I am so happy that my story on Garam Masala is on NPR’s Kitchen Window. It is a section that I love writing for.  I hope you will try my super simple chicken curry. I would love your feedback on it. And of course, thoughts on the story are more than welcome and in fact, much appreciated!

Be sure to read the story for some amazing Garam Masala Cookies and superb Stir-Fried nuts with Garam Masala.

Monica’s Super Simple Chicken Curry

Adapted from The Everything Indian Cookbook by Monica Bhide (Adams Media 2004). This dish always tastes better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to really meld. Serve over hot rice or with naans. You will note the use of the whole spices (most of them are ingredients in the garam masala mix) to flavor the oil. This is a very classic Indian way of spicing a dish by layers.

Image by the lovely Sala Kannan for Life of Spice.

Makes 4 to 5 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 black cardamom pod

2 green cardamoms pods, bruised

2 whole cloves

1-inch cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon pure red chili powder

1 teaspoon garam masala (store-bought or homemade), plus more to sprinkle

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander

Table salt

2 pounds skinless chicken pieces, white or dark meat

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Sliced mild onion, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. When the spices begin to sizzle, add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is well browned, 5 to 7 minutes

Stir in the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are almost dry and the oil begins to separate from the sides of the mixture, about 8 minutes.

Add the chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, coriander and salt to taste. Cook for another minute.

Add the chicken and cook until brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup water, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if the sauce is drying up or if you want a thinner gravy. Add the cilantro and cook for another minute.

Serve hot, sprinkled with garam masala. Garnish with sliced onions, if desired.

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  1. That curry looks so delicious, Monica! I have to tell you that I am becoming this huge fan of yours as the days go by…I made your Dad’s butter chicken last night for dinner and it was just FABULOUS! I am going to treasure that recipe and pass it down to generations 🙂 Seriously, it’s the best-ever BC that I have eaten/made! Thank you!!

    I have used the combo of Garam Masala and Chocolate in a Yeasted Meringue Coffee cake and it was delicious!! That spice pairs so well with the western goodies!

    Oh yes, before I forget, your Indian Chicken Wings is magical!! It’s present on my table on every possible occasion 🙂 Everyone loves it! Thank you 🙂

  2. I absolutely love garam masala! Lately I’ve been seasoning roasted sweet potato fries with it and a little brown sugar – unbelievable. Can’t wait to try your curry!

  3. hello monica,

    in my pantry i only have ground cardamom (not sure if it’s green or black). how much ground spice would be the equivalent of the required 1 black cardamom pod and 2 green cardamoms pods, bruised?


    1. Try to get some whole spices. I dont know how old your ground spices are. Ground spices may not have the strongest flavors.

  4. Wow, this dish looks so inviting. If I weren’t stuck in a hotel right now, I would make this immediately. I’m bookmarking this recipe. Thank you!

  5. I adore spicy fried chicken, so I’ll definitely have to give this recipe a try. Pictures look great!!

    — Chelsey

  6. Love these type of chicken dish .. with so much spice combination.. can only imagine the taste!

  7. Great article! I recently received RawSpiceBar’s indian spices- garam masala and tandoori spices for making chicken tikka masala and it was pretty spot on. It’s tough to find freshly ground kashmiri chiles and other high quality hard to find spices. Look forward to receiving next month’s spice blends from them and worth looking into if you’re an adventurous cook.

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