Chicken Masala Recipe

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This clean eating chicken masala is wonderfully aromatic and definitely tasty!

I’m fascinated by the Indian culture. The music, the clothing, the religions and most of all… the food!

A bowl of Clean Eating Chicken Masala on a gray background. The red sauce with chicken sits ladled over brown rice.

It’s all just so different from the way I was raised. The culture is so rich, so vibrant and so full of color in so many ways. It’s almost hypnotizing.

If you read my last blog post on Clean Eating Naan, you know that Indian food is a relatively new experience for me. But it was love at first bite, and I will always find a way to include Indian food in my eating plan.

The first time I tried Indian food was at an Indian restaurant in Concord, California. Not the likeliest place to get good Indian food, but wow. It was GOOD!

The first thing I tried was butter chicken. I loved it, and found it hard to stray from this new found dish. But I eventually worked up the courage to try the chicken masala, and life was just never the same after that. I’ve actually had vivid dreams about enjoying a large bowl of chicken masala (No, I’m not completely normal. But we’ll keep that to ourselves, shall we?). It’s fantastic stuff.

I was a little worried that my recipe would not match up to the restaurant version. So I made sure to use plenty of spices in the hopes of at least coming close. And you know what? I did!!

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CHICKEN MASALA RECIPE:

Clean Eating Chicken Masala Recipe

Chicken Masala

Don’t let the ingredient list for this delicious meal scare you. Most of the recipe is spices. This is actually a very quick and easy recipe to make!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings (Makes approximately 3 quarts)
Calories: 219kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 30 0z. canned light coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 ΒΌ lb. chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 6 oz. tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • fresh cilantro for garnish – optional

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients (except the cilantro) in a 5 quart crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours or until chicken is fully cooked. Stir occasionally during cooking process to be sure the chicken gets submerged in the liquids.
  • NOTE: It will start out looking a bit thick and dry, but the liquids will release into the pot after about an hour or so of cooking. If this does not happen for some reason and you feel it will burn without more liquids, add 1/2 to 1 cup of clean, low-sodium chicken broth. But wait a full hour before doing so.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 13.9mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 4mg

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81 Comments

  1. Megaan Cianci says:

    Can’t wait to try this, yum! Thanks so much! Eager to try the apple pie recipe from a couple posts ago, too. So simple but looks amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to create or re-create recipes and sharing them! Really appreciate it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Megaan – You’re welcome! Thanks for trying my recipes!

  2. Tasiana Nichols says:

    I am making this as I type! As soon as I saw this recipe on your blog this morning, I went out and bought the ingredients I needed. It smelled so good as I put all the ingredients into the crock pot. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I may make the nan with it too!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Tasiana – Oh you should definitely make the naan! They are sooooo yummy together!

  3. McCaa Erdman says:

    Tiffany, is that 1cup of coconut milk in addition to the 2 cans (if we do not use almond milk)? Just wanted to clarify. This looks amazing, and very simple! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Anonymous says:

      McCaa – Yes, that is correct. Enjoy!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Becky – LOL!!! Make the neighbors jealous. I love that! Ha!!! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  5. Seemichellecook says:

    I asked this same question in my blog and yes I dream about food ALL the time. I don’t actually eat the food but I spend my dreams making up recipes and funny enough, when I wake up I am convinced that I missed writing down something life changing. Then I forget what that was.

    1. Anonymous says:

      SMC – LOL!!! I’m so glad I’m not alone in my craziness! I haven’t formulated any recipes in my dreams yet, but I’m sure the day will come. And wow, now I’m worried I won’t remember to write everything down in my dream. Now I’m worried. Oh dear. lol!

  6. Tenderfoot says:

    What brand of Tomato Sauce or Paste do you use that has No Sugar Added and low in Sodium?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Tenderfoot – I shop at Trader Joe’s and the only tomato paste they have is that one. But I have seen other clean tomato pastes in more mainstream stores. I’ll have to get to the store and get the names for you.

  7. One question… it looks like you have light coconut milk listed twice? #1 and #13?

    Also – can you please share the butter chicken recipe you mentioned? That sounds soo good!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Erica – Yes, it is. I used almond milk but I wanted to give the option too of just using extra coconut milk so they didn’t have to make an extra trip to the store. It’s just an option. But it’s IS 2 cans plus that 1 cup, regardless of what kind of milk you use for the one cup.

      I’m still working on the butter chicken recipe. I tried one version and it was not very tasty. I’m still trying though!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Stephanie – As long as the chicken gets cooked, you should be fine. The chicken won’t have the same texture, but it will still taste have the same flavor.

  9. Tonishafer says:

    I’m making this right now and it smells delicious. Only thing, mine seems really liquify or soupy I guess. It’s about an hour into cooking. I have a feeling I put too much coconut milk…am I reading it right that in total it should be 38 oz? Just seemed like a lot, i must be confusing something.

    1. Anonymous says:

      That’s right. 38 oz. Since it’s only been cooking an hour, I’d give it more time before you decide. But you can always remove a little liquid if you feel it’s too much. Just save it in case you want to add it back in later.

  10. Hola Tiffany!!!

    I just made this recipe, just eat it too! I followed the recipe carefully, I was in a hurry, so I did not find tomatoes without sugar, both cans had a total of 8 gr. I had one lite coconut milk, and one regular, this recipe calls for no salt? I added some salt..other than that is yummy! Oh, I did not add the chili, thinking my children will try it, …one did and not much into it, well more for me and hubby! πŸ˜‰ The other thing is, mine is not as thick or dry, looks more like a soup! ? I do not know what I did wrong, I still like it a lot, Graciassss!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Zicela – I’m glad you enjoyed it! Mine was not overly thick either. If you get the same thing next time, try mixing 1 cup of the “soup” in a separate bowl with a few tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour. Then stir it back into the whole pot. That should help thicken it some. Enjoy!

  11. What can I substitute for the Coconut milk? I don’t like coconut at all.

    Thanks,
    Suzanne

    1. Anonymous says:

      Suzanne – You can sub any milk, but it won’t be the same.

      1. Charly214 says:

        Or use yogurt, then you get the creaminess just not the coconut flavor. Just take the pot of the stove and put the yogurt in of the stove otherwise it curdless.

        1. graciouspantry says:

          Charly – Great tip!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Clt – It’s brown rice, and yes, brown rice is clean. It is not processed like white rice.

  14. Anonymous says:

    That’s wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cheyenne – My cooker is very old. What qualifies as high for me is low for most these days. You have to know how your cooker cooks and make adjustments as needed. There are many reasons for meat turning out dry in a slow cooker. You can get some tips here: http://skinnyms.com/avoiding-dry-or-tough-meats/

  16. Anonymous says:

    Nicole – LOL! I love that smell! Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. graciouspantry says:

    Irene – I’m so happy you both enjoyed it!

  18. graciouspantry says:

    Kim – I wouldn’t do rice milk. It doesn’t hold up in the slow cooker. I think soy would be the better option, but I’m not sure what the final flavor would be like. You would have to experiment. I’ve never tried flax milk, so I can advise you there. Let me know how it turns out!

  19. graciouspantry says:

    Jodi – Hope you enjoy it!

  20. graciouspantry says:

    This is done in the slow cooker. By the time the chicken is cooked, it just falls apart on its own when you stir. No need to cut ahead of time.

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  22. Am so looking forward to making this tonight! In 7 days I begin a 12 week body transformation program so until then I’m clean eating, you site is awesome! Thankyou.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      That’s great! I hope you enjoy it!

  23. Silly question, but can the chicken breasts go into the slow cooker frozen or do they need to be thawed out?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Not a silly question. Actually, you aren’t supposed to put frozen food in a slow cooker at all due to food safety issues. It takes too long for the food to reach it’s cooking temperature, leaving it open to stuff that can make you sick.

  24. graciouspantry says:

    Sorry, curry powder.

  25. jo ann marzolf says:

    I love garam masala… I use it in a lot of stuff.. Tika Masala is one of my most favorite dishes.. I could eat a VAT of it!! Started eating Indian food when I started belly dancing.. once every 2 weeks, girls from my dance class and I would pick a new restaraunt that we wanted to try and go together.. it was always so much fun!!!

  26. graciouspantry says:

    Possibly. I get mine at a local Indian food store. However, it’s just a regular spice and you should be able to find it in some stores with the other spices like curry.

  27. graciouspantry says:

    Big difference. The stuff in the carton is not clean (at least I haven’t found one yet).

  28. Made this today for the first time after finding your website on pintrest. It is amazing! I love a good curry but the fats etc always put me off. I am so pleased I have found something easy to make and that tastes amazing. Thank you so much.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure. πŸ™‚

  29. Carcar Simm says:

    I’m making this as I type and smells amazing. I”m a huge indian fan. Mine, however, is VERY liquidy, like soup?? The only adjustment I made to the recipe is that I used mostly chicken thighs instead of breast (1 breast in there)…it’s been in the cooker about 4 hours now.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Chicken varies. Some suppliers shoot their chickens up with more water so they can charge more by weight. Then it all cooks out and makes your food watery. You might try cooking it down a bit in a pot if it’s a real problem. It was slightly soup for me, but not overly so.

  30. Carcar Simm says:

    Thanks for that. It’s organic/free range so I didn’t think it would have that problem but I guess you never know?! May try cooking it down in a pot πŸ™‚

  31. Could you, I think you could sub milk kefir for some of that coconut milk, even coconut kefir, it would thicken it a bit. Wish I had seen this earlier today as I had chicken breast that had to be cooked and coconut kefir as well. Next time

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Not sure, I’ve never tried with kefir. I think the flavor might be a bit too sharp for this recipe.

  32. I plan on trying this recipe. Leaving the extras in the freezer isn’t a bad idea, right?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      It should freeze just fine. πŸ™‚

  33. I have this in the crock pot right now!! My house smells fantastic! I love all the indian recipes you post. My family enjoys complex flavorful foods. I am sure this will be a hit. I sampled a bite and I feel confident they will put this in the “make again” binder. πŸ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jen – Fantastic! πŸ™‚

  34. Olivia Parker says:

    Looking forward to trying this! What kind/brand of coconut milk do you use?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Olivia – I get the Trader Joe’s brand. But the Thai Kitchen brand is good too.

  35. Hi! I just put this is the slow cooker. followed recipe exactly. however..it is like a big pot of soup. i will try adding whole wheat pastry flour. was i supposed to drain the canned tomatos? Also..maybe next time will only use the creamy part of the coconut milk and not the water.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Laura – If you still have too much liquid when it’s done, just try cooking it down on the stove top. But it shouldn’t be all that watery unless your chicken had a lot of water pumped into it. Many stores do this now to make more money.

  36. Quick question,
    Do i have to use a slow cooker for all the slow cooker recipes or can i just cook it in a pan over a stove top?

    Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Megan – Most slow cooker recipes will do fine on the stove. But the major difference will be the texture of the meat. That’s very different. A slow cooker makes a moist, tender meat that I personally have never been able to duplicate on a stove or in one.

  37. I have some left over shredded chicken breast I made a few days again on the crockpot. I’d like to try this can I do it with the cooked chicken? Should I put it stove top or what do you suggest? Love your blog.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Felicia – You can probably do it with a slow cooker, but I’ve never tried it before, so I can’t vouch for how it will turn out.

  38. I found that there was too much liquid and actually diluted the taste and spices. I would try it with only 1 can of coconut milk next time.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristen – Bummer! Sometimes I wonder if it’s the chicken that does that. Many places pump their meats full of water now so they can charge more, and of course, that comes out during cooking. Frustrating. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  39. I’m making this now and it’s very liquidy! Also Tastes like it needs salt. Was salt omitted on purpose? What can I do to eliminate some liquid? It’s been cooking for 4 hours

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Farah – If it’s really bad, you can transfer it to a pot once the meat is cooked and simmer the liquid down. Feel free to add salt.

  40. Made this last night, and froze most of it because it’s just me.
    It’s absolutely delightful and I can’t wait to have it again and again!
    I’m really loving your blog!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Fisch – Thanks so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

  41. Do you use red or yellow curry?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Janice – Yellow.

  42. I am super excited to try this recipe this weekend! Just wondering, did you use chicken breasts? How much chicken did you use? Thank you!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kris – It’s listed in the ingredients. 5 large chicken breasts. They were boneless and skinless. Enjoy!

  43. Very nice meal….loved the blend of spices….at the end of a busy day, it was nice to dish it out of the slow cooker and enjoy a bit of comfort food! Thanks for all the good recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Beth – My pleasure! πŸ™‚

  44. Brittanie says:

    Can you find garam masala at any grocery store? I have yet to make an indian dish and this one with the naan bread is just calling my name!!! mmm

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brittanie – Yes, most mainstream stores carry it with all the other spices. But on occasion, I have also had to seek out and Indian food store. They typically have the best deals anyway. It might be best to call around before you make the trip. Hope you enjoy it!

  45. You put it over rice or something else?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tami – I put it over brown rice.

  46. Tami DiBello says:

    Is that rice under the chicken marsala? It looks devine, and I love India foods. The spices Ara out of this world.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tami – Yes, it was brown rice. Enjoy!

  47. Mary Bradley says:

    I made this today. Something is wrong. You mentioned how it might be dry at first but mine is just swimming in 1 c. almond milk and two 15 oz cans of coconut milk. It has a huge amount of spices in it but is almost tasteless because of the volume of liquid. I’m pretty disappointed. If I were to make it again I would certainly leave out a lot of liquid.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mary – That does seem odd. I know mine had some liquid, but not as much as you’re describing here. Is it possible something didn’t get measured correctly?

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