Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Masala Fried Chicken

I choose not to pigeonhole this recipe as curry, but it could be just that. Curry - in fried, zestfully sizzled form, scuppered up with a slight masala. 

I'm calling this humdinger of a dish, masala fried chicken. Why? 

a) I came up with the recipe several years ago, made it on numerous occasions, but it really doesn't have a name. (This post officially covers the naming ceremony).
b) It is fried and has a poke of garam masala fused into it. 

In India, we have many creative approaches when it comes to transforming your everyday poultry. A curry can be devised as a vehicle to fashion chicken in a pantheon of innovative ways- spicy, sweet, sour, dry, saucy, more masala, less spice, onions sliced, onions ground, tomatoes in , tomatoes out, the list goes on.

This chicken is a culinary nod to that creative approach- my having come up with it on the happenstance of tasting it, only once, at a restaurant. Or was it a random appetizer had at some random dinner party where I was a random houseguest? Maybe, just, maybe it came from the recesses of my mind, an expressive cooking accident result, when my lazy self, did not feel the need to unload a whole pantry of ingredients to make one simple chicken dish (the general elaborateness of Indian dishes can be a good thing if time, propensity permit). I honestly think it's a coalition of  all three.

Knowing that, this masala fried chicken is dressed in scant spices. The coated chicken pieces fried, along with crisped onions, a handful of adjusting ingredients fine tunes this into a dry- curried, flavor synthesis. Incidentally, this further lends to its remarkably South Indian flavor.

Another dash of pepper, a pinch of turmeric, and a shaking of the garam will have you journey through the ultimate flavored chicken expedition in no time. 

The masala fried platter is one of my son's favorites. Z, unlike the rest of us, does not enjoy bucketloads of spice. Despite the army of serranos amassing its curried frame, which for the fainter- palated can be deseeded or replaced with milder cousin, jalapeno, this dish really does not tip the heat scale to fire breathing heights.

On the final tasting of the fantastic and relatively easy masala fried chicken, you might be on the brink of doing somersaults, and boldly proclaim a beyond eternal love of Indian cooking. Moreover, the guests you serve this to, will end up gastronomically enchanted, hailing you as the consummate guru of the creative Indian kitchen. 


  • 2 lbs. cut up chicken (2 inch pieces; preferably bone-in thigh )
  • 2 tbsp black pepper (freshly ground preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 serranos (or jalapenos)
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to season
  • 1 handful cilantro (chopped fine)

  • Coat chicken pieces in black pepper, turmeric, salt.
  • Crush or grind serranos, garlic and ginger together, slight chunky but well combined. 
  • Heat oil on medium flame. Place chicken pieces a few at a time in oil. Fry through until pieces are golden and cooked through, covering pan occasionally so that they get evenly cooked.
  • Repeat until all chicken pieces are fried. Take out and drain on paper towels.
  • In same oil, fry onions until light brown, past translucent stage, about 4 minutes.
  • If much oil remains, take out excess using a ladle. Let enough remain to saute the final ingredients ( about 1-2 tablespoons).
  • Saute garlic, ginger, serrano mixture till soft and cooked (about 3 minutes). Add in tomatoes and cook through for an additional minute.
  • Switch to medium - low flame, put in the fried chicken pieces. Mix in garam masala, black pepper, salt and cilantro. Combine well.
  • Take off flame.
  • Serve warm.
This feeds a group of 4-6 hungry guests. It is delicious with roti (Indian bread) or ghee rice( shown below, post coming soon) but sides most well with parboiled Kerala rice
I want to thank the very gracious editors of Yummly who handpicked my mango custard post to be featured on their Mango Madness page. I am most grateful to be "certified yummly"!

I read devotions/blessings posted by Susie Larson on a daily basis. She is a radio host, author and Christian speaker who heartens many with her beautiful messages and daily inspirations. I want to pass on a piece of the encouragement that has so been a blessing to me, nourishing my soul and speaking truth to my heart.

"May you raise your arms and praise God for His faithfulness to you. May you open your hands and receive what He so lovingly wants to give. May you look past your circumstances and see Jesus who reigns over all. And may you move forward in faith knowing all things are possible through Him." ~Taken from Susie Larson's End Of Day Blessing.


  1. this chicken dish looks really very good. nice recipe.

  2. very tempting Tisa.. snaps too good..

    1. Thanks Reshmi, I wanted to take more pics, but with each shot, chicken pieces were disappearing from off the plate ;)

  3. Replies
    1. He, he, thanks Tina- make some and satisfy that "kothi" :)

  4. adipoli..loved the masala coating,will try soon!!

  5. This chicken looks so tempting, you make me, a vegetarian, wnat to devour it - oh my gosh, amazing :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. There is enough of the other ingredients for you to devour, though, you just know, it won' t be the same. Tempting you is fun, Uru ;))

  6. Love the sound of this recipe and it's ingredients. Have pinned for another day, thanks.

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  7. hmmmm....yummy and tempting..drooling;)

    1. Thank you Renu, a lazy day recipe :))


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!