Cooking | Butter Chicken & Punjabi Chole … The Chakle India Cookbook {a book review}

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
John Ruskin

Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}It’s a delicious book on Indian cooking. An almost impish face smiles back at you from the cover, the earnest cook, with a twinkle in his eyes. It’s Aditya Bal the Indian model turned chef stirring up some magic. ‘The Chakhle India‘ Cookbook is based on the most popular food show Indian TV. From the book I offer a quintessential Indian curry – Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}, and a chickpea dish – Punjabi Chole.The Chakle India CookbookI looked at the book with initial skepticism as I don’t follow too many TV cookery shows. Took it along when I went to pick up the older teen from detention! {Yes that happens too as she didn’t submit a project in time. She had completed it but forgot to submit it!}! I love the lessons school can teach that we can’t! Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookGot there 30 minutes early armed with the book; it was the most fruitful 30 minutes I’ve spent of late. It was an instant connect! He seemed warm, real, ‘talked’ to with you, a peoples person, had a wonderful rapport and was entertaining. Explains why he runs the most popular food show!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookFood is good when it is real, when stories are woven around it, when you know where they are coming from and what influences the style … a face behind the name makes it even better! Not so long ago we met Shamita, Ms India Universe, at the Four Seasons Wine Tasting event and marveled at how grounded she was. More recently we got ‘up close and personal‘ with one of India’s top chefs Saby at the Olive Bar & Kitchenanother fabulous person!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India Cookbook Haven’t met Aditya but already feel like I know him a li’l bit. He talks fondly of growing up in Kashmir {I love Kashmir and it is on my list of places to revisit but with the hub}. I have beautiful memories of Srinagar which we visited as kids; Aditya stirred those up beautifully.Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookThe author lived an idyllic life in Srinagar, the culinary side reflected by Wazwan, potlucks, Sunday roasts reminiscent of his maternal grandmothers cooking; then had an unfortunate displacement from the state he loved due to civil unrest. He modeled for a few years and eventually found his calling in food. The book is packed with recipes from different corners of India, reflected in the title Chakle India {literally translates into Taste India}…Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookI love the simple explanations, the ‘deglazing’ of the pan now and then, asking you to check the balance of flavours, taking in the magic of Indian spices. Other “foodies” like Chantal Royer do a great job at analyzing some of the traditional Indian spices from her travels.  For all you meat lovers there, there is plenty of ‘meaty goodness’ that he tempts you to try. I made butter chicken from his book when I got home.
Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookWhy Butter Chicken? Because it is one of India’s most popular dishes, the kids love it, I haven’t made a ‘butter’ laden butter chicken in ages, it was the weekend, there was no electricity and the recipe was a pan fried version, it uses fresh tomatoes which are in abundance … more simply, because I wanted to!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookIt’s a good, homey, comforting recipe … a nice balance of flavours, not like the original butter chicken as that uses oven baked tandoori chicken, but finger licking good nevertheless. The son asked for it 2 days in a row! I make a low fat version often, yet to be blogged, but for now this version is for you!Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThere are plenty of vegetarian recipes too. I reached for the book a second time as I had chickpeas soaking for a salad for the dieting diva. Made the Punjabi Cholas and they were fabulous! Loved the astoefitida {hing} in them, and also loved that it didn’t use commercial chana masala. I served them with boiled rice but they would taste great with flatbread too, or just as a snack.Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookNice to see a book with seemingly more emphasis on the meaty dishes, yet one that offers a liberal dose of vegetarian main course and snacks. The dessert section is SWEET! I have my eye on a mango kheer which I find rather intriguing and haven’t heard of before! Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookPick up the book and you’ll find it easy to cook from it. The ingredients are simple pantry staples and the methods aren’t cumbersome. Some recipes do appear long with many ingredients and instructions … a little complicated but really aren’t. The only downside, if ever so slightly there is one, is the pictures. I like my food photographs to show the dish from a short distance to get a better idea of the dish. Most frames are shot really close up, though there are plenty of them. Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThe book is a delicious take on homey, comforting and make-able Indian cuisine, food from the heart, flavours that speak for themselves and the energy to make you want to cook! It’s a good addition to my ever growing collection of cookbooks.

Thank you for Anushree for sending me a copy to review. I really enjoyed the book!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Of course it sounds flavourful Deeba. This is what I want coming out of my kitchen.
    belllii´s last blog post ..Remembering Julia Child with Caesar Salad You Eat with Your HandsMy Profile

  2. Droolicious! And the collection of props is mind blowing.

    err.. did the teen get more “grounding” at home or did you forget because of the delicious book :)
    Ansh´s last blog post ..Mushroom Stir fry with green onions and cuminMy Profile

  3. two beautiful recipes! Both look so tasty and mouthwatering.



  4. Deeba – this sounds amazing! I love butter chicken and am so excited to make it at home. Is the curd the same as paneer? Sorry about my ignorance – I just want to make sure!
    David´s last blog post ..True Grit(s)My Profile

  5. Both of these recipes are on my “to do” list . Many of the ingredients are ones I’ve never heard of so I’ll need to do some research. Both beautiful dishes.
    giz´s last blog post ..Tilapia with MushroomsMy Profile

  6. The pictures,as usual,are awesome Deeba!Couldn’t take my eyes off the first one(even though I am a vegetarian:P)
    Divya´s last blog post ..Banana HalwaMy Profile

  7. I love the Chak Le India show. The butter chicken looks absolutely fab.
    indugetscooking´s last blog post ..Honey and Caramel SemifreddoMy Profile

  8. I *love* butter chicken. My family is Pakistani and it’s not a dish that’s typically made in my house so I love when Indian friends make it…although it always leaves me with a food coma 😉

  9. Yum yum ….
    Just those pictures make me hungry.
    I hope it’s a good book. I like his cooking. Indian with a twist.
    Rituparna´s last blog post ..Evernote Food Event @ Dum AffairsMy Profile

  10. manjeet says:

    Hey Deeba,
    I’ll share a secret: Aditya’s recipe is nice but I like yours better..:) Down to using the Shaan tandoori masala(they are my favs)

    And for the chholey I have a simpler recipe , especially if you are looking for the “blackened” “Roshan ke bhature chholey” types..Boil the chholey with sliced onions and 1-2 tsps of tea leaves(no need to tie them in a muslin bag..the leaves dissolve leaving no after taste)..and then the tadka is even simpler – sliced ginger , vertically split chilies(dependent upon how hot you can bear) and the whole masalas that you used , plus corainder powder, black pepper powder and teensy bit of turmeric please…That’s it..the rest of the process is same as can let the chholey simmer and thicken as much as you want ..I confess I hardly use any chillies or pepper corns as my pre-pre-teen does not eat anything remotely spicy..:(

  11. Sorry I should have updated this before. Curd is the same as yogurt.

    • Thanks for letting me know about the curd being yogurt! I just bought his book, by the way. It was a little tricky to find in the U.S. but I managed! ~ David
      David´s last blog post ..Lemon-y GoodnessMy Profile

  12. Hi Deeba, your pictures are great as usual. Where did you get yr wooden spice box? Love how it looks.
    Neev´s last blog post ..Chocolate Chip and Pecan BrowniesMy Profile


  1. […] I came across this butter chicken recipe from none other than Deeba rajpals blog passionateaboutbaking.This is the best butter chicken I have ever had. I should say bestest butter chicken,and I can […]

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