World Food Challenge

Day 78: India with Butter chicken, Chana Dal and Naan

Good evening, Raffies!

Today we are going to India. Choosing the dish for this amazing country was really, really difficult. Over the years, I have been cooking a lot of Indian meals and learning about its fantastic cuisine. There are so many great dishes for India that choosing only one meal was really hard.

We are making naan, butter chicken and Chana Dal. For the recipes, I have used my Indian cookbook, Indische Küche, Parragon Editors.

For those of you who would like to make this dish by themselves, here are recipes that resemble the ones out of my book:

  • Butter chicken


300 g chicken

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp fenugreek

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste*

1 cup Greek yogurt

For the sauce

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste*

1 cinnamon stick

3 green cardamom pods

2 cloves

1 tsp Fenugreek

2 green chilies, sliced

4 tomatoes, purée

1-2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

1/2-1 tsp sugar


1 handful cashew nuts

Greek yogurt or cream to garnish

coriander leaves for garnish

* For the Garlic and Ginger Paste, take 3 cloves of garlic and 2 cm of ginger root. Roughly chop them and then crush them in a mortar or a food processor.

Ideally on the night before, start by marinating the chicken. Chop the chicken into pieces and marinate for about 20 minutes with the lemon juice, chili powder and salt.

Now add the yogurt, Fenugreek, oil, turmeric, garlic ginger paste and garam masala powder. Mix well and leave to marinate overnight.

Soak the cashews in water for about an hour, then either make a paste or chop them. I prefer them chopped for the texture.

Start with the preparation of the butter chicken.

Cook the chicken in a pan or grill it. Add the marinate and one tablespoon of butter to the chicken. Cook it until done, be careful not to burn it.

Heat a skillet and add 1-2 tbsp butter. Add cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and toast for a few minutes, until fragrant.

Now add the garlic ginger paste, the chilies and cook for another minute. Now add the tomatoes, the chili powder, salt and sugar. Cook until thick and it starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add some water depending on the desired consistency, Fenugreek and the cashews.

Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garam masala, turmeric and the chicken and its marinate. Cook until the chicken is soft.

Time to add the yogurt or cream and garnish with coriander.

  • Chana Dal


1 cup red lentils

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, thinly chopped

2 cm fresh ginger, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 chili, sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp dried mango powder

1 tsp Fenugreek

1 pinch asafoetida

Ghee or butter



Fresh coriander for garnish

Soak the lentils in water for a few hours. Cook the lentils in enough water, until soft. Alternatively, you can cook them in a pressure pot to speed things up.

In a skillet, heat the butter or ghee and add the cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant.

Add the garlic and onions and fry till golden. Now add the tomatoes, ginger and chili. Stir well and pour in the turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, asafoetida, dried mango powder and coriander powder.

Cook for about 5-8 minutes. Then add the Fenugreek and the red lentils. Simmer for 10 minutes and stir well. Season with salt and garnish.

  • Naan

Although it won’t taste like a naan made in a tandoori oven, this recipe is perfect for a quick naan in your very own kitchen.


250 g flour

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

120 ml milk

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and milk.

Mix the dough with a wooden spoon, or with your hands, until you will have a smooth, well kneaded dough.

Add some flour, if the dough appears to be too sticky. Form it into a ball and place it into a bowl that you will have brushed with some oil. Cover with a cloth and leave it to rest for about 15 minutes.

Shape 5 smaller balls and roll them out quite thinly, ideally in the shape of a teardrop. If you would like to, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Now, you can either bake the naan in a frying pan or in the oven. If you choose the oven, place the naans on baking sheets and bake at 200ºC for about 8 minutes.

Otherwise, grease a pan and fry for 2-3 minutes each side. Serve hot.


The whole meal was obviously accompanied by Lassi.
To make a simple lassi, all you need is 100ml yoghurt, 50 ml water, Cumin seeds, salt, sugar and cardamom powder. The amount of salt, sugar and cardamom depends on the intensity of flavour you would like to give to your lassi.

It goes without saying that the dish was wonderful. And it also goes without saying that India is very high up on my bucket list, not only for the food..

Have a great evening!



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