but so far it hasn’t clicked for me. I am not a big curry fan, so have tried making dishes without it. I have made main dishes and side dishes and while I have not thought them bad, there is nothing that keeps me coming back. We attended the restaurant and again, what we had was good, but not great.

Recently I decided to try my hand again. I decided to make a non-curry main dish, Butter Chicken, and as I had some lentils on hand, Dahl.

The chicken looks very complex as the ingredient list goes on and on, but it is actually very easy.

In the end, my youngest declared that the chicken was underspiced but not bad. My eldest liked the Dahl. My view, it fell in line with other Indian dishes, it wasn’t bad but not sure I’d make it again soon.

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Prep Time: 10 Min | Cook Time: 25 Min | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: easy


  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent.

Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf.

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.

Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Nutritional Info:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 408 | Total Fat: 27.8g | Cholesterol: 107mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-makhani-indian-butter-chicken/

Spicy Indian Dahl


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • salt to taste


Cook the lentils by boiling or pressure cooking until lentils are soft. (Pressure cooking is faster.)

In a skillet heat the oil and add mustard seeds.

When mustard seeds begin to flutter, add onions, ginger, jalapeno peppers, and garlic. Saute until the onions and garlic are golden brown.

Add coriander and cumin. Add chopped tomatoes. Saute the mixture well until tomatoes are well cooked.

Add water. Boil 6 minutes. Add cooked lentils, stirring well. Add salt to taste, stirring well. Add finely chopped cilantro and remove from heat. Serve hot.

Nutritional Info:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 209 | Total Fat: 5.7g | Cholesterol: 0mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database

Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spicy-Indian-Dahl/Detail.aspx

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chicken, Indian, Low Carb, Main Dish, Recipes, Vegetable

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

26 Comments on “Butter Chicken and Dahl”

  1. March 13, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Wow. Looks delicious. I enjoy Indian food and applaude you for making the recipes. I used to be intimidated by the number of ingredients required. But the dishes are usually pretty simple to make, but have tremendous flavor and aroma.


  2. March 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Looks wonderful!


  3. Bunny Eats Design
    March 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    lol, I do like a good chicken nugget, but only ever at Wendy’s Hamburgers. I’ve found other nuggets don’t do it for me so I don’t order them anywhere else. I’m also embarrassed of the small number I’ve tried on my city’s top restaurants list. Making it a “to do list” sounds like a fun challenge.

    My husband only ever orders Butter Chicken when we eat Indian, so I’ve tried to make it but never got the flavour right. Butter Chicken here in New Zealand is very sweet which I imagine must have a lot of sugar in it. Maybe that’s why my attempts have failed?


    • March 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      This one was not sweet, but really had a rich and (silly to say it) buttery flavor. Let me know if you try it and he likes it.


  4. March 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Butter Chicken is one of my favorite dishes. I’ll have to try your recipe soon!


  5. March 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Looks wonderful! I’ll have to try it sometime soon.


  6. March 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    I have not made any type of curry dish but I think it is time to try.


  7. larrie269
    March 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I’m not really familiar with Indian cooking, definitely learning in this cuisine. This looks delicious so I’ll have to try it out. Can you cook this in a tagine?


    • March 14, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      While I have not cooked with a tagine, I am familiar with their use. As the chicken does not need a sear from the frying,it probably would work. I would expect you’d want to cut back on the liquids a bit or up the corn starch, as the tagine will retain all of the liquid and the recipe as it stands anticipates some of it reducing during cooking. Let me know if you try it.


  8. March 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Thanks for stoppy by the2bedroomblues! Although our kitchen is tiny, we manage to do a lot of cooking–and Indian food is my favorite. I’ve never had much luch cooking my own Indian dishes and usually save that for a night out, but this one looks pretty straightforward so I’ll have to try it!


  9. March 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm #


    Firstly, thanks for stopping by my blog. I was browsing through your posts and this one arrested my attention because, well, I am Indian. I’m taking the liberty to share a link to what I think comes closest to the actual recipe (albeit the ingredients and cooking procedure look monumental!). Hope that’s ok with you? http://www.butterchickenrecipe.org/

    On the dal bit I do feel red lentils are better left underspiced. the recipe you have here would work better with Toor Dal (yellow pigeon peas i think in English). Again, posting a link here. Though it says moong dal I personally feel Toor works better. I sometimes add vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, peas) for a healthier version You can get asoefotida/hing in any Indian store. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moong-dal/

    Hope you like it. If not, well that’s fine too. Cheers!


    • March 15, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      I appreciate the tips and will have to try those recipes out soon.


  10. March 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Thanks for checking out my blog! Look forward to more of your posts to come!


  11. March 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Great Food, no need to travel around when you have the word in your kitchen!


  12. March 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Hey Ranting Chef I applaud your perseverance! I love Indian food. Thanks for looking at our blog lots of Indian there…and more to come.


  13. afracooking
    March 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    This recipe looks fabulous – full of flavour, comforting and healthy; exactly my type of dish!


  14. March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    So happy to see Indian food featured here 🙂 like the twist you’v e given it by adding locally available ingredients.


  15. March 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    You are making me sooooo hungry! Great blog. Any good tips for pulled pork?


  16. March 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Try making Butter Chicken with leftover Tandoori chicken sometime… Excellent!!


    • kiwigal007
      April 29, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      What a great idea!! 😉


  17. April 6, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    This looks great! Another route you can go with the butter chicken is to marinate it in tandoori masala and grill/broil it before you add it into the sauce. Powdered cashews (about 1-2 tbsps) are a great addition to butter chicken. Lastly, maybe it’s because I’m Indian, but cornstarch in butter chicken would be a BIG no-no. You already have yogurt and half-and-half in there, that would make it pretty thick.


  18. kiwigal007
    April 29, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Butter chicken is fast becoming a firm favourite here in New Zealand! It is not too spicy but still gives the eater something to enjoy if they are not too fussed with alot of spices. Have you tried Palek Paneer yet? This is a spinach type curry recipe with firm cottage cheese (paneer).


  19. May 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on deliciouscravings.


  20. October 10, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Awesome !


  21. kirstylskilton
    January 28, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    It’s definitely time I attempted to cook a different curry and this looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe 🙂



  1. Going Insane | Rantings of an Amateur Chef - January 26, 2014

    […] posts, I really want to like Indian food. I’ve made a number of different dishes for the blog (Butter Chicken, Curried Mango Chicken, Red Lentil Curry, Shrimp Tikka with Fresh Mango Chutney, Spicy Dahl), and […]


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