Tamarind Chicken Masala

by Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
1hr 25min

Tamarind Chicken Masala is a flavorful and aromatic dish that will tantalise your taste buds. The combination of tangy tamarind, spicy chilli, and fragrant spices creates a mouth-watering blend that perfectly complements the succulent chicken. You can make a delicious and satisfying meal perfect for any occasion with a few simple ingredients and a little time.


5 Servings
  • 1kg
  • 1 1/2tbsp
    Tandoori Masala
  • 3/4cup
    Tamarind (Tamarind paste/pulp)
  • 1tbsp
  • 1tbsp
    Coriander Powder
  • 1tbsp
    Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp
    Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp
    Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2cup
  • 1tsp
    Black Mustard Seed
  • 15
    Curry Leaves
  • 1tbsp
    Ginger Garlic (finely chopped/paste)
  • 1cup
    Tomato (ground)
  • 1cup
  • 1tbsp
    Kasuri Methi (Dry Fenugreek Leaves)


  1. Wash and pat dry chicken pieces.

  2. Marinate the chicken with tandoori masala, tamarind water, salt, coriander powder, garlic powder, and red chilli powder in a large mixing bowl. (To make tamarind pulp, soak golf ball-sized (approx 60 gm) tamarind in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes, squeeze out as much pulp as possible, strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and use the liquid in the recipe).

  3. Prick the chicken pieces with a knife/fork to absorb more flavour.

  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (overnight marination is even better for enhanced flavour).

  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add black mustard seeds, bay leaf, cardamom and curry leaves and keep stirring until they crackle.

  6. Add the chopped ginger garlic/paste and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

  7. Mix in the ground tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the oil separates from the gravy. Stir occasionally.

  8. Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix well. Stir constantly and cook on high flame for 3-4 minutes. If the masala sticks to the sides or bottom, stir some water.

  9. Add water, stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender and oil releases to the surface. Keep stirring occasionally.

  10. Add kasuri methi, check the seasoning (salt and chilli powder) and adjust to taste.

  11. Turn off the flame. Stir and cover the pot for a few minutes.

  12. Serve hot with steamed rice, naan or roti.

Tips & Tricks

  1. You can use store-bought tomato puree instead of ground tomatoes.

  2. Adjust the spices to suit your preferences.

  3. Make sure the spices used are fresh. Old spices often lose their potency and flavour.

  4. I have used a homemade blend of tandoori masala for this dish. Alternatively, you could opt for a pre-made tandoori masala available at the store.

  5. If you don't have fresh curry leaves, you can use dried ones or omit them entirely

  6. Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) is optional but adds a lovely depth of flavour to the dish.

  7. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or stove, adding water to loosen the sauce.

  8. The number of servings will depend on the quantity of the dish served.

Leena Kohli
Recipe by

Leena Kohli


Elevate your confidence through the magic of home cooking with my easy-to-follow recipes 👩‍🍳✨