Sunday Rewind: Butter Chicken and Dahl

As The Rantings of an Amateur Chef has been going since February of 2012, there are quite a few readers that have joined along the way. In an effort to bring back some great recipes that they may have missed, I will dedicate Sundays to re-posting a favorite that is at least two years old. I hope you enjoy! – The Ranting Chef

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.

Photo Mar 04, 5 57 34 PM

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


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


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

Author:The Ranting Chef

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5 Comments on “Sunday Rewind: Butter Chicken and Dahl”

  1. September 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    When I was in Cleveland and we’d go out to lunch with the Indian guys they would always advise if you don’t know what to order just say “butter chicken”


  2. kcolford
    September 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    This looks yummy 🙂 I have a butter chicken recipe on my blog as well! Except its cooked in the slow cooker so it makes the chicken extra tender. Check it out!


  3. September 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    love the daal!!!



  4. September 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    I’m with you regarding curry. I’ve never gotten into Indian food, but this looks like a great way to try it out. Thanks!


  5. September 26, 2014 at 1:00 am #

    Indian food is among my favorite cuisines, and this looks super good!! Just might be dinner tonight.


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