Dahl chicken, chilli paneer and naan

Dahl chicken, chilli paneer and naan

More Home Comforts
Peter Cassidy

I’m fortunate to count some top Indian chefs among my mates and I cooked this dish with Cyrus Todiwala on the show who is not only a true gentleman but also a hugely talented cook. Thanks for the advice and tips – I think it’s one of my favourite recipes in the book!


Quantity Ingredient

For the dahl chicken

Quantity Ingredient
250g red lentils
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 dried red chillies, torn, seeds removed
2 long green chillies, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped curry leaves
5cm piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoons hot red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
300ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
40g unsalted butter
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon dark brown soft sugar
1 small bunch coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

For the chilli paneer

Quantity Ingredient
450g paneer
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
50g pine nuts
4 long green finger chillies, finely sliced
5cm piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 green pepper, finely sliced
1 long red pepper, finely sliced
50ml white wine vinegar
75ml light soy sauce
250ml chicken stock
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons chopped coriander

For the naan

Quantity Ingredient
450g plain flour
2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon caster sugar
A pinch sea salt
150ml natural yoghurt
150ml milk
50g melted unsalted butter


  1. Start with the naan. Place the flour in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a large bowl, with the yeast and baking powder, and add the egg, sugar and salt. Mix together, then add the yoghurt and milk, and mix to a soft dough. Set aside to rise for 1 hour, then knead briefly until smooth and divide into six equal balls. Cover and set aside to rise in a warm place for another hour.
  2. To make the dahl, rinse the lentils and soak them in 500ml water for 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan until hot. Add half the oil and the dried chillies, and fry for 1 minute, then add the green chillies and onions, and sauté for 3–4 minutes until lightly coloured. Add the curry leaves, ginger, and garlic and continue to fry.
  4. Mix the chilli powder, ground cumin, coriander and turmeric together in a small bowl with 150ml of the chicken stock to form a paste. Add to the pan and cook until you see the oil separate out – another 2–3 minutes. Add the lentils and their soaking water, and bring to the boil, then add the salt, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the butter, cover, and simmer while you cook the chicken.
  5. Chop the chicken into chunks. Heat a separate sauté pan until hot, add the rest of the oil and the chicken, and sauté for 3–4 minutes until coloured and nearly cooked.
  6. Add the lentils to the chicken along with the tinned tomatoes and the rest of the chicken stock. Cook for another 15–20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the lentils are tender. Stir in the tamarind, brown sugar, coriander and mint, and check the seasoning. Add a little more stock if it becomes too thick. Leave to simmer gently on a very low heat.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, make the chilli paneer. Cut the paneer into strips about 1cm wide and 3cm long. Heat a wok until hot, then add enough oil to cover the base by 2.5cm. Heat until shimmering, then fry the paneer in batches until golden brown. Drain into a sieve set over a bowl.
  8. Discard the majority of the oil, leaving enough to just coat the bottom of the wok. Add the pine nuts, chillies, ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the red onion and both peppers, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the vinegar, soy sauce and chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Add the spring onions and simmer for 1 minute. Mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a paste, then whisk into the peppers and onion, and cook until just thickened. Stir in the paneer and leave to simmer on a very low heat.
  9. To cook the naan, preheat the oven as high as it will go. Place a heavy baking tray or pizza stone in the oven and allow to heat. Stretch the dough to an oval shape, then place on the tray or stone and bake for 4–5 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Brush with the melted butter.
  10. Finish the chilli paneer with the coriander, and serve with the dahl chicken and naan.
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