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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicken Masaledaar and Channa Masala

These are two of my most favorite recipes, so I am posting them together.  The chicken masaledaar (or dry chicken tikka) gets its name due its spicy flavor.  I have fond memories of my friends in college making this dish for us every so often.  After I graduated, I continued to make it for myself (changing the recipe a little along the way).  I remember taking it to work with some leftover rice the next day.  Whenever I reheated it, the aroma would waft through the office and my co workers could be found lurking around the break room trying to see what smelled so good!

This channa masala (garbanzo/chick pea curry) is quick and easy, yet so satisfying.  The original recipe came from a lady named Ruhina, but I have changed it quite a bit.  She must be credited for the wonderful method though. The most noteworthy thing about this recipe is its versatility.  Take away the garbanzos, add peas and paneer and you have a delish new twist on the classic mattar paneer.  Or add marinated grilled tandoori chicken pieces and you've got yourself a uniquely different chicken tikka masala.

Both of these dishes are 'guest worthy', if made in bigger batches yet easy enough to prepare on any busy weeknight. Make them on the same night for a balanced meal, or make them separately as stand alones, along side some parathas/naans (flatbreads) and a nice rice pulao (pilaf). The choice is yours!  The chicken requires marination, so you'll need to plan ahead.   Here are the recipes.  Enjoy!

Chicken Masaledaar (Dry chicken tikka)

Because these dishes are in my monthly menu rotations, I have multiple pics of them!

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 in. pieces
2 Tbs yogurt
3 Tbs sour cream
2 Tbs bbq sauce (or 2 Tbs pureed tomato (chop 1/4 cup of tomato and puree it)
1 tsp vinegar
1 TBS soy sauce
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs adrak lassan (ginger/garlic paste)
1 tsp oil (canola or olive oil)
1/4 tsp haldi/turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp dhanna zeera (corriander/cumin powder)
to taste salt
2 TBS shaan tikka boti masala (for flavor and color. Optional)

2nd marinade
1/2 onion (about 1/2 cup) chopped
1/2 cup of fried onions (birasta/what u use for biryani)*
1 tsp zeera (cumin seeds)
1 green chili (or to taste. The chilies here are very spicy)
a litle bit of water

Chopped cilantro (kothmir, harra dhaniya, corriander leaves)
Sliced onions
Chopped green chilies
Lemon/lime wedges

Mix together all the wet ingredients (from the 1st list) and then add the masalas and mix together. Add the chicken breast and marinate in the fridge for 7-8 hours or preferably overnight. When ready to prepare chicken, remove marinated chicken from fridge and let come to room temperature while you proceed to the next step.

Put 2nd marinade ingredients in a mixer and blend to fine paste. Add this paste to the previously marinated chicken. Heat a non stick** fry pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil. When the oil is semi hot, add chicken and marinades. Stir ocassionally and let cook for about 5-7 minutes. When the chicken is almost done (meat thermometer reads about 145- 150 degrees F or about 7 minutes), remove only the chicken pieces.

Increase heat to high (partially cover the pan, if necessary to reduce splatter) and continue cooking and reducing the gravy until all water is evaporated. Keep stirring, because without the chicken, the gravy burns FAST!!! Once there is just a little gravy left, add the chicken back in and stir to coat. I like to turn up the heat a little now (mine goes past high) and let the chicken sit for a minute or so, without turning it. It gets this really nice roasted looking color on it. If the chicken looks sort of brownish, you can add a pinch of biryani color (in the final minutes of cooking) to enhance the look. Garnish with cilantro, onions, green chilies and lemon or lime. Serve with roti, paratha, or pita, rice, and raita. Serves 2-3.

*If you generally fry your own onions, do so as usual (slice onions and fry in hot oil), but make sure onions become brown (not just golden brown). Put on a paper towel and then add to 2nd marinade as stated above.

**Because we are completely drying out the gravy, it is important to use a non stick pan. This also allows for minimum use of oil when frying the chicken. If you must use a pan which doesn't have a non stick coating, more oil will be necessary when preparing the chicken.

Channa Masala

1/4 cup oil

1/4 tsp cumin (whole dhania seeds)

1 TB kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed in palm

1 large onion, chopped

6 TBS yogurt

4 TBS tomato paste

1 TB adrak lassan (ginger garlic paste)

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 tsp corriander-cumin powder (dhania-zeera pwdr)

1 tsp red chili powder (laal mirch)

1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder

1 tsp sugar (optional)

1/2 cup water
2 cans of chickpeas (15 oz each, drained and rinsed)
chopped cilantro (dhania, corriander leaves, kothmir)


Heat the oil in a pot. Add the cumin and kasoori methi. Let them splutter for about 30 seconds. Add onions and fry until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes, on medium flame.

In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, tomato paste, adrak lassan, salt, corriander cumin, red chili powder, turmeric, and sugar. Add the yogurt mixture to the onions and cook for about 3 minutes or until a well combined gravy is made. Add the chickpeas/garbanzos, mix, add a glass of water, cover and cook on LOW heat for about 5-7 minutes. Check for seasoning before u serve. Its up to you, how much gravy you want to have. Accordingly add more water or let it dry off.


  1. i love both of ur recipes nd i will try both very soon , :)

    1. Great, Luna! Please come back and leave me some feedback after you've tried them. I hope you love these recipes as much as my family does!

  2. I have tried your chicken recipe. Awesome.

    1. You have? That's great! Where did you come across it before? Thanks for trying it!

    2. It's one of my favorite people! Love u! :)