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Masala Chicken

Masala Chicken 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Jul 20, 2021

Chetna Makan says that after she developed this recipe, she couldn’t stop eating it. We know why. The crispy, well-seasoned exterior gives way to the juicy chicken inside. This will be best if made with the recommended spices, but, we do offer substitutions (see NOTES). Or, try this same preparation, but substitute some of your favorite dry spices or a favorite spice blend. Serve with your favorite chutney (Makan recommends a ginger-chili chutney), and with white or brown rice or naan.

NOTE: Be sure to use plain yogurt, not the thicker Greek yogurt, when making this recipe. If you only have Greek yogurt on hand, you can thin it with a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock until it is the consistency of plain yogurt.

Total time: 30 mins

Storage Notes: Leftover chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in a 350-degree oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through.

Where to Buy: Kashmiri chili powder, dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), black salt, garam masala and ginger-chili chutney can be found at Indian markets and online.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) chickpea flour (may substitute all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (See NOTE)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black salt (see NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (see NOTE)
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek (See NOTE)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala (See NOTE)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
  • Ginger-chili chutney (optional)
  • Cooked white or brown rice, for serving (optional)
  • Naan or flatbreads, for serving (optional)

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In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over low heat, toast the chickpea flour and stir constantly until it starts to darken, about 2 minutes. Transfer the toasted flour to a large bowl and carefully wipe the pan clean.

To the bowl containing the flour, add the yogurt, salt, chili powder, fenugreek, garam masala and cumin and stir until well combined to form a thick sauce. Add the chicken pieces and toss until well coated.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer -- it’s okay if some pieces are touching. Cook, undisturbed, for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken turns brown and crisp. Watch carefully and reduce the heat if the chicken starts to burn. Flip the pieces and continue cooking until the chicken is golden on all sides and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes. Thicker pieces of chicken may take a bit longer. Serve with chutney and rice or naan, if using.

NOTE: If you can’t find Kashmiri chili powder, use 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you cannot find dried fenugreek, substitute ground yellow mustard or a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Fine sea salt or table salt can be substituted for black salt. You can make your own garam masala (see related recipe.)

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian” (Mitchell Beazley, 2021).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 302

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 17g 26%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 120mg 40%

Sodium: 442mg 18%

Total Carbohydrates: 6g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 30g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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