Chicken Masala recipe – a North Indian chicken curry

Chicken Masala is a simple Indian chicken curry recipe made in a thick and spicy gravy flavored with garam masala powder. Served with steamed rice, roti, plain naan or butter naan, paratha, veg biryani, chicken biryani, or veg pulao. 

Let’s see what is this chicken masala and how easy to make this recipe at home with simple ingredients.

Chicken Masala dish up with plain riceChicken Masala dish up with plain rice

What is Chicken Masala?

Chicken masala is a signature dish of North Indian cuisine prepared with chicken, onion, tomato, yogurt, and a few simple spices. For making this chicken masala, chicken is roasted in oil with a creamy sauce like gravy containing fried onion and tomato, roasted ginger, garlic, green chilli paste with garam masala powder, and a few simple spices seasoning.

According to the authentic chicken masala recipe, this chicken curry was originally prepared in one pot for long hours slow-cooking method. However, you can cook it in a pressure cooker or instant pot for quick results. 

For making this recipe I do not use any store-bought powdered chicken curry masala. This dish is mainly made of whole garam masala, homemade garam masala powder, and a simple cumin-coriander powder concoction of all these masalas bringing the best flavor and taste ever for the chicken and its gravy.

In Indian restaurants or dhabas, chicken masala is basically served as a spicy red rich masala stuffed chicken gravy. But whenever you are making chicken masala at home, use spices as per your need. If want a hot and spicy chicken gravy, use spicy chilli powder or red chilli paste in cooking. To make this chicken curry less spicy, can use whole green chilli or Kashmiri chilli powder. Or you can also cook with seedless green chilli paste. That green chilli paste is not spicy and instead makes no harm to health.

Before making this chicken curry, chicken must be marinated with plain yogurt or lemon juice, or both together, and salt. Yogurt, lemon juice, and salt make the chicken tender and juicy so that the spices are easily infused into the chicken and make this dish flavourful. Yogurt and lemon juice also cut down the spiciness and yogurt also makes a creamy red color-rich gravy. Before cooking this dish, good marination is a must to make the chicken soft, juicy, and flavorful. Good marination also helps cook this dish, quick and easy.

Perfect roasting or frying of chicken and its spices (in oil) is most important for making this dish delectable. Roast the chicken until the spices separate the oil that brings the best result required for this recipe. Perfect roasting of chicken and masala is the secret of Indian restaurants and dhabas style chicken masala recipes.

I make this dish with without skin or skinless curry-cut chicken pieces with bone. However, can use prepare it without skin boneless chicken breast curry cut pieces or chicken legs, or chicken wings (lollipop pieces) too. 

1 kg skinless bone-in curry cut pieces of broiler or poultry chicken for making chicken masala recipe

I make this chicken masala recipe with 1 kg poultry chicken (without skin bone-in or boneless chicken pieces). Bone-in chicken pieces quickly get cooked whereas boneless chicken pieces take a little more time. Can use desi chicken too for getting the best taste, though desi chicken needs a long cooking time.

Want to make a simple yet healthy chicken masala recipe? For making this recipe, must use chicken breast pieces and do not use oil, whether cooking chicken direct on stove or in microwave oven, or in air fryer. Yogurt, spice mix, and chicken all simply release their own oil and can properly prepare this dish by cooking it in a simmer.

So try this chicken masala recipe at home. This recipe is so easy that beginners to bachelors anybody can make this chicken curry at home. So try, and taste this recipe and do share your valuable feedback about this chicken curry in the comment section below.

You can also try a few more popular chicken curry recipes

Chicken Kosha recipe (A Bengali style semi gravy chicken curry)
Dahi Chicken recipe (A north Indian style yogurt-based chicken curry)
Chicken Korma recipe (A Mughlai-style chicken curry)
Guntur Chicken recipe (An Andhra-style hot and spicy dry chicken curry)

Chicken Masala recipe – an easy Indian chicken curry in simple masala

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: North Indian, IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

7-8

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

300

kcal
Total time

50

minutes

Chicken masala is a signature dish of North Indian cuisine prepared with chicken cooked in rich and spicy onion and tomato-based masala gravy. Served with plain rice, naan, roti, paratha, or biryani. 

Ingredients

  • To Marinade Chicken
  • 1 Kg Chicken (Skinless Bone in / Boneless Poultry chicken)

  • 1/2 Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste

  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste

  • 3 Green Chillies

  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder

  • 3/4 tsp Salt

  • To make Masala paste for this chicken curry
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt/Curd

  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder(Spicy)

  • 1+1/2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder

  • To make Chicken Masala Gravy
  • 8 tbsp Vegetable oil

  • 3 Medium Onion

  • 2 Tomatoes

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder

  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder

  • 2 cups of water

  • Garam Masala Powder

How to cook Chicken Masala

  • Marinade the chicken
  • For making chicken masala recipe, first simply clean and wash the chicken (skinless bone in or bone less chicken piesces) and marinate the chicken with lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste, salt, and turmeric powder seasoning. Spices quantity as described in the ingredients.
  • Keep the marinated chicken aside by covering it, and marinate the chicken until required for cooking.
  • Making masala paste for this chicken curry
  • In a mixing bowl, add yogurt/curd, simple chilli powder (used at home), and Kashmiri red chilli powder.
  • Mix all well to get a smooth creamy paste. Keep it aside for later.
  • For making Chicken masala gravy
  • Heat a pan (kadai) on medium heat, once fumes come add vegetable oil to the pan.
  • Once the oil releases fumes, fry the onion (finely chopped onion) until the onion gets soft and succulent.
  • Add tomato (cut into cubes), slightly sauté, and add a little salt to make the tomato quickly soft.
  • Once the tomato gets soft, add the masala paste (prepared before), and stir fry the masala for a minute.
  • Then add coriander powder and cumin powder, mix well, and fry it well for a while(around 1 min).
  • Add the marinated chicken into the pan, and nicely mix the chicken with the spices.
  • Roast or sauté the chicken until raw the smell of chicken goes off and the oil separates from the spices.
  • Add 2 cups of water (preferably hot water), mix it well with the gravy, raise the heat to high, and let the gravy boil.
  • Once the gravy starts boiling, add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover the pan, slow down the heat to medium, and let the chicken cook.
  • Occasionally stir the gravy, once the chicken is tender, add garam masala powder (homemade or store-bought packet garam masala). Stir well.
  • Cook the chicken until the gravy gets slightly dry (means simple semi-gravy or sauce-like creamy consistency) and the red rogan(juice) floats on top of the gravy. Turn off the heat.
  • Indian restaurant or dhaba style easy homemade Chicken masala is ready. Garnish this chicken curry with chopped coriander and best to serve this dish with rice, naan, roti (phulka), paratha, or biryani.

Notes

  • I fully make this recipe with vegetable oil, however, to make this chicken curry more flavorsome can cook it in half ghee or butter and half vegetable oil. Ghee makes the chicken and gravy more flavorful similar to Shahi Mughlai style Murgh Masala recipe. Whereas Butter not only makes the chicken gravy aromatic but also brings Punjabi dhabas-style taste.
  • Are you using frozen chicken in this recipe? Then must defrost the chicken in the microwave or mix the chicken with salt(3-4 tbsp) and keep it for 1 hr. After 1 hr salt melts down the ice in the chicken. Then thoroughly wash the chicken to remove the excess salt and then marinade & cook the chicken as I described in this recipe.
  • For making this recipe I used chicken net weight of 1 kg. If you are using chicken net weight less than 1 kg then use slightly less ginger garlic paste and powdered spices (as described in the ingredients). Otherwise chicken can get a bitter taste due to using more spices. If using chicken net weight of more than 1 kg then use little more spices for killing the smell of chicken and make it delectable as well.
  • Check the next portion to see how to make this chicken masala recipe with step-by-step photos.

How to make Chicken Masala recipe with step by step pictures

Marinade the chicken

○ For making this recipe, first simply clean and wash the chicken and marinate the chicken with lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste, salt, and turmeric powder seasoning. Spices quantity as described in the ingredients.

Marinade the chicken with spices described in the ingredients

Making masala paste for this chicken curry

○ Make a paste of yogurt (Indian curd), simple red chilli powder (used at home), and Kashmiri red chilli powder.

Yogurt, simple red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder the ingredients of making this chicken curry masala paste

○ Mix all well to get a smooth and creamy paste. Keep it aside for later.

creamy masala paste for this chicken curry recipecreamy masala paste for this chicken curry recipe

How to make Chicken masala gravy

Heat a pan (kadai) on medium flame, once fumes come add vegetable oil to the pan.

○. Once the oil releases fumes, fry the onion (finely chopped onion) until the onion gets soft and succulent.

Frying OnionFrying Onion

Add tomato (cut into cubes), slightly sauté, and add a little salt to make the tomato quickly soft.

Frying tomato with fried onionFrying tomato with fried onion

Once the tomato gets soft, add the masala paste (prepared before), and simply fry the masala for a minute.

Masala paste in fryerMasala paste in fryer

○Then add coriander powder and cumin powder, mix well, and fry them well for around 1 min.

Adding cumin coriander powderAdding cumin coriander powder

Add the marinated chicken into the pan, and nicely mix the chicken with the spices.

Marinated chicken in spicy onion tomato gravyMarinated chicken in spicy onion tomato gravy

○. Roast or sauté the chicken until raw the smell of chicken goes off and the oil separates from the spices.

Chicken and spices released oilChicken and spices released oil

○. Add 2 cups of water(preferably hot water), stir it well, raise the heat to high, and let the gravy boil.

Adding waterAdding water

○ Once the gravy starts boiling, add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover the pan, slow down the heat to medium, and let the chicken cook.

Adding saltAdding salt

○ Occasionally stir the gravy, once the chicken gets tender, add garam masala powder (homemade, or can use store-bought packet garam masala too). Stir well.

Adding garam masala powderAdding garam masala powder

○ Cook the gravy until the gravy gets slightly dry (means simple semi-gravy or sauce-like creamy consistency) and the red rogan(juice) floats on top of the gravy. Turn off the heat.

Chicken Masala recipe is ready

Indian Restaurant or dhaba style Chicken masala is ready. Garnish this chicken curry with chopped coriander and best to serve this dish with rice, naan, roti (phulka), paratha, or biryani.

Serving suggestion

If you prefer rice items. Then try with Plain rice or jeera rice or pulao or biryani best goes with this curry especially if this dish is served at Lunch.

If you love naan or kulcha. Then go with Plain Naan, garlic naan, Butter naan, or butter garlic naan even the same variants of kulcha perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Go with Roti, paratha, or chapati if you love a simple North Indian meal.

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