masala chilli chicken – restaurant style

Masala chilli chicken is loaded with big chilli flavours. Green chillies, chilli powder and masala chilli sauce make this chicken curry one you will not forget.

This is not the same thing as the Indo-Chinese version of chilli chicken. It is pure Indian. If that sounds good to you read on.

Restaurant style chilli chicken

This isn’t on any Indian restaurant menus that I know about. But it should be. It’s really tasty. A little different than the run of the mill classics. But every bit as good. 

Chilli chicken curry has all the goodness you expect from your favourite Indian restaurant.

Bites of boneless chicken. And that luscious sauce. The one that makes you want to mop it up with naan or chapatis. Nothing not to love.

It’s made the same way as restaurant curries. Uses all the techniques. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone puts this on their menu. Why not?

The world needs variety. Someday you’ll go to an Indian restaurant and be able to order something besides a tikka masala or a jalfrezi.

And that will be OK with me. I will raise a glass. Hope it’s OK with you too.


Bowl of chilli chicken from the front.


Masala chilli chicken uses Indian chilli sauce

I’m not a fan of pre-fab ingredients. I’m just not. It actually kind of goes against the whole point of this blog.

Scratch cooking. I do use a few pre-fab ingredients. Everybody does. I’m not preaching here. 

Sometimes something comes along that inspires a whole new recipe though. And that’s what happened here.

I bought this masala chilli sauce when I was poking around my local Indian grocer. Just to see what it was about.

I tasted it when I got home. Just straight from the bottle. I’m bad that way. And I loved it. Loved the flavour profile.

Decided on the spot I needed to use it in a curry. So I came up with masala chilli chicken.

Truth be told I’d put this stuff on a burger. On eggs. French fries. It’s like ketchup only better. I think it could even fix a hot dog. I am a fan. 

This is not a sponsored post. Nobody is paying me to say nice things about their product. I will never do that. Not ever. I just like the taste…


Chilli sauce, green chillies and fresh curry leaves from above.


Finger hot or jwala chillies

This is chilli chicken. So it needs chilies. In my world anyway. And so there are lots. 2 or 3 whole chillies in two servings. This curry is a little spicier than some of the others on glebe kitchen.

I get asked a lot about what chillies I use. I keep saying finger hot green but it doesn’t always seem to register.

Finger hot green chilies are usually about as long as your finger. Look kind of like big Thai chillies. But not as hot.

They are fairly thin skinned. Not like a jalapeno or serrano. An Asian chilli. I use them all over the place. Google them.

They are called green jwala chillies or Indian finger hot. Any Indian grocer should have them. Some green grocers will too.


Masala chilli chicken and rice table scene from above.


Restaurant style curry means restaurant technique

The recipes labelled restaurant style on glebekitchen are not sort of like restaurant style. Not fakeaway.  

They are restaurant style. Like they make them in restaurants. So it’s a little different from what you might be used to.

This is cooking curries to order. In 10 minutes or less. So you need to do your prep. Once you get started on masala chilli chicken there’s no time to futz around. It’s not hard. You just need to think it through before you start.

It’s a different concept though. So if it’s new to you start with this guide to Indian restaurant curry making. There’s even a video.

It will all make sense. Trust me. Just do it. And impress the hell out of all your friends.

Maybe try one curry before you invite 10 people over though. A little bit of practice is not a bad idea. Get into your groove first.

Masala chilli chicken. A curry that doesn’t really exist. But one that should should. If you like a madras or a jalfrezi or a pathia curry you’re going to love this.

Dare to be different. Try something out of the ordinary. You won’t regret it. Or don’t. And wonder what you’re missing…


Spoonful of chilli chicken from the front.


Close up of chilli chicken in an Indian style bowl from above.
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4.95 from 18 votes

masala chilli chicken - restaurant style

Indian restaurant masala chilli chicken may not be a classic dish on the menu of every Indian restaurant out there but it should be.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chilli chicken, restaurant curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 547kcal
Author glebe kitchen


The spice mix

  • 1 tsp indian restaurant spice mix or curry powder - recipe link below
  • 1 1/2 tsp hot madras curry powder or use more indian restaurant mix powder if you don't have any madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder optional - there's a fair bit of fire in the masala chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

The curry ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp garlic/ginger paste - recipe link below
  • 1/4 cup chilli sauce There are a few varieties available where I shop. The one I use is Maggi masala chilli sauce but there are others. The ones from Sri Lanka are good too.
  • 15 oz curry base - recipe link below
  • 10-12 oz pre-cooked chicken
  • 2-3 green chilies finger hot or jwala green chillies
  • 10 fresh curry leaves optional


  • Make the spice mix.
  • Measure out your masala chilli sauce.
  • Heat your frying pan (don't use non-stick) briefly over medium heat. Add the oil.
  • Now add the garlic ginger paste. Add it into the pan and cook it, stirring constantly, until it stops sputtering.
  • Turn down the heat. Add the chillies and curry leaves if using. Cook for 30 seconds or so.
  • Now add the spice mix. This is the critical step. Stir it constantly for 30 seconds. If it starts to darken lift the pan off the heat. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high. This is important. The heat is what gives the curry its Indian restaurant flavour. As you become more comfortable with this technique push harder. I run my stove near flat out. Add the masala chilli sauce and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
  • Add 3 oz of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Think lively boil. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here. Sticking is OK. Just scrape it back into the base. Burning is bad.
  • Now add 6 oz of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form. Turn the heat down to low and add the pre-cooked chicken.
  • Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don't add water.
  • Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh cilantro and serve.


The recipe for curry base is here.
The recipe for indian restaurant spice mix is here
The recipe for garlic ginger paste is here.
If you haven't read about Indian restaurant technique yet, do that before you start cooking.
Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
If you are making multiple curries, have your curry base warming in a pot on the stove. If you are just making one, microwave it to warm it up right before you start cooking.
Indian restaurants pre-cook their meat so it's ready for service. This recipe assumes the same. To pre-cook chicken, simply simmer it with a bit of curry powder and salt in chicken stock for about 10-15 minutes - until it's barely cooked.
To pre-cook lamb or beef, do the same but plan for 1 to 1 1/2 hours for lamb and 2 hours or more for beef. You are making stew meat so you are braising until tender. You will need to keep an eye on the level of the stock. For beef use beef stock.


Serving: 2servings | Calories: 547kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1354mg | Potassium: 478mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 108.7mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2.1mg

40 thoughts on “masala chilli chicken – restaurant style”

  1. This is absolutely stunning recipe! I’ve made this with chicken but also with pork and with chickpeas. They all work super.

    • I don’t really like to rely on pre-fab ingredients but for this one there just isn’t another way!

    • Now you’ve made the leap you’ll be able to cook all the restaurant style dishes on the blog! Hope you family enjoys them all as much!

  2. Have made this several times excellent. I was in my local indian supermarket when the owner said to try Maggi hot sweet sauce for a change so i did, not as hot but delicious.
    Regards jeff

  3. 5 stars
    Another amazing curry, my husband’s favourite so far, im still with the pathia.
    I certainly have a lot of friends wanting to come for dinner!!
    Last weekend i made this, pathia korma and bombay potatoes with birinani rice and pilau.
    Another dish tonight and yet more friends next week for a new 1.

  4. Hi, Romain,
    I made your Masala Chilli Chicken for Saturday night dinner and and once again an excellent meal was had.
    I always make extra and Sunday nights Masala chilli naan bread pizza was an absolute winner. I have never added chilli sauce to a curry recipe but I think it added an extra level of flavour that I might find it hard not to do every time now. So good in fact, that it’s once again simmering on the stove, and it’s only Tuesday! I may have asked this before Romain but can you tell me? Where is the crossroad and is it easy to get to? Thanks again.

    • Haha. I think you did. Everybody finds their crossroads in different places. Mine was in a gourmet grocery store:-)

      Try the masala sauce as a ketchup replacement. It’s amazing!

  5. 5 stars
    Dear Romain, can you please make a recipe which I can rate with less than five stars? 😉 It becomes a convenience! All of our family, we are a big fan of glebekitchen, as you might have noticed…:-)) No one here seems to look up from it anymore: it is always a hit, we are used to it! So what can I write here? I have to admit that I stopped sending a comment on every recipe I have made, because I would only repeat myself. So I made many successful recipes without sending a comment, because it would be an overload of 5-star comments! Someone else commented to be thankful that you teach these recipes to us. I agree: yes, you are a teacher! Thanks, thanks, thanks again! Everyone here was enjoying another glebekitchen happy meal! And one of my friends sent me a message: he cooked many of your recipes already, and he is a big fan now, too! The Maggi brand Chili Masala is great, as well as the Tamarind sauce.
    Kind regards, Daniel and family.

    • Hi Daniel,

      You always bring a smile to my face. Feel free to leave short comments anytime you want. Just five or six words if you like. I just enjoy seeing what recipes you try.



  6. 5 stars
    I’ve had 3 of these in a week. I really need to calm it down haha. Absolutely amazing, I’m getting more confident with the cooking technique now. Think I’ll try the shahi korma next.

    Thanks for another great recipe Romain!

    • I haven’t tried this. It will be very heavy on the tomato as there’s quite a lot in the hotel base. If you follow the hotel technique (don’t add the base in batches or fry it hard) and add the chicken raw it will work. But the tomato taste will be more pronounced. Not a bad thing if you like tomatoes certainly:-).

  7. Haven’t been to my curry house for months and after this chilli Masala I have no intention of returning soon. This chilli Masala is superb.
    Looking forward to the lamb vindiloo next.
    Regards jeff

  8. 5 stars
    This is my go to at the restaurant always woundered how they did it woooooow it’s very close if not better cheers dude

  9. This is our new favorite curry to make. Lockdown awarded us some extra time to practice. Greetings from Cape Town.

    • I am always happy to hear when people discover new curries they like! Can’t live on madras and jalfrezi alone!

  10. Do you use boneless chicken in this? Also it would be easier if you gave the weight of raw chicken rather than cooked. Otherwise your recipes are great. I’ve recommended your website to a number of friends

    • Thank you for telling your friends. Personally, I use boneless chicken thighs for restaurant style curries and bone-in skinless thighs for homestyle. And for boneless the precise amount isn’t so critical. Somewhere around 10-12 oz cooked weight is fine. Start perhaps with a little more raw weight and you’ll be fine.

  11. 5 stars
    Spent the weekend making my curry base, ginger/garlic paste, powder mix… Just made this (and a butter chicken for my wife), I’m blown away! Never made a BIR curry before, it’s fantastic! Literally just like the restaurant.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to teach people this.

    • Sriracha is completely different. This chilli sauce is really distinctive and has a strong Indian flavour profile. Can you find any Indian chilli sauce? There are some from Sri Lanka as well. MD makes one.

4.95 from 18 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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