Chicken Recipes/ Pakistani Food Recipes

How to make Chicken Masala (step by step) & some FAQs!

September 30, 2020
a three quarter angle view of a plate of chicken masala, a bowl of raita and a glass of water

Hey hey! Where are my “I always have boneless chicken friends at?” For many of us it’s what we always have in the freezer even if our rational brain tells us bone in is the way to go. Convenience and ease, am I right? When I asked my instagram friends whether they wanted a boneless or bone in Chicken Masala the majority went with boneless so here we are!

For a quick step by step visual and answers to questions I get A LOT keep reading otherwise…

Jump to the Chicken Masala Recipe

What is Chicken Masala? (How is it different from a Chicken Karahi)

A Chicken Masala is a flavorful Chicken Dish that has some eminently scoopable with a roti gravy or masala. Not watery like a salan (curry) and not drier like a karahi dish. While there are 1000 different ways to make it they also typically take less tomatoes than a Chicken Karahi. Also while Chicken Karahi’s often start with you cooking the chicken first and then adding the oil or ghee, in this dish it is oil first!

What makes a Chicken Masala recipe sing?

We make a variation of this dish often. Quite frequently I find myself reaching for the ginger/garlic paste or the passata or garam masala in lieu of roasted coriander and cumin. However when I have the time and the ginger/garlic and tomatoes are fresh this dish is at it’s very best. Add in some home roasted coarsely ground coriander and cumin and the effect is positively lip smacking.

top down of a plate of chicken masala

What is the quickest way to make fresh crushed Ginger and Garlic

Unless you have the world’s most mini blender or are a speedy demon with a mortar and pestle I recommend a garlic press for the garlic and the fine holes in the box grater for the ginger. Want to make grating ginger even easier? keep it in the freezer! Trust me!

How do I stop my Yoghurt from Splitting or Becoming Grainy

Despite conventional wisdom yogurt doesn’t split because it is not well whipped, although whipping it can help and it is just a nice thing to do. Yoghurt splits because of the temperature difference between that cold dairy and your piping hot curry. Solve the problem by doing things

  • make the yoghurt warmer. whipping your yoghurt first and keeping it near where you are cooking. If you forget then whip it and gently heat it in the microwave in 15 second increments till just warmed through.
  • cooling down the curry: take your curry off the stove, stir a little and slowly add the yoghurt in.

Making Chicken Masala: Step by Step

Step One: Gather your Ingredients

Ingredients for Chicken Masala

Step Two: Saute your Onion and Chilies

onions and green chili sauteed till the onions have started turning golden

Step Three: Create a masala by adding ginger, garlic and tomatoes

A spice paste sauteed till it comes together.

Step Four: Stir in the Chicken and Spices, cook till done.

A shot of Chicken Masala based cooked, moisture has been sauteed out.

Step Five: Add Yoghurt

chicken masala with yogurt swirled on

Step Six: Finishing touches and DIG IN!

A plate with rice and chicken masala, a hand holding a fork. a bowl of spiced yoghurt and a glass of water.

Want more Pakistani Boneless Chicken Recipes? Check these out!

5 from 1 vote
a three quarter angle view of a plate of chicken masala, a bowl of raita and a glass of water
Chicken Masala

A chicken dish with a little gravy and a whole lot of flavour!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Keyword: bhunna chicken, chicken, boneless chicken, karahi, masala
Servings: 4
Author: Sarah – Flour & Spice
  • 1.5 lb chicken, cut into roughly one inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1 minced green chili
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder (if you don't have it simply increase the cayenne/red chili to 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp garama masala powder
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt, whip well and keep it near where you are cooking to warm up.
Finishing Touches
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro (a must!)
  • 2-3 green chilies sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 heaped spoon roasted and coarsely ground coriander and cumin powder
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan or pot and add your onions and minced green chili

  2. Saute on medium heat till the onions edges are a golden colour, 6-7 minutes

  3. Add a splash of water and your crushed ginger and garlic, cook for a minute

  4. Stir in your tomatoes, turn the heat up and cover to rapdily soften them to save time. After a minute or so open the lid and saute on medium high heat till the moisture is gone and the masala looks lovely and cooked (oil rises to the top).

  5. Now stir in the chicken and spices and cook stirring frequently until the chicken changes colour.

  6. Cover and cook on low heat until the chicken is cooked through (breaks easily), add a little water if necessary.

  7. Tip: If this is a make ahead dish and you want to avoid any funky smells cook on low heat with a splash of water for about half an hour and then proceed to the next step.

  8. When the chicken is done then take the pot off the heat and gently mix in your well whipped room temperature yogurt.

  9. Now taste and adjust seasoning and consistency of the gravy with water. Bring to a boil to make the gravy cohesive.

  10. Add your favourite things from the finishing touches section, cover with a lid and turn the heat off. So much YUM!

Recipe Notes

No time, no problem – here are some tips for quick and easy subs!

ginger and garlic – use a heaped tsp of each 

roasted cumin and coriander – use a cracking of fresh pepper or a little extra garam masala 

yoghurt – if you don’t have any no worries, add a splash of cream at the end or a little milk! 


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