Garam Masala Tuesdays: Chicken Khada Masala

by Shumaila

India hosted its first Grand Prix last week at the Buddh International Circuit. I wish I had the opportunity to witness it but some other things had to be tended to. Not only did India offer Formula One a racing circuit rivaling the best in the world but it did so with its typical Indian warmth.

This is what Sebastian Vettel, the winner of India’s inaugral Grand Prix, had to say about his experience in India:

If you keep your eyes open I think you are able to learn a lot from the way people handle things here. It is a big country, a lot of people.. But they get along and are happy..even though people don’t have a lot here, in a way they are much richer than a lot of people back in Europe.

So true. And when the warmth of the people isn’t enough, the food and the culture of India will surely make you feel richer than usual.

While reading about all this I suddenly realized the irony of the whole situation. I have been in India for the last one month and have not been able to post a single GMT, something that I started to familiarize people with Indian cuisine.

So, yesterday, with V gone and my in-laws back to work I had my in-laws’ house to myself and well, nothing much to do. Since there was chicken in the freezer, I thought I’ll make something with chicken.

I decided to make a very simple Indian dish where you basically cook the chicken in whole spices, onions, ginger-garlic paste and tomatoes. Its fairly simple to make, if you have the necessary whole spices in the pantry. If you don’t, but are interested in making more Indian at home, I suggest you do get these spices.

While ground spices and pre-packaged chicken masala powders give great flavor to your dishes, cooking them in whole spices will take you to another world. Any thing that is cooked on low heat, whole spices are perfect partner for it as it gives spices the time to flavor the gravy.


This is a dry chicken dish and has no curry/gravy to it. I did not marinate the chicken, but you can with a little salt, lemon juice and ginger-garlic paste. It tastes great with plain paranthas (Indian flatbread) or a Tandoori roti. You could add a pinch of garam masala, if you like, but since my mother-in-law doesn’t keep any, I did not add it. I feel adding a little mace and coriander seeds would really benefit this dish, but again, I just worked with what I had on hand. It still tasted great!

Serves 4


  • 1 chicken, washed and dried ( I used chicken with bones)
  • 5 onions, finely minced ( the ones I used were small in size, if using the big americam sized ones use about 1.5 red onions)
  • 2 roma tomatoes finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder ( I might have added more)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste

Whole Spices:

  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1-2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 7 Cloves
  • 8 Black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2-3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, to garnish


  1. Heat oil in a skillet/kadhai.
  2. Add the whole spices and fry till they start sizzling and leave their aroma. Be careful as to not burn them.
  3. Add the minced onions, pinch salt and fry them till brown.
  4. Add 1 tsp ginger n 1/2 tsp garlic paste. And fry a little.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and coriander, salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well and add the chicken.
  6. Fry the chicken on high for a minute till it loses its raw color.
  7. Reduce heat to low and cook covered till the oil separates and chicken is cooked. (Mix light handedly now and then and let chicken cook low and slow)
  8. Top with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves.
  9. Serve with roti/parantha.