Cookbook Review: The Curry Guy

Dan Toombs The Curry Guy Butter Chicken

Dan Toombs has perfected the art of Indian restaurant cooking after travelling around sampling dishes, learning kitchen secrets and refining recipes at home. In other words, The Curry Guy makes homemade curries that taste like the ones at your local curry house—only better.

All of the classic curries are there: tikka masala, korma, jalfrezi, rogan josh, bhuna, madras, vindaloo and balti. No curry is complete without perfect pilau rice or soft, pillowy naan. And there are the all-important appetizers and side dishes, with failsafe recipes for papadams, samosas, koftas, onion bhajis, along with all of Dan’s favourite chutneys, pickels and raitas.

Enjoy the best curries you’ve ever tasted without even having to leave the house.

The Curry Guy: Recreate over 100 of the best Indian restaurant recipes at home, is available at and

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Photography by Kris Kirkham

In 1947, Kundan Lal Gujral opened the first tandoori restaurant, called Moti Mahal, in Delhi, India. Although tandoori-style ovens had already been used for thousands of years, he was the first to have large tandoors manufactured for use in a restaurant. The restaurant served delicious marinated chicken, meat and vegetables, all charred to perfection in a tandoor. Not one to waste, Gujral came up with the idea of using the leftover marinades in a curry, and butter chicken (murgh makhani) was born.

Serves 4 or more as part of a multi-course meal


1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) grilled tandoori chicken


4 tbsp rapeseed oil
2, 5cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick or cassia bark
2 star anise
6 green cardamom pods, lightly bruised
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
2 x 400g tins (4 cups) of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
300ml (1-1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
3 tbsp butter, chilled
1 tbsp garam masala
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, toss in the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods and bay leaves, and stir them in the oil for about 30 seconds.

Now add the onions and carrot, and fry for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the onions turn soft and translucent but not browned. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt over the top to help release some of the moisture from the onions. Now add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for 30 seconds, followed by the chopped tomatoes.

Add the paprika and the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric, and simmer for about 3 minutes. At this stage you have a choice. You can either leave the sauce as it is or take the whole spices out and blend it to a smooth sauce. I’ll leave that one to you. I usually leave it as is.

Lower the heat to medium and place the grilled chicken pieces in the sauce to heat through. To finish, whisk in the cream and reserved marinade from preparing the chicken, and turn the heat back up to medium-high. Add the chilled butter, 1 tbsp at a time, and check for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Sprinkle with the garam masala and serve.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Quadrille Publishing.


  1. LOVE curry! This is a great review and what looks to be a great book…I think of all the dishes I make, I predominantly turn to curries more than anything else. The picture of the Butter Chicken had my mouth watering…

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