Chicken Kata Masala

A scrumptious Chicken curry that is cooked in chopped onion-tomato mixture with whole spices. No grinding involved!

Chicken Kata Masala
Chicken Kata Masala

Kata means chopped and Masala means spices. That basically defines this curry. You use everything that can be chopped such as onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and green chilies. And of course there are whole spices to begin with the tempering process. Adding in more spice powders during the cooking process such as coriander and cumin with the regular turmeric and red chili powder gives it more depth and flavor. The Chicken is then seared in this delectable spice mixture and then allowed to cook in its own liquid and finished with some garam masala powder, yogurt and cilantro garnish which adds in a whole new dimension. The process looks cumbersome but it is not really and the curry gets ready in about 30 minutes total.

Personally, I wouldn’t cut down on the green or black cardamom which uniquely flavors the curry per se. Again, a curry that comes from our kid’s nanny. She made it just once. It was very yummy. Why only once you would say? Because, she was a vegetarian and would not eat any sort of meat or fish. But she learnt this from her husband who was a meat eater. I couldn’t make myself let her cook something which she wouldn’t eat any way. Even the one time that she made this curry, she coaxed me into listening to her and I am actually glad that I did listen. It made way to a new flavorful curry. Over time, I have tweaked and modified this curry in a way that gives it more body and flavor such as adding the yogurt and garam masala powder. Feel free to spice it up or down!

Serve the curry with rice, roti or parathas.

Chicken Kata Masala
  1. Chicken - 3 boneless, skinless breasts, cut into pieces
  2. Oil - 3 tablespoons
  3. Onion - 1 big, chopped fine
  4. Ginger - 3/4th inch, grated or chopped fine
  5. Garlic - 3 big cloves or more, minced
  6. Tomatoes - 2 big, chopped fine
  7. Green Chilies - 2-3, cut vertically into two
  8. Salt - About 1.5 tspn or to taste
Whole spices
  1. Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
  2. Green Cardamom - 2, make a small split
  3. Black Cardamom - 1, make a small split to prevent splutters
  4. Cloves - 6-7
  5. Peppercorn - 6-7
  6. Bay Leaf - 1
  7. Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
Spice Powders
  1. Coriander seed powder - 1.5 tspn
  2. Cumin powder - 1 tspn
  3. Turmeric powder - 3/4th tspn
  4. Red Chili powder - 1.5 tspn
  5. Kashmiri Red Chili powder - 1 tspn (Optional, for color)
Final Garnish
  1. Coriander leaves - From 3-4 strands, chopped
  2. Thick Yogurt - 1/2 cup mixed well with 1/2 cup of water
  3. Garam masala powder - 1/2 tspn (Optional, I used Kitchen King)
  4. Sugar - 1 tspn (Optional, to balance out the sour tomatoes)
  1. 1) Heat oil in a big pan over medium high heat. Add the whole spices. Let them sizzle a bit.
  2. 2) Add ginger and garlic and give it a good stir. Add in the onion and salt. Mix well. Let the onion change color to golden.
  3. 3) Add green chilies, tomatoes and the spice powders. Mix well and let cook until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  4. 4) Bump the heat to high. Add the chicken, mix and stir fry for 2 minutes until the chicken changes color on the outside. Lower the heat to medium low. Cover with lid and let cook until the chicken is tender about 15-20 minutes. Do not add water while cooking the chicken.
  5. 5) Once the chicken is cooked, add the final garnish. Adjust seasoning and consistency. Cook for 2 more minutes and then switch off the flame. Let stand covered for a few minutes before serving.
  1. Serves: 4-5
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