Chicken Cardamom Masala

  • Yield: serves 4
  • prep time: 30 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hour


  • ½ cup plain full-fat yogurt (or coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 6 to 10 cardamom pods (lightly bruised)
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick (1 inch long)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 chicken cut up, or 4 chicken thighs halved.
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic. chopped
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of cashews
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream (optional)
  • chopped herbs (cilantro) for garnish


  • In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garam masala, cardamom, cinnamon stick, chili powder, ginger, and salt. Add the chicken, turning to coat. Let marinate for as long as you have time, refrigerate if more than an hour.
  • Using a rubber spatula, scrape off as much of the yogurt marinade from the chicken as possible; Save the marinade. pat the chicken dry using paper towels, and sprinkle it with the turmeric.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally for 10 minutes, or until the skin in nicely brown. If you don't have a big enough pot, do it in 2 batches.
  • Remove the chicken, reduce the heat, and sauté the onions and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the chicken, the saved marinade, cashews, and the tomato paste, cover. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, untill the chicken is cooked through.
  • Stir in the cream(optional) and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro


If you would like to make a thick sauce without adding a lot of calories, add another cup of yogurt along with the marinade and chicken.