Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicken Masala

Every Indian cook has one standard masala recipe. Masala means spice, so chicken masala is chicken cooked in a spice mixture, which usually contains a sauce made out of onions and tomatoes. This is my go to recipe for chicken masala and it's always delicious. This recipe is a combination of how my cook made it for us growing up in Bombay and from the years of me making it and tweaking it along the way.
In fact, it amazes me that this is the first time I'm sharing this recipe with you on this blog! 

Serve it over a bed of white Basmati rice or with some readymade store bought naan.  

Serves 2
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced ginger and garlic
1/2 tsp tomato paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4–5 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
4 green cardamon pods, crushed
2 black cardamon pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup finely minced onions
1 green chili, minced (seeded if you prefer a milder taste)

1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 large tomatoes, halved OR 1 cup tomato sauce (I prefer Pomi)

4–5 tbsp fresh coriander leaves

  1. Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper for 15–20 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the whole spices– the curry leaves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, green and black cardamon pods and cumin seeds. The cinnamon stick will begin to uncurl and the cumin seeds brown within a minute. 
  3. Immediately add the onions and green chili and let it cook until a dark golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt while cooking the onions as it helps release the water and brown quicker.
  4. Follow by adding the chicken, coat in the onion and spice mixture along with the coriander and turmeric powders. Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes cut size down, turn the heat on low, add a tablespoon of water and cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the lid, pull the skin of the tomato off (it should just slip out) and mash the tomato into the sauce. Scrape down the edges of the skillet to pick up all the brown bits. Cover and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Yum! Serve over a bed of rice or with naan.


  1. Hi Namrata,
    Your masala chicken is making my mouth water. It looks incredible!

    1. Hi Asmita,
      Thank you! We finished everything for lunch today, so next time I'm making way more!!!