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Cardamom Chicken (Masala Murgh)

Cardamom Chicken (Masala Murgh)


Cardamom Chicken (Masala Murgh)

Source: Entice with Spice by Shubhra Raminen

My mother makes this quick-and-easy chicken dish by first making her fancy version of masala (tomato and onion spice base), to which she adds some cardamom. Once the masala picks up the subtle cardamom flavor, she then adds the chicken (murgh) and sautés it until it is done. Masala murgh can be eaten with Indian breads such as Whole Wheat Flatbreads, Oven Baked White Breads or Oven Baked Whole Wheat Breads. It can even be served with Plain Boiled Rice or Rice with Cumin and Peas. Add your favorite curried vegetable dish and a side of Three Vegetable Raita, and you have a complete and balanced Indian meal.
Serves 4 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Refrigerator life: 3 days | Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted chicken in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir periodically. A less preferred method is to place the chicken in a microwave and stir periodically.


1 ¼ lbs (600 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 ½ teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1 onion, grated on the largest grating holes on a box grater or shredded in a food processor
¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
4 whole green cardamom pods
1 large fully ripe tomato, cut into 4 pieces
¼ heaping teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Wash the chicken with cold water and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) pieces.

2. Pour the oil into a large skillet and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the garlic, ginger and onion. Sauté until the onion is golden brown, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes.

3. Add the cumin seeds. Open the cardamoms and add the seeds and the pods. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the tomato and cover the skillet. Cook until the tomato becomes completely soft and mashed and is combined with the onion to form a coarse paste, stirring every minute or so and lightly mashing the tomato, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the turmeric, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 7 minutes, stirring frequently. This is the masala (spice base).

5. Add the chicken. Stir to combine and increase the heat to medium. Cook uncovered until there are no signs of pink when you insert a knife though the chicken, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

6. Remove the cardamom pods and discard. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later!

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24 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. This is a great recommendation. We do get really good Indian food here, don’t we? I was told by friends who are expats from Northern India though that most Indian food here are from the Southern region. Apparently, Northern Indian food isn’t really all that spicy like those we are used to. Anyhoo, Indian cuisine really interests and intrigues me.

  2. Sarina Smith via Facebook

    @Angela Tellone Hatch, you must try some other dish. There are so many. Different region has different taste. I used to think that way too. Now I can’t get enough of Indian food. Thanks to my co-worker’s wife. She always sent in interesting dish.

  3. Rose

    I don’t have cardamom pods but do have ground cardamom. Can I switch these out? And if so, how much ground cardamom should I use? Thanks!

  4. justinerae

    This turned out well. It was a little spicier than we expected, but went great with the naan! I wasn’t able to find fresh/green cardamom, so had to use dried cardamom and just puncture open to get the seeds out. Also, instead of chicken breast, used thigh and marinated with cooking wine and corn starch. This is something I plan to make again and try with fresh cardamom next time.

  5. Christopher Cave

    Not bad, tried this with boiled basmati rice. A little bland for my taste, my wife is from Penang, Malaysia so I’m used to big flavour not the westernised version. It was at its best when I got some cardamom on the spoon.

    Going to try again tomorrow but instead I will pound the garlic, ginger, cardamom and cumin in a pestle and mortar to see if I can get a little more punch.

  6. My husband and I really enjoyed this. I decreased the cayenne a little and it was still to spicy for our son. I guess he isn’t ready for Indian food yet! I served the chicken with some paratha.

  7. I don’t have cardamom pods however do have ground cardamom. am i able to switch these out? And if thus, what proportion ground cardamom ought to I use? Thanks!

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