Hara Masala Chicken

Photographs by Sebastian John

I had some leftover cilantro-mint masala I had made for the Cornish hen. It stays good for a week or so when stored in a clean sterilized bottle. But I don’t like anything sitting in a refrigerator beyond two days. I have a love-hate relationship with  refrigerators. Though my mom does not keep too much food in the refrigerator, I joke with her sometimes – “should I conduct radiometric dating, before I consume this?”. That gets me thrown out of the kitchen.

So, I had the masala, and some chicken thighs. I cook mostly with chicken thighs because they have enough fat on the skin that gives good drippings for sauce, and are soft, tender and flavorful when cooked. My wife is not a big fan of drumsticks, and I don’t like the chicken breasts sold in the general grocery stores. Apart from their unnatural size (I still have to get over my fear of freakishly large meat cuts in the US), they invariably turn up dry and chewy when cooked. When I feel like cooking chicken breasts, I buy smaller organic whole chickens (the way nature intended to be!!).

I looked up recipes on the internet for “hara masala chicken”, and most incorporated yogurt. I decided to skip on the yogurt, keep the dish simple, light and earthy. We ate this with rotis.


1. 5 chicken thighs with skin
2. 3-4 tablespoons of green masala (you can alter how much you want to use depending on taste)
3. Salt to taste

For Green Masala
1. 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves including little bit of the stems
2. 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
3. 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped ginger
4. 2-3 cloves of garlic
5. 4-5 Thai green chillies
6. One medium sized onion
7. 3-4 crushed green cardamom pods
8. 3-4 curry leaves
9. 1 teaspoon rice vinger
10. 1-2 crushed cloves
11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
12. Salt
13. Oil

To make the sauce place all the ingredients in a blender and process till you get a smooth paste. Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and transfer the paste into the pan. Using a non-stick pan would be best for this process unless you want to add lot of oil. Lower to minimal heat and simmer till all the water evaporates and you get a really smooth green sauce

Rub the chicken thighs with crushed black pepper and salt. Place them into hot skillet with skin down and sear them for about 4 minutes. The fat on the skin will melt and give enough of drippings to avoid adding extra oil. Leave behind 1 – 2 teaspoons of fat and drain the rest off. Flip the chicken pieces and sear for additional 2 minutes. I remove the skin off the meat at this stage. It (skin) will be crispy and can be easily pulled off with a tong.


Add the green masala to the meat, lower the heat to medium (or less, depending on the BTU rating of your stove). Cover and cook till meat is tender.

Serve with rotis.

my wife sampling the chicken. She is the resident food taster.

4 thoughts on “Hara Masala Chicken

  1. Hi, I found a photo of this dish on Food Gawker and followed it back here to your wonderful recipe! I made the hara masala chicken last night with some homemade roti – also a first – for my boyfriend and I. He swore I’d be putting the local Indian restaurants out of business!

    This was my first masala attempt and it went very well! We ate it before I could snap a few pictures and blog about it, but I’ll definitely be making it again soon. Just wanted to thank you for sharing the recipe, and commend you on the photo.

    Keep it up! I’ll definitely be back for meal ideas.

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