Delicious Indian Murgh Masala recipe made with chicken, yoghurt, and rich aromatic tomato curry sauce. A classic Indian chicken curry that you can cook everything from scratch with cupboard-friendly spices. Serve with fluffy basmati rice. Simple, quick curry dinner ready in 30 minutes!
What is Murgh Masala?
Murgh Masala is a yoghurt based spiced chicken curry originated in India and loved by many people across the world. Murgh means Chicken and Masala means spice in Indian. Traditionally bone-in chicken pieces are slow cooked in the aromatic rich curry sauce until fall-apart tender. Indian restaurants and takeaways Murgh Masala is made with pre-cooked or boiled chicken breast and pre-cooked curry base for fast cooking process. Every family and restaurants has their own recipe and the curry sauce can be different according to their own preference.
In this recipe, I am sharing our favourite easy Murgh Masala recipe with simple and quick cooking process. Do not need any curry paste or curry base needed. You can create everything from scratch with chicken breast and a handful of common Indian spices. If you love fast and easy curry recipes, this is the right recipe for you.
What do we need
Marinade for chicken - You will need yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric, and salt to marinate the chicken. I used two large chicken breasts, you can also use chicken thigh or bone-in chicken pieces. Cut the chicken into medium-bite size pieces and marinate for at least 15 minutes to tenderize the meat and soak more flavour. If you have more time, you can cover it and leave it in the fridge for more hours.
Curry sauce base - Shallot onions, tomatoes, and plain full-fat yoghurt are ideal for making murgh masala.
Spices - We love to add both whole spices and ground spices. Add cinnamon stick, green cardamom pods and bay leaves for a more authentic Indian home-cooking flavour. You will also need, classic Indian ground spices like, garam masala, cumin powder, chilli powder, and turmeric.
If you are making mild or kid-friendly curry, reduce the chilli powder or add mild paprika powder for colour.
How to make it
- First cut the chicken into medium dices. Marinate the chicken pieces with yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric, tomato puree, and salt to taste.
- Heat the ghee and oil over medium heat. Sauté the bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon for few seconds.
- Add the chopped onions and cook until soft and translucent. Follow with garlic and ginger paste. Cook until the onions are slightly brown, then add the chopped tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are reduced and soft, add the chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and turmeric. Stir it well just for a few seconds.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the yoghurt, season with salt, and pour the water in.
- Close the lid and cook with low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the chicken is tender, turn off the heat and sprinkle freshly chopped coriander.
- Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with coriander. Serve with rice or naan.
- Use meaty tomatoes like beef tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes for a tangy thick curry sauce. Do not recommend cooking with salad tomatoes.
- Adding freshly grated ginger and garlic paste is one of the key to make the flavourful curry.
- Shallot onions are best for cooking quick curry base. You don't need any blender or food processor. Just finely chop the onions and cook until slightly brown before you add the tomatoes.
- Highly recommend adding ghee to this recipe as it can bring your chicken masala into an authentic Indian flavour.
Frequently asked questions
The main difference is the sauce and the second is the cooking process. Murgh masala chicken is marinated first and then cooked in thick yogurt-based curry sauce. Chicken tikka masala is a roasted chicken pieces cooked in rich heavy cream sauce.
Murgh masala is a medium hot curry with creamy consistency and it's colour and flavour is appetizing.
More Delicious Curry Recipes
If you are a devoted Indian masala curry fan like me, you don't want to miss our family's favourite recipes.
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- Large heavy bottom pot or pan
- 400 gram Chicken breast (About 14oz) Chicken breast or thigh
- 2-3 Shallots Or brown onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Garlic paste Or finely grated garlic
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste Or ginely grated ginger
- 2-3 Tomatoes Finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Tomato puree
- 3 tbsp Plain yoghurt
- handful Coriander
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- ½ tsp Salt Or salt to taste
- 1 ½ cup water add more water if needed
- 1 tbsp Yoghurt
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garam masala
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Chilli powder Or paprika powder
- 4-5 pods Cardamom
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1½ tbsp Garam masala
- ½ tsp Cumin powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- First cut the chicken into medium dices. Marinate the chicken pieces with yoghurt, garam masala, turmeric, and salt to taste. Mix it well and set it aside for 15 minutes.
- In a heavy bottom pot, heat the ghee and oil over medium heat. Saute the bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon for few seconds.
- Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent. Next, add the garlic and ginger paste. Continue to stir until the onions are slightly brown, then add the chopped tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are reduced and soft, add the chilli powder, garam masala, cumin powder, and turmeric. Stir it well for a few seconds.
- Place the marinated chicken in the pan, stir it well for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the yoghurt, season with salt, and pour the water in.
- Bring it to simmer, close the lid and cook with low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
- Turn off the heat and stir in chopped coriander.
- Serve with plain basmati rice, chapati or naan.
- Chicken breast - You can also try this murgh masala recipe with chicken thigh, bone-in chicken pieces, lamb, mutton, or beef. Cooking time can be varied if you use red meat or bone-in meat.
- Yoghurt - Yoghurt is the key ingredient to cook this curry base. Recommend using natural full-fat plain yoghurt as the low-fat yoghurt is easy to curdle when cooked.
- Substitute for yogurt - Instead of full-fat yoghurt you can add double cream or heavy cream to the curry sauce. For the chicken marinade, you can add a tablespoon of lime juice or lemon juice instead of yoghurt to tenderize the meat.
- Cinnamon, cardamom & bay leaves - These whole spices bring extra flavour to the dish but if you do not have all of them, you can omit some of them. It's important to saute these spices for a few seconds to release the fragrance before adding onions.