Chicken masala in a bowl from the front.
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4.6 from 5 votes

chicken masala - nearly restaurant style

Chicken masala is a classic homestyle curry made like they would serve it in a restaurant
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken masala
Servings: 4
Calories: 444kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen

Ingredients

The onion paste

  • 2 cups onions - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

chicken masala

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3 pieces per thigh.
  • 1 tsp indian restaurant mix powder - see notes
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mild kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp kasoor methi - dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt - use a bit less if you are using table salt
  • 2 inch piece of cinnamon bark - also called cassia bark
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp garlic ginger paste - see notes
  • 2-3 green chilies cut into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste plus enough water to dilute it to the consistency of tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes - diced
  • 2-3 tbsp cilantro - coarsely chopped

Instructions

The onion paste

  • Place the onions in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely. Microwave at 70 percent until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes about 10 minutes in an 1100 watt microwave oven.
  • Remove the onions from the microwave. Be careful. They will be hot. Like burn you with the steam hot. Let them cool slightly. 
  • Place the onions, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 cup of warm water in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

chicken masala

  • In a small bowl, combine the indian restaurant mix powder, turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder, cumin, kasoor methi and salt. This is your spice mix. It goes in after the garlic ginger paste.
  • Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat until it shimmers.
  • Toss in the cinnamon bark and green cardamom. Let cook about 20 seconds. You will see little bubbles forming around the bark.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste and green chilies. Cook until the garlic ginger paste stops spluttering.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the spice mix. That's the mix you made above and put in the small bowl - not just the Indian restaurant spice mix. Stir continuously until it starts to smell really good. This takes around 30-40 seconds. Watch it carefully. If you burn the spices at this point you have to start over. This is called blooming the spices. It is one of the secrets to Indian cooking.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add half the onion paste and turn the heat up to medium high. Stir to combine. Cook for about a minute. Add the rest of the onion paste and stir again. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. Don't worry if it looks dry. The chicken will release juices as it cooks. Instant delicious.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the chicken and stir. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done. It's done when you measure the internal temperature and it says 170F, about 12-15 minutes. An instant read thermometer is a handy thing to have here...
  • If the curry is a bit thick add a bit of water or chicken stock and stir. Add the diced tomatoes and cilantro. Let the chicken masala simmer another minute or so. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
  • Garnish with a bit more cilantro if desired.

Notes

The recipe for Indian restaurant spice mix can be found here.
You can buy garlic ginger paste but it's easy to make and homemade is way better. Here's an easy recipe for garlic ginger paste. If you cook Indian fairly often it's so worth it to whip up a batch. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servings | Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 893mg | Potassium: 703mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3.2mg