Dishoom’s Chicken Ruby & Black Daal

During lockdown there have been many things I have missed, one of which is my all too regular visits to Dishoom. Whether it be for their Bacon and Egg Naan Rolls (more on that in another post!) or a feast of dishes which usually includes their famous Chicken Ruby and Black Daal. So, I grabbed a copy of the Dishoom Cookbook (Dishoom: From Bombay with Love) and set about recreating my favourites at home. They take time to make, but it’s well worth the wait.

Both these dishes make far too much food for two people, but why cut down the recipe?! Make the whole lot and they freeze and reheat wonderfully, so you have a supply in your freezer when you need that Dishoom fix!

Dishoom’s Black Daal (Serves 8 – 10)


300g urad dal
4 litres cold water
12g garlic paste
10g ginger paste
70g tomato puree
8g fine sea salt
⅔ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
⅓ tsp garam masala
90g unsalted butter
90ml double cream


  • You first need to rinse the dal, so place the dal into a large bowl, cover with water and whisk for 10 seconds. Pour out the water and then repeat three or four times, until the water is clear.
  • Put the rinsed dal into a large saucepan and cover with about four litres of cold water.
  • Bring to a boil and cook steadily for two to three hours.
  • Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface, and add more boiling water as required to keep the grains well covered.
  • The dal need to become completely soft, with the skins coming away from the white grain.
  • When cooked, turn off the heat and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix the garlic and ginger pastes, tomato puree, salt, chilli powder and garam masala into a paste.
  • Pour off the dal cooking water, then cover with enough freshly boiled water to cover the dal by 3-4cm.
  • Bring to a boil over a medium-high heat, then add the aromatic paste and butter.
  • Cook rapidly for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the mixture from sticking.
  • Lower the heat and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours more, stirring regularly to prevent it from sticking, add a little boiling water if the liquid level gets near the level of the grains.
  • With some patience, the dal will turn thick and creamy.
  • Add the cream and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • When reheating any leftover dal, you may need to add a little more liquid; use cream or cream and water, rather than just water alone.
  • Serve as a side dish or with some warmed chaptis.
Black Daal

Dishoom’s Chicken Ruby (Serves 4 hungry people!)


700g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
20g unsalted butter, melted
50ml double cream

For the makhani sauce

35g garlic (7–8 cloves)
175ml vegetable oil
20g fresh root ginger
800g chopped tomatoes (fresh or good-quality tinned)
2 bay leaves
6 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp fine sea salt
1½ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
30g butter
1 tsp garam masala
20g granulated sugar
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kasoori methi powder, crushed to a powder between your fingers
½ tsp fresh dill fronds
80ml double cream

For the marinade

10g chopped fresh ginger
20g chopped garlic
5g fine sea salt
1 tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
1½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp vegetable oil
75g full-fat greek yoghurt

For the garnish

Ginger matchsticks
Coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds


  • For makhani sauce. Peel and finely dice 15g of the garlic.
  • Warm a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Toss in the chopped garlic and fry until light golden brown and slightly crisp.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Grate the remaining garlic and the ginger to a fine paste.
  • Using a blender, blitz the chopped tomatoes to a fine consistency.
  • Put the saucepan containing the oil back on a medium-high heat and add the bay leaves, green and black cardamom pods, and the cinnamon sticks.
  • Let them crackle for one minute, stirring regularly, then turn down the heat and add the garlic and ginger paste. Cook for five minutes, allowing the paste to brown but not burn.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt and chilli powder to the pan. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook until reduced by half, stirring regularly, this should take about 30 minutes.
  • Add the butter and simmer for a further five minutes.
  • Add the garam masala, sugar, honey, cumin, crisp garlic, kasoori methi powder and dill fronds, and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • Add the cream and simmer gently for five minutes. The sauce is now ready to use.
  • For the marinade, blitz all the ingredients to a smooth paste, then transfer to a bowl. * Cut the chicken into 4cm chunks, add to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for six to 24 hours.
  • Heat the grill to medium-high. Put the marinated chicken on a rack in the grill pan, brush with the melted butter and grill for eight to 10 minutes, until cooked through and nicely charred.
  • To finish, warm a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the makhani sauce, cream and grilled chicken, and simmer very gently for 10 minutes.
  • Serve the curry garnished with ginger matchsticks, chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds, with a bowl of steamed rice on the side.
Chicken Ruby

We enjoyed these as part of a slightly bigger feast, but served as the recipes suggest with warmed chapatis and steamed rice. Maybe not 100% as awesome as the Dishoom’s version but it tasted pretty damn good to keep me going until it reopens again!