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Close up of chilli chicken in an Indian style bowl from above.
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4.93 from 13 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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chilli chicken, restaurant curry
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