Chicken Masala
Chicken Masala
5 from 16 votes
Dive into a cultural experience as we whip up a delightful chicken masala, a recipe with an impressive blend of spices that will take your taste buds on an exotic journey. Enhance your culinary skills and bring a piece of India into your kitchen today.
Chicken Masala

Embark with me on a culinary journey as we explore the incredible realm of Indian cuisine, with our star dish, Chicken Masala.  

This recipe is steeped in history, originating from the flavourful and spice-rich South Asia, predominantly India. Its roots can be traced back to the Mughal era when Indian cuisine was heavily influenced by Persian cooking techniques. 

Let’s be clear here, Chicken Masala isn’t a walk in the park. Its intricate blend of spices demands attention and the perfect balance, making it a medium-difficulty recipe.  

However, the reward is absolutely worth the effort, as each mouthful bursts with a symphony of flavours, enough to impress any gourmand. 

Chicken Masala, despite its traditional roots, is open to variations. For the vegetarians out there, Paneer Masala swaps the chicken for fresh, homemade Indian cottage cheese. 

Alternatively, one might opt for the fiery Chicken Tikka Masala, a British adaptation that leans towards a creamy, tomato-based gravy, a divergence from the authentic Indian style. 

While the core ingredients remain constant, regional variations within India abound.  

Some use coconut milk to provide a velvety richness to the curry, while others add a touch of sourness with tamarind paste or amchur (dry mango powder). This recipe I’m sharing is a blend of all my favourite elements from various regional styles. 

It is essential to recognize that each ingredient plays a unique role in contributing to the final flavour of the Chicken Masala.  

From the tartness of tomatoes to the warmth of garam masala, everything has its part to play. And it’s not just about flavour; the nutritional aspects of the ingredients can’t be ignored. I’ll be diving into these details in the later sections, so stay tuned! 

Oh, and for all those cooking novices, fear not! Despite the complexity and history of the recipe, the process of cooking Chicken Masala can be a fun and educational experience.  

So, grab your apron and get ready to take a gastronomic voyage to the heart of Indian cuisine. It’s a recipe that, once mastered, will be your go-to impressive dish. I can assure you, the journey is worth it! 

Indian cuisine is as diverse as its culture, and the Chicken Masala, in all its glory, is a testament to that. With each bite, you experience a piece of India, its history, its vibrant culture, and its love for food. Let’s get started 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Entering the world of cooking a Chicken Masala, it’s essential to grasp the role of each ingredient in our delicious symphony.  

Every element of this dish has a purpose – whether it’s contributing to the aromatic profile, amplifying the overall taste, or adding to the texture. Let’s dissect this culinary masterpiece and understand why each ingredient is key to making this dish extraordinary. 

Olive Oil: Starting with the base, olive oil, an essential in many cuisines, holds an important role in our Chicken Masala. Its fruity notes subtly elevate the overall flavour profile, and its high smoke point makes it ideal for frying our onions and spices.  

Though not traditionally used in Indian cuisine, it is a healthy alternative to other cooking oils. You can also use ghee or coconut oil for a more authentic Indian touch. 

Onions: The unsung heroes of most savoury dishes. Onions lend a sweet, caramel-like depth when cooked down, which forms the backbone of our Chicken Masala. They’re practically irreplaceable, but shallots could serve as a sweeter, albeit more subtle, alternative. 

Tomatoes: They’re our source of acidity in this dish, balancing out the richness and heat of the other ingredients. If fresh tomatoes are not available, you could use canned tomatoes or even a dash of tomato paste. 

Chicken Drumsticks: This recipe calls for chicken drumsticks, as they are juicy and flavourful. However, you can use any part of the chicken you prefer. For a vegetarian alternative, tofu or paneer can be used. 

Chilli Powder, Green Chillies: Our source of heat. Both are adjustable according to your heat preference. Cayenne can be an alternative to chilli powder, while jalapenos could substitute for green chillies. 

Turmeric Powder: Turmeric imparts a mild earthy flavour and a golden hue to our Chicken Masala. It also carries numerous health benefits. While there are no perfect substitutes, a mix of cumin and lemon zest can mimic some aspects of turmeric. 

Garam Masala: This blend of ground spices is the heart of Chicken Masala. It’s what gives the dish its characteristic warmth and complexity. There are various versions of garam masala, so feel free to experiment. 

Salt: Our primary seasoning agent. The right amount of salt can transform a dish, intensifying and tying together all other flavours. 

Garlic Paste: Garlic is another backbone ingredient. It’s almost irreplaceable, but in a pinch, asafoetida can replicate some of garlic’s pungent characteristics. 

Cumin Seeds: They give an earthy, smoky note that’s distinctive in Indian cuisine. Caraway seeds could be used as an alternative, although they have a sweeter profile. 

Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Methi): They lend a slightly sweet and bitter note to the dish. If unavailable, you can use fresh fenugreek leaves or even celery leaves for a different flavour profile. 

Coriander: Freshly chopped coriander not only adds colour but also gives a refreshing lift to our Chicken Masala. 

Now that you’re well-versed in our ingredient list, it’s time to don your chef’s hat and start cooking.  

As you proceed, remember, that each ingredient you add is not merely for the taste but also for the soul of the dish. Enjoy the process, and soon, you’ll have a pot of the most aromatic and flavourful Chicken Masala ready to devour. Happy cooking! 

Unveiling the Secrets of Perfect Chicken Masala 

In the realm of Indian cuisine, there’s an art to achieving the perfect balance of spices, and Chicken Masala is a shining example of this delicate balance. With a perfect blend of spices, Chicken Masala promises a flavour explosion that lingers on the palate. But, how do you create this delightful dance of spices? 

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the role of each spice. Indian spices are not merely used for flavouring but for their digestive and medicinal benefits as well. Cumin seeds and turmeric, for instance, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties. 

Secondly, the order in which the spices are added plays a critical role in developing flavours. In Chicken Masala, spices are typically sautéed in oil, releasing their aromatic oils and creating a flavour base for the dish. It’s essential to cook them properly to prevent a raw, unappealing taste. 

Next, a tip I’ve learned from years of cooking Indian cuisine is to make a paste of the spices. This way, they coat the chicken more effectively, allowing the flavours to penetrate deep into the meat. 

Patience is a virtue when cooking Chicken Masala. Simmering the chicken in the masala over low heat ensures that it absorbs all the flavours. This slow cooking process might take longer, but it’s well worth the wait. 

Lastly, remember that good food takes time. Don’t rush the cooking process. Allow the dish to rest for a while before serving. This lets the flavours marry together, enhancing the overall taste of your Chicken Masala. 

Mastering the Art of Authentic Indian Chicken Masala 

Indian cuisine is lauded worldwide for its robust flavours, unique spice blends, and rich gravies. Chicken Masala, a staple in this culinary repertoire, is no exception. In this journey of mastering the art of authentic Indian Chicken Masala, there are a few key points I’d like to share. 

First, when it comes to Indian cooking, fresh ingredients are a game-changer. Freshly ground spices, ripe tomatoes, and good-quality chicken can make all the difference in your Chicken Masala. When I cook, I always prioritize freshness over convenience. 

Secondly, the onions. Yes, I stress onions because they’re the base of your curry. The key to a great Chicken Masala lies in how well you caramelize your onions.  

They need to be cooked until they’re brown, not burnt, but a beautiful deep golden brown. This process can take some time, but it adds a rich, deep flavour to the curry that you can’t achieve otherwise. 

The tomatoes follow the onions. It’s vital to cook them until they’re soft and the raw smell disappears. This is when they blend perfectly with the spices, creating a well-rounded flavour profile. 

Another crucial aspect of Indian cooking, and specifically Chicken Masala, is ‘bhunai,’ or roasting. This involves cooking the spices with the chicken on high heat while continuously stirring. This process helps to intensify the flavours and gives the curry a thicker consistency. 

Now, I understand the list of spices can be overwhelming for those new to Indian cooking. However, I’d suggest investing in some basic Indian spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.  

These form the base for many Indian recipes, and once you have these, you can experiment with other spices. 

Finally, don’t forget the garnish. A sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves can add a burst of freshness and colour to your Chicken Masala, making it even more appetizing. 

Mastering Chicken Masala takes patience and practice, but trust me, it’s a rewarding experience. So, tie up that apron, gather your spices, and embark on a delicious adventure of Indian cooking. 

The Journey of Chicken Masala from India to Global Tables 

Chicken Masala has emerged from the rich tapestry of Indian cuisine and has made its way into the global culinary scene. It’s no secret that Indian cuisine boasts an array of delicious, flavour-packed dishes. However, Chicken Masala holds a special place, and here’s why. 

Like a delightful story unfolding, the journey of Chicken Masala started from the vibrant kitchens of North India.  

Its distinct aroma and heart-warming flavours quickly won over the palates of Indian food lovers. But it didn’t stop there. Soon, Chicken Masala began crossing borders and took the global culinary scene by storm. 

What intrigues me most about this journey is the adaptability of the dish. From the spicy, tangy original version to the milder adaptations created to suit different palates, Chicken Masala has seen it all. And yet, it has retained its essence. 

In my experience, what makes Chicken Masala so popular worldwide is its balance of flavours.  

The sweet caramelized onions, the tang from the tomatoes, the heat from the chili powder, and the medley of spices come together to create a dish that resonates with almost everyone. It’s a dance of flavours, a harmony that caters to diverse taste buds. 

Navigating the Spices of Chicken Masala: A Flavourful Guide 

Cooking Chicken Masala can be a lot like conducting an orchestra, where each spice plays its part in harmony to produce a symphony of flavours. Today, I’d like to guide you through the spice journey that is Chicken Masala. 

Let’s start with the headliner: Garam Masala. It’s a blend of ground spices, including cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to name a few. The unique thing about garam masala is that there’s no fixed recipe.  

Each household, each region, and even each brand has its own version. It brings a depth of flavour and warmth to the dish, earning it the lead role in Chicken Masala. 

Next up is the humble turmeric. You might think it’s there for colour, and while it does give Chicken Masala its characteristic golden hue, it also imparts a subtle earthy flavour. 

Chilli powder and green chillies add heat, a quintessential component of Indian cuisine. However, the spice levels can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. 

The cumin seeds have a dual role. They’re added whole at the beginning, where they pop and sizzle, releasing their aroma into the oil. Later, they’re added as a powder, bringing an earthy smokiness to the dish. 

Garlic, the powerhouse of flavour, lends a pungent kick to Chicken Masala, ensuring that the dish has a robust taste profile. 

Finally, dried fenugreek leaves or Kasuri Methi, though used sparingly, make a significant impact. They have a slightly sweet, nutty taste that rounds off the flavours beautifully. 

The world of spices can seem daunting, but once you’ve understood their roles and how they interact with each other, you’ll find it’s like a well-choreographed dance. And the result of this dance? A delicious pot of Chicken Masala that bursts with flavours with every bite. 

The Nutritional Benefits of Indulging in Chicken Masala 

While most of us love Chicken Masala for its tempting aroma and delightful flavours, there’s another dimension to this dish. A dimension that often goes unnoticed, but is worth exploring – its nutritional profile. 

I would like to emphasize that Chicken Masala is not just a flavourful indulgence, but it also packs a nutritional punch. Chicken, as we all know, is a high-quality source of protein, essential for body growth and maintenance.  

It also provides a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus. 

But, let’s not stop there. The spices used in Chicken Masala also come with an array of health benefits.  

Turmeric, for instance, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to curcumin, its active ingredient. Cumin, another star of our dish, aids digestion and may also have anti-cancer properties. 

Garlic and onions, the backbone of many Indian recipes, including Chicken Masala, are known for their potential heart health benefits. They are said to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

And how can we forget tomatoes? These bright red fruits, yes fruits, not only lend a tangy flavour but also supply our bodies with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been linked to many health benefits. 

The Role of Chicken in the Success Story of Chicken Masala 

It wouldn’t be Chicken Masala without chicken, would it? It’s the star of the show and deserves all the attention it gets. Chicken, in its different forms, plays a significant role in giving this dish its character. 

In my view, what makes chicken the perfect choice for Chicken Masala is its versatility. Be it chicken breast for the health-conscious, chicken thighs for those who prefer a little more fat and flavour, or chicken drumsticks for a hearty bite – chicken offers options to suit every preference. 

The chicken absorbs the masala beautifully, making every bite an explosion of flavours. The juices from the chicken also seep into the masala, enhancing its taste. It’s a give-and-take relationship that works perfectly in creating this delightful dish. 

The beauty of Chicken Masala lies in the fact that it can be adapted to fit your personal taste. Prefer boneless chunks of chicken? Go for it! Want to use a whole chicken cut into pieces? Absolutely! This flexibility is what makes Chicken Masala a universal favourite. 

Moreover, chicken is known for its health benefits. It’s a lean source of protein, providing necessary nutrients without an excess of fat and calories. It’s also easier to digest compared to red meats. 

So, whether you’re cooking up a storm for a family dinner or preparing a quick meal for yourself, Chicken Masala with its versatile chicken options is sure to leave everyone satiated. This is the magic of Chicken Masala, a dish that never fails to impress. 

Decoding the Cooking Process of Chicken Masala 

Creating a dish as complex and flavour-packed as Chicken Masala may seem intimidating, but it’s truly an art that can be mastered with a little understanding. Today, I’d like to walk you through the cooking process of this delightful dish. 

The process begins with heating oil and sautéing onions until they’re golden brown. This is where the magic begins. The onions are the foundation of the dish, lending it a sweet undertone that contrasts beautifully with the spices. 

Next, tomatoes are added to the pan. As they soften and break down, they lend the dish a tangy note and contribute to its rich, luscious gravy. Following this, the spices are added and cooked until their flavours meld together. 

Introducing the chicken into the pan marks the next stage of the process. It’s important to ensure the chicken pieces are coated well with the masala, allowing the flavours to seep into the meat. 

A key point to note during the cooking process is the importance of time and patience. Chicken Masala isn’t a dish that can be rushed. It needs to be slow-cooked, allowing the ingredients to blend together harmoniously. 

The final flourish to the Chicken Masala comes with the addition of garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves, and freshly chopped coriander. These last-minute add-ons enhance the flavour profile of the dish, making it truly irresistible. 

Appreciating the Subtle Variations in Chicken Masala Recipes 

Even though Chicken Masala is a classic dish, its recipe is far from rigid. Just like the diverse culture of India, Chicken Masala also revels in its variations, each bringing a unique twist to the table. 

Starting from the north, you’ll find a version of Chicken Masala that heavily relies on dairy. Yogurt or cream is often used to balance the heat of the spices, resulting in a rich, creamy gravy. The Punjabi variant also tends to include a generous amount of butter, lending the dish a decadent touch. 

Moving towards the south, the recipe undergoes a transformation. Coconut, a staple in South Indian cuisine, makes its appearance in the form of milk or grated flesh, lending the dish a distinct sweet and creamy note. 

Then there are variations within these broad categories. Some households might prefer their Chicken Masala extra spicy, some might lean towards a tangier version, while others might appreciate a milder taste. Some might add potatoes to the mix, transforming it into a hearty, filling dish. 

The beauty of Chicken Masala lies not only in its delectable flavours but also in its flexibility. It’s a dish that accommodates preferences and encourages experimentation. This trait is what makes Chicken Masala a dish that is loved by all, regardless of regional boundaries. 

The Beauty of Garam Masala in Chicken Masala 

Chicken Masala without Garam Masala? It’s almost unimaginable. This spice blend, literally translating to “warm spice”, is a key player in our beloved Chicken Masala. It’s a melody of spices, each with its unique note, creating a symphony when they come together. 

But why do I particularly love Garam Masala in Chicken Masala? It’s the complexity it brings to the dish. Its warm, pungent, sweet, and spicy flavours envelop the chicken, infusing it with a depth that’s hard to resist. 

This aromatic blend usually includes cumin, coriander, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel, mace, and dried chillies.  

Each component adds a different layer of flavour to the dish. The combination of these spices helps elevate the chicken’s taste, resulting in a dish that’s bold, flavourful, and satisfying. 

Garam Masala is usually added towards the end of the cooking process, to ensure that the volatile oils, which hold much of the flavour, are preserved. A dash of Garam Masala can be transformative, turning an ordinary dish into something special. 

Mastering the Art of Balancing Spices in Chicken Masala 

If there’s one aspect of cooking Chicken Masala that feels like a tightrope walk, it’s balancing the spices. The delicate dance of flavours is what sets this dish apart. Too little spice, and it falls flat. Too much, and it’s overpowering. 

So, how do I go about achieving this perfect balance? First and foremost, it’s important to understand the potency of each spice. For example, the heat from the chilli powder and the pungency of the garam masala need to be offset by the milder and sweeter tones of turmeric and fenugreek leaves. 

Another key is to use fresh spices. Fresh spices have more potency, so you’ll need less of them. If you’re using older spices, you may need to use more to achieve the same level of flavour. 

Cooking the spices correctly is another essential element. They need to be cooked just enough to bring out their flavours, but not too much that they lose their character or turn bitter. This is why spices are often cooked in oil, as it helps to unlock their flavours. 

Lastly, tasting as you cook is a simple yet effective strategy. It allows you to adjust the spices as you go along. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take away. 

Mastering the art of balancing spices in Chicken Masala may take some practice, but the reward is a dish that’s bursting with flavour, yet perfectly balanced. It’s a culinary challenge that’s definitely worth undertaking. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Before I head out of my kitchen, I want to leave you with a few more culinary ideas that will warm your heart and tingle your tastebuds just like the Chicken Masala did. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss these. 

First, I want to bring your attention to the Chicken Tandoori, a traditional Indian dish where the chicken is marinated in a delightful blend of yoghurt and spices and then grilled to perfection.  

The aroma alone will have you hooked, and the succulent taste will have you coming back for more. If you loved my Chicken Masala, I have a feeling this one is going to be a big hit too. 

Next on my list, let’s talk about the Chicken Jalfrezi. Now, this dish is an interesting one because it marries the heat of green chillies with the sweet tanginess of bell peppers and tomatoes. It’s a delight for anyone who loves a good Chicken Masala but is ready to try something just a bit different. 

Now, don’t even get me started on the Lamb Karahi. Succulent pieces of lamb, slow-cooked in a rich, spicy gravy until it’s so tender that it falls right off the bone.  

It’s a hearty and wholesome dish that shares a lot of similar ingredients with the Chicken Masala, making it an easy transition for anyone wanting to explore other meat options in Indian cuisine. 

Now, you may ask me, why not something for the seafood lovers? Well, I’ve got you covered. Our Masala Fish is something to behold.  

The fish fillets are marinated in a spice-infused batter and then pan-fried to crispy, golden perfection. Trust me when I say, it’ll transport your taste buds to the coastal regions of India with every bite. 

Finally, let’s talk about something to satisfy your sweet tooth after all those spicy curries. The Rice Kheer, a creamy and aromatic rice pudding, is the perfect dessert to wind down your Indian feast. 

Infused with cardamom and garnished with a sprinkling of nuts and dried fruits, it’s a sweet treat that complements our Chicken Masala wonderfully. 

There you have it, my friends, a handful of dishes that I believe will tickle your fancy if you’re a fan of our star of the day, Chicken Masala. Remember to leave your feedback in the comments section. 

Chicken Masala

Chicken Masala

by Nabeela Kauser
Dive into a cultural experience as we whip up a delightful chicken masala, a recipe with an impressive blend of spices that will take your taste buds on an exotic journey.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 342 kcal


  • 100 ml Olive Oil
  • 2 Onions
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1 kg Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds Jeera
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Methi
  • Coriander


  • In a pan add the olive oil and heat up for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until hot
  • Add the finely sliced onions and cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned – make sure that the oil is hot before the onions are added as this will allow the onions to soften properly
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes are soft
  • Add the salt, garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and the finely chopped green chillies then cook the spices for 5 minutes ensuring that you add some water so that the spices do not burn
  • Add the chicken drumsticks and coat with the masala before covering with a lid and allowing to cook for 20-30 minutes – you can use whole chicken or other parts of the chicken if you prefer
  • Add the crushed cumin seeds, dried fenugreek leaves and freshly chopped coriander then cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Serve with naan bread and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 16gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 480mgPotassium: 382mgFibre: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 773IUVitamin C: 14mgVitamin D: 0.2µgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Coconut Chicken Curry, Cooking, Curry, Food, Masala, Recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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5 months ago

Best in the game


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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