Easy Murgh Masala Recipe

Heyo, lookit me, 2 posts in 2 weeks.  The pigs, they must be flying!

Actually, I’m just slowly getting back into the swing of cooking regularly as opposed to eating out all the time.  Here’s one of my latest successes:

Easy Murgh Masala


I’m a bit sad that this picture doesn’t appropriately elucidate how delicious this recipe is or, depending on how you make it, how pretty it can be as well.  You’re just going to have to take my word for it (I promise, it’s both pretty and tasty).

You see, my brother makes some killer curries.  While a PhD student in Illinois he worked with a lot of foreign grad students, some of them Indian, and they often bonded over food (something my family does naturally).  So when he bought Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking, he was able to verify with his friends that her recipes were, in fact, authentic and definitely worth cooking.  His curries are all typically based out of this book, all of them wonderful.

In fact they were so good that I recently broke down and bought the book myself, and I’m really glad I did.  There are few things I like better than good meal that leaves behind a feel-good smell that lingers in your house til the following morning.  These recipes are full of pungent spices (even if you cheat like I do here) that stick around, reminding me how great it feels to make a great meal you can either share with your friends or enjoy for the rest of your week.  It’s all about the feel-good food, y’all.

Penzy's Garam Masala


The recipe I took from Classic Indian Cooking was for murgh masala, which for gringos like myself is “chicken in onion tomato gravy”.  I dumbed it down a little for people with less time and without a pantry full of spices, but at some point I would like to duplicate her entire process.  It’s not too far from what I did, but it requires more time and care, and doesn’t cheat with Penzy’s Garam Masala spice mix. ^_^

This is a very flavorful, slightly sweet dish and if you give it time turns out some fabulous chicken and a great sauce for your rice if you decide to serve it that way.  I made this twice: once with chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes, and again with white-meat chicken tenders, left in tender-form.  The thighs definitely tasted better (I mean, more fat == more better, yes?), but if I hadn’t slightly over-cooked the tenders I bet that trial would’ve been just as tasty.

The Easy Murgh Masala is more or less in my favorite style of “put everything in a pot and cook it until it’s done” recipes, with a slight variation of reserving the chicken while the vegetables cook.  It’s pretty mindless, and the result is double-plus good.  I’m hoping to try out more recipes from Classic Indian Cooking in the future (and possibly continuing to dumb them down), so keep an eye out if you’re interested!

Easy Murgh Masala

Adapted from Classic Indian Cooking.
Serves 4


  • 1 lb skinless chicken, your choice of cut (I’ve used both tenders and thighs)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large spanish onion, sliced into 1/2 rings (meaning, cut the onion in half, then slice)
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced into strips and halve them
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp diced garlic
  • 2 tsp Penzey’s Garam Masala (or your favorite garam masala spice mix)
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Cut the chicken either (1) into tender-sized strips, or (2) 1″ cubes.  Your choice!
  2. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil until hot.
  3. Sear the chicken until it’s no longer visibly pink.  Remove into a separate plate or bowl leaving the juices behind in the pan.
  4. Add the other tbsp of vegetable oil in the pan.  Add the onions and bell pepper.
  5. Reduce heat and fry the onion and pepper until brown, ~30 minutes.  Stir to keep from burning!
  6. Add the garlic and garam masala spices, stir for a few minutes.
  7. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken, and water.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer for ~30 minutes (reduce this time if you’re using a less-fatty cut of meat).
  9. CONSUME (typically with rice)!

Mary Gezo

Formerly of both n00bcakes and !Blog, the two magically become one on Spatialdrift; expect some lazy baking and serious nerditude. Also, I love semicolons.

2 thoughts on “Easy Murgh Masala Recipe

  1. I bought some Garam Masala when I moved to Maine, and have never once used it, because I didn’t know how. You have educated me!!

    We were just talking about how it’s been forever since we cooked a chicken, I used to cook up a chicken nearly every week before I got a job. Since the weather is cooling down up here (I put on two sweaters this morning, ruh roh), it’s soon going to be time for meals like this. Thank you 🙂

    • Hooray for garam masala! I’ll have some more recipes coming up to include this spice, so stay tuned if it’s a flavor your enjoy, I guess. 🙂

      The original recipe actually calls for a full 3-pound chicken, and she also has a chapter describing how to properly cut up and de-skin the chicken before cooking, so if that’s something you’re up for, definitely give it a try!

      This murgh masala also keeps really well for leftovers if that’s your thing (it’s definitely mine); like many other stew-like recipes it also tends to taste even better after sitting in its juices over night! Highly recommended as a “cook on Monday, eat for several days” recipe. 🙂

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