Chicken masala

IMG_3252Farewell to an Indian summer, well spent in Mumbai, Delhi and Goa and welcome back to food blogging in my home here in the city by the bay. I am back in the kitchen, rejuvenated and ready to light it up with some new flavours and exciting dishes. Nostalgia creeps in and takes me to my mom’s kitchen in Mumbai, where she cooked delicious home-made Indian fare for me and my daughter while we were there. With wonderful memories of my trip to India to visit family and friends, I also have vivid visuals in my mind of some delicious food we ate outside at local eateries and restaurants. From Gujarati vegetarian to coastal seafood, from mouth-watering Delhi street food to fusion cuisine, I sampled it all!

Today, for a leisurely Saturday dinner at home, I decided to make chicken masala. It’s simple, with basic ingredients one would use in any Indian curry. For a slight twist and creamy texture to the dish, I added a dollop of cashewnut, white poppy seeds and white sesame seeds paste. It imparts a nice and nutty taste to the masala. I also made a small batch of fresh garam masala powder, it makes a big difference! I used chicken legs, since my little daughter loves them in any way! One can use any cut of chicken, preferably with the bones intact. The dish turned out delicious, I am not boasting :-). It can be eaten with rotis, parathas, naans, plain rice or pilaf, whatever floats your boat that day 🙂

Ingredients :

Chicken legs, skinless – 5

I cup chopped onions

1 tomato, finely chopped

Whole garam masala( 3 cloves, few peppercorns, 2-3 green cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon stick)

1 bay leaf

Fresh garam masala powder- 1 tsp. Dry roast the following spices for 1-2 minutes in a small pan- 1 tsp. coriander seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, a few peppercorns, 4 cloves, 4 green cardamoms, 1 inch piece cinnamon stick. Grind with a mortar pestle or in a spice grinder, along with a small blade of mace. IMG_3238

1 tsp. paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder

1/4 tsp. turmeric powder

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 large garlic clove, grated

1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Canola oil – 1 tbsp.

1 tbsp. cashewnut/white poppy seeds/white sesame seeds paste. Soak a handful of unsalted cashewnuts and poppy seeds in water for a few minutes. Grind to a fine paste along with sesame seeds and little water.

Method :



Heat oil in a non stick skillet on medium heat. Add all the whole garam masala and bay leaf. Add the chopped onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes till light golden brown. Add ginger and garlic. Add cumin seeds. Add all the ground spices, including garam masala powder. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the chicken legs and sauté for a few minutes on medium high heat till slightly browned. IMG_3242Add the tomatoes and sauté for 4-5 minutes. IMG_3244IMG_3243Add the cashewnut paste, stir well. IMG_3246Add half a cup of water. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes till the chicken is cooked and tender.IMG_3249 Add a little black pepper powder and a sprinkle of fresh garam masala powder before serving. IMG_3254

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