Chicken Dalcha

Chicken & Lentils curry(Dalcha) combines the good taste of lentils and chicken and tastes excellent for Ghee/Butter rice.

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Preparation Time : 10-15 mins

Cooking Time : 30-45 mins

Serves : 5-6

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Main Ingredient : Beans/Pulses Chicken
Recipe Type : Dinner Lunch Special Occasion

Ingredients :


  • Toor Dal - 150g or 2/3 of 250ml teacup
  • Chicken with bones - 350g
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsp heaped
  • Cinnamon - 1 inch long stick
  • Cloves - 2
  • Onion - 1 large
  • Tomato - 2 medium
  • Green Chilli - 3 or 4
  • Cooking oil - 50ml or 3 tblsp
  • Tinned coconut milk - 3 tblsp or 150ml fresh coconut milk
  • Curry leaves - 8-10
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsp (optional)
  • Tamarind - ball of 2cm diameter
  • Warm water - 100ml

Spice powders:

  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp for medium spicy or 2 tsp for very spicy
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Cumin (jeera) powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper powder - 1 for medium spicy or 1 1/2 tsp for v.spicy


  • Potato large - 2
  • Carrot large - 1
  • Brinjal/ Egg plant - 6-8 or Aubergine - 1/2 of medium
  • Cabbage - 50g (optional)
  • Marrow or Dudhi - 50g or 1/4 of medium (optional)
  • Plantain - 1 small (optional)
  • Raw Mango - 2 big pieces (optional)

Method : Preparation:

  1. Rinse the dal and drain it.
  2. Clean and wash the chicken pieces and drain the water.
  3. Chop all the onion, tomato and coriander leaves; Slit the chilli.
  4. Peel and cut potatoes into 1 ½ inch cubes.
  5. Peel carrots and cut them into 2cm slices.
  6. Cut other vegetables into 1 inch cubes.
  7. Wash and soak the tamarind in warm water for about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Squeeze out the tamarind pulp, strain and keep this tamarind juice aside.
Cooking Method:

  1. ** Heat a pressure cooker pan on the stove.
  2. ** Add dal, about 300ml (1 & 1/4 cup ) of water and half of turmeric powder.
  3. ** Cover and pressure cook. Switch off after two whistles and open when the pressure is gone. Do not open the pressure cooker when there is any pressure left. Leave the cooked dal aside.
  4. Heat a 3-4 ltr pressure cooker pan on a stove and add oil.
  5. When the oil is hot enough, add curry leaves, cinnamon and cloves and fry for about ½ a minute.
  6. Add chopped onion and saute until they become translucent.
  7. Add green chilli and ginger-garlic paste and fry for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add all the spice powders and chicken pieces and fry further for about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add salt, chopped tomatoes and vegetables and stir for few more minutes.
  10. *** Add about 250ml(1 cup) of water to the pan.
  11. *** Cover and cook on a medium heat.
  12. *** Switch off the stove after 5 minutes and open the lid once the pressure is gone.
  13. Add the cooked dhal to the pan of chicken and vegetables and stir.
  14. Add tamarind juice, stir and let it boil on medium heat for few minutes.
  15. Add water if the curry is too thick and let it boil.
  16. Add coconut milk atlast and let it boil for about 1-2 minutes.
  17. Garnish with curry leaves/coriander leaves.
  18. Chicken Dalcha is ready to be served.
** - If the pressure cooker is not available,replace the steps 1-3 above starting with the symbol ** with the following steps and continue to step 4 above.

  1. Heat a 3-4ltr saucepan on a high heat.
  2. Add dal, about 750ml of water and half of turmeric powder.
  3. Once the water starts boiling, simmer the heat, cover and cook on a low-medium heat for about 30-35 minutes or until the dal is soft enough. Leave the lid ajar to stop the water overflowing.
  4. Open the lid, stir few times and make sure there is enough water left. If there is not enough water left, add more for the dal to be cooked.
  5. Switch off the pan after checking whether the dhal is cooked well and in soft texture but not too soft.
*** - If the pressure cooker is not available, replace the steps 10-12 above starting with the symbol *** with the following steps and continue to step 13 above.

  1. Add about 600ml of water to the pan of chicken, onion, tomatoes, vegetables and spices.
  2. Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 20-25 minutes or until the meat is cooked well.
  3. While the vegetables and chicken are getting cooked, open the lid, stir few times and check whether there is enough water left. If there is not enough water left, add more water and let it cook longer. If you think there is more water left, remove the lid and let it stay on heat for further 5 mins on a medium heat.

Notes : If Dudhi/Marrow is being added to the curry, please reduce the amount of water that is added to the vegetables as this vegetable adds more water to the curry. If Raw Mango pieces are being added, reduce the amount of tamarind used. For a variation, try Dalcha or Mutton Dalcha. Please refer to Cooking warning related to the variation in cooking time.

Other Names : Chicken Dalcha


If you use different ingredients than the ones used in this recipe or use alternate method, please click Here to post your variation.


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