Chicken Masala recipe – How to make Chicken Masala at Home

Craving the rich, aromatic flavors of Indian cuisine? Look no further than this tantalizing Chicken Masala recipe! Perfectly balanced spices, tender chicken, and a velvety sauce come together to create a culinary masterpiece. Don your apron and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we guide you through the steps to create this irresistible dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Exploring the Origins of Chicken Masala

Chicken Masala is a quintessential dish in Indian cuisine, beloved for its rich flavors and comforting aroma. Its roots can be traced back to the diverse culinary traditions of the Indian subcontinent, where spices are used not just for heat but also for depth of flavor.

In Indian households, recipes for Chicken Masala often vary from region to region, with each family adding its unique touch to the dish. However, the core elements remain consistent: tender chicken simmered in a fragrant blend of spices, onions, tomatoes, and yogurt.

Cultural Significance

Beyond its culinary appeal, Chicken Masala holds cultural significance in India and beyond. It is often served during festive occasions, family gatherings, and celebrations, symbolizing warmth, hospitality, and togetherness.

In addition to its cultural importance, Chicken Masala has gained popularity on a global scale, thanks to its rich and complex flavors. It has become a staple in Indian restaurants worldwide, enticing diners with its tantalizing aroma and irresistible taste.


  • 500g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, pureed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


1. Marinate the Chicken:

  • In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt.
  • Mix well to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer for enhanced flavor.

2. Prepare the Masala Base:

  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  • Stir in the chopped green chilies and continue to cook for another minute.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes and cook until the oil starts to separate from the masala.

3. Cook the Chicken:

  • Once the masala base is ready, add the marinated chicken along with any excess marinade.
  • Mix well to combine the chicken with the masala.
  • Cover the pan and let the chicken cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Spice it Up:

  • Once the chicken is cooked through and tender, add coriander powder, garam masala, and ground black pepper.
  • Stir well to incorporate the spices into the dish.
  • Adjust salt and spices according to your taste preference.

5. Garnish and Serve:

  • Garnish the Chicken Masala with fresh coriander leaves for a burst of freshness and color.
  • Serve hot with fluffy rice, naan bread, or roti for a complete and satisfying meal.


  • For a richer gravy, you can add a tablespoon of cream or cashew paste towards the end of cooking.
  • Adjust the spice level by varying the amount of red chili powder and green chilies according to your preference.
  • To make the dish healthier, you can use Greek yogurt or low-fat yogurt instead of regular yogurt.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for longer for maximum flavor infusion.
  • Use fresh, high-quality spices for the best flavor results.

Tips for Perfecting Your Chicken Masala

While the basic recipe for Chicken Masala is relatively simple, there are several tips and tricks you can employ to elevate your dish to restaurant-quality perfection:

  1. Slow Cooking: Allow the chicken to simmer gently in the masala sauce over low heat. This slow cooking method ensures that the flavors meld together beautifully, resulting in tender, juicy chicken infused with aromatic spices.

  2. Toasting Spices: Toasting whole spices such as cumin seeds before grinding them can enhance their flavor profile. Simply dry roast the spices in a pan until fragrant, then grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

  3. Balancing Flavors: Achieving the perfect balance of flavors is key to a delicious Chicken Masala. Taste the dish as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, spices, or acidity (such as lemon juice) to achieve a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, tangy, and savory notes.

  4. Customizing Heat: If you prefer a milder version of Chicken Masala, you can reduce the amount of chili powder and green chilies or omit them altogether. Conversely, if you enjoy a spicy kick, feel free to increase the amount of chili powder or add extra chopped green chilies to suit your taste.

Variations to Explore

While this recipe provides a traditional approach to Chicken Masala, don’t hesitate to get creative and experiment with different ingredients and techniques. Here are a few variations to consider:

  1. Butter Chicken: Substitute the vegetable oil with butter for a decadent twist on Chicken Masala known as Butter Chicken. Finish the dish with a drizzle of cream for added richness.

  2. Bone-in Chicken: For a more authentic texture and flavor, use bone-in chicken pieces instead of boneless. The bones impart extra depth to the sauce while keeping the meat moist and succulent.

  3. Vegetarian Option: Swap the chicken for paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu to create a vegetarian version of Chicken Masala. Both options absorb the flavors of the masala beautifully and offer a satisfying alternative for non-meat eaters.

  4. Coconut Milk: For a South Indian-inspired twist, add coconut milk to the masala sauce for a creamy, slightly sweet flavor profile. This variation pairs wonderfully with fragrant rice or coconut-infused breads like appam or dosa.


With this simple yet sensational Chicken Masala recipe, you can bring the authentic flavors of Indian cuisine to your dining table with ease. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or simply craving a comforting meal, this dish is sure to impress. So roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the aromatic delights of homemade Chicken Masala!

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