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Est. 1996

Issue 193

January 2013

The Origins of Lababdar

by Peter Grove





Five or so years ago most curry fans visiting a restaurant in UK would have been surprised to se a dish called Chicken Lababdar on the menu. Now it is everywhere but how many really know what it is as the dish you receive can often vary considerably.

Traditionally the dish is part of Andhra cuisine and is said to originate from the Royal kitchens of Hyderabad. According to cuisineindia.in, "Lababdar is a Hindi word that means very soft, creamy and having good mouth feel".

According to Monish Gujral, owner of the Moti Mahal group in India it is a derivative of the butter chicken invented by his grandfather in 1948.

"Although my grand father didn't develop it, its a derivative of butter chicken" he says . "The sauce is a mixture of our Motimahal traditional butter Sauce and the brown onion gravy with chopped capsicum and onions sauted with Tandoori chicken ". This is one of Motimahals recipes

Recipe - Mutton(Lamb) Lababdar


Mutton(Lamb meat) - 300 grams
Ginger garlic paste- 4 Tbsp
Big Cardamon(Badi Elaichi)- 2 Nos
Small Cardamom( Chhoti Elaichi)- 3Nos
Laung (Clove)- 3 Nos
Javitri- 2 Nos
Dal Chini(Cinnamon)- 1 one inch stick
Curry leaf(Tez patta)-1No
Oil- 60ml
Water - 600ml
Onion chopped- 150 gm
Tomato puree-100ml
Capsicum(Shimla mirch)- 40 gm
Degi mirch- 2 gm
Salt to taste
White pepper- 4 gm
Kasturi methi- 2 gm
Green chilly chopped- 3gm
Butter- 25 gm
Cream- 100 ml


Place a heavy based wok on fire. Add oil and heat.
Add all the whole spices and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in ginger -garlic paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes..Add Onion , stiring continuously . Add lamb and spices cook for few minutes .
Add in the tomato puree and green chilies and stir till oil leaves side.
Now add water and cover with a lid and cook foe 20-30 minutes , checking occasionally , till meat is tender and semi dry.
Add slices capsicum and sauté for 2- 3 minutes on high flame.Add butter and sauté till butter melts . Now stir in cream and remove from fire .
Serve hot garnished with sliced green chilies.

Chicken Lababdar is the more usual offering in UK restaurants resulting in a chicken tikka masala style, cream based dish. It is a traditinal mughlai sauce, said to be made popular by erstwhile mughal emperors of Delhi and is made from farm fresh tomatoes, onions, capsicum, fresh cream and exotic Indian spices.

Chicken Lababdar

Serves 4.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
500g chicken fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp butter
salt, to taste
chopped tomatoes, optional
handful of chopped coriander, optional

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cumin seeds and fry for a minute or two until fragrant, then add tomato paste and tinned tomatoes.
2. Cook for 6 - 7 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly, then add ground cumin, fenugreek, garam masala and chilli powder. Stir through before adding the chicken pieces. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes, then turn heat down and allow to cook for a further 5 - 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
3. Stir cream and butter through, allowing the butter to melt. Season to taste with salt and serve warm, topped with chopped tomatoes and coriander.


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Mood Food is published by FSR, London, England © 2013


Peter J. Grove

Editorial office: PO Box 416 Surbiton, Surrey, England, KT1 9BJ

Tel: 020 8399 4831

email: GroveInt@aol.com