Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken Lababdar

The one that started it all, in terms of this blog, anyway. Chicken Lababdar is Seth's favorite dish at our favorite Indian restaurant here: Dawat. One night, after tasting his dish at the restaurant, I declared confidently that I could easily recreate that at home. However, an internet search for the recipe brought me three sites with the exact same recipe, including typos, causing my confidence to slightly falter. I am not one to give up, though (at least not with cooking) and the internet did provide a decent starting point, so that each time I make this I change something and get a little bit closer to what Dawat has to offer.

Closer, but still not there. Though the internet recipe does not call for it, I swear there is ginger in the sauce, maybe even pepper. Dawat's sauce also is much thicker, leading me to think they use whole tomatoes and cook them down, rather than canned tomatoes that I use, juice and all. I won't change that - "fresh" tomatoes here are of the hothouse variety and, as such, not very appealing - but I did break out my grater last night, following the recipe's call for 1/2 cup grated onion. So I grated away.

I may not do that again.

While last night's result was the closest yet, there are always changes to make. The recipe calls for cubes of precooked chicken breast, but next time I may bake some thighs and legs for it, to give the dish more depth. I did cut waaaay back on fat content, considering the original called for 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup cream for a dish with 1/2 pound chicken. My hips screamed in protest. My recipe uses 1 pound of chicken and makes enough for three hungry people. It's an easy dish to make, especially as far as Indian recipes go; if you can't find fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) Gourmet Sleuth lists celery leaves as a reasonable substitute.

Chicken Lababdar

1lb chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
2tbsp oil
2tsp cumin seeds
1cup grated onion (1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1tbsp grated ginger
2cups chopped tomato
1tsp chili powder
1tsp ground cumin
2tsp garam masala
1tsp fenugreek leaves
1/4cup light cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
4tbsp cilantro, chopped

1. Heat oil  on medium heat in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add cumin seeds, garlic, ginger and onion; cook until onion is slightly browned. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes separate (they will break down into a sauce-like texture.) If using canned tomatoes this will only take a few minutes, fresh tomatoes may take up to ten.

2. Add the chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala and fenugreek; stir to combine. Add chicken and cook over low heat for ten minutes.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and gently stir cream into entire dish. Sprinkle each serving with chopped cilantro.


  1. I'll try it out.. looks good.

  2. Thanks, Patrick! I went back and included the ginger/garlic amounts. The ginger really makes a difference.

  3. here is what u need to do to get that thick gravy without all that cream and butter, Boil the onion use atleast 1 1/2 onion per person , i like to use red onions,now stick the boiled onions in a blender and make a paste. use this paste instate of the chopped onions and see the difference. U should still add a lil heavy cream and butter at the end for a rich texture. Have fun cooking one of the most diverse and flavorful cuisines of the world.Namaste

  4. Thanks for the advice! I look forward to trying it out.

  5. This has been my fav indian dish for many years! I am positive it should also include green cardomom. As for the meat - marinating the chicken in tandoori paste and grilling it will add great flavour.