garam-masala-in-a-light-blue-bowl-on-top-of-a-wooden-table-with-cinnamon-bark-and-other-spices-surrounding-the-bowl

Chicken and Coconut Spiced Garam Masala

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There is something about this dish that I absolutely love. Perhaps it is my natural affinity for any Indian inspired sauce with a coconut milk base? I’m not sure but I have yet to taste a masala I didn’t like and this dish is no exception.

garam masala in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it and spices in the background

I was raised off of traditional American foods and, when I met my ex, was introduced to traditional mexican cuisine but, my love for Indian food has always been there. I love the way everything smells while cooking and the flavors simply don’t disappoint.

That rings true in this dish for sure.

Tasty and boneless chicken spiced up with garam masala and coconut milk makes an excellent dish. If you love cooking, there is no need to visit a restaurant for the dish if you can prepare it.

Coconut milk adds creaminess and an elusive coconut flavor in dishes. If you do not have coconut milk, you can use yogurt as a substitute.

Using fresh spices is best but, I’ll be honest, I’m not that sophisticated and I use the pre-ground ones right out of the spice jar. For me, simplicity is king.

Remember to experiment as well. I list some measurements here for each spice which is great when you are learning a new dish. The reality is, now that I have cooked it a few times most of the time I just eyeball it.

garam masala in a light blue bowl on top of a wooden table with cinnamon bark and other spices surrounding the bowl

Components of Garam Masala

Knowing which flavors each spice adds can help you decide which to add more of and, perhaps, which to omit entirely. Remember, this is your kitchen, you make the choices.

  • Cloves are sweet and spicy. They have a strong, pungent scent and can have an almost astringent flavor. Cloves are usually paired with cinnamon or nutmeg to counter this.
  • Black and Green Cardamom really helps to add that curry like flavor. Black cardamom tastes a bit like mint whereas the green cardamom has more of a citrusy, earthy type flavor.
  • Ginger has an almost citrus flavor yet still earthy. It’s kind of sweet but has a slight heat to it as well.
  • Cinnamon is one of my favorites of the bunch. There are few who haven’t tasted a stick of cinnamon gum or even had a bit of cinnamon tea. The spice itself is kind of woody in flavor with that highly distinguishable aroma.
  • Cumin is another favorite for Indian recipes but is also great in many other dishes as well. It’s slightly nutty flavor tends to pair well with cinnamon.
  • Nigella (or BlackSeed) has a kind of smokey taste that might remind you of onions or oregano.
  • Mace has a nutmeg-like taste, but more mildly so.
five wooden spoons all filled with the different spices used in making garam masala

Five Health Benefits of Garam Masala

  1. Adding garam masala to your food boosts digestion by enhancing the production of gastric juices and also boosts appetite. Cloves help in reducing acidity.
  2. The ingredients in garam masala are rich in phytonutrients that aid in body metabolism and the functioning of other body organs.
  3. Garam masala contains antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation and also prevent skin problems.
  4. The ingredients in garam masala contain carminative ingredients that help in fighting nausea, stomach bloats and flatulence.
  5. Cardamom and cloves found in the spice help in fighting bad breath.

N/B: Too much consumption of foods spiced with garam masala has been linked with stomach ulcers. It is advisable to stop consuming the spice once you develop stomach acidity upsets. All in all, it is a healthy spice to be consumed on a daily basis.

Preparation

Serving: 3
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Extra time: 5 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • Chicken- 2 pounds
  • Ghee- 2 tablespoons
  • 2 medium yellow onions, well chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 3  cans of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of garam masala
  • Chopped cilantro (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Cut your chicken into approximately 1-inch cubes.
  2. Using a large saute pan (or wok), warm the ghee over medium heat till it melts. Add in the chopped onions and sauté the chicken in the hot fat until the pieces are cooked through.
  3. Open your coconut milk cans and check to see if there is the solid cream at the top. If so, I love adding a couple of spoonfuls of this before the next step. It isn’t a must, but I find that it really helps the spices to distribute nicely.
  4. Stir the ginger, cayenne, turmeric, garlic, and garam masala into the chicken until they coat completely.
  5. Add coconut milk and tomatoes. Simmer the sauce over low heat until the chicken becomes tender and the sauce is thick enough. This takes about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with chopped fresh cilantro and rice or any dish of your choice.

Flavor Inspirations

As with many of my recipes here, the original idea is not mine. Everyone needs a little inspiration in the kitchen. Here are some of the resources I used when creating this dish.

Yield: 3

Chicken and Coconut Spiced Garam Masala

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • Chicken- 2 pounds
  • Ghee- 2 tablespoons
  • 2 medium yellow onions, well chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt
  • 3 cans of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons of finely grated ginger
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of garam masala
  • Chopped cilantro (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Cut your chicken into approximately 1-inch cubes.
  2. Using a large saute pan (or wok), warm the ghee over medium heat till it melts. Add in the chopped onions and sauté the chicken in the hot fat until the pieces are cooked through.
  3. Open your coconut milk cans and check to see if there is the solid cream at the top. If so, I love adding a couple of spoonfuls of this before the next step. It isn't a must, but I find that it really helps the spices to distribute nicely.
  4. Stir the ginger, cayenne, turmeric, garlic, and garam masala into the chicken until they coat completely.
  5. Add coconut milk and tomatoes. Simmer the sauce over low heat until the chicken becomes tender and the sauce is thick enough. This takes about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with chopped fresh cilantro and rice or any dish of your choice.

Notes

N/B: Too much consumption of foods spiced with garam masala has been linked with stomach ulcers. It is advisable to stop consuming the spice once you develop stomach acidity upsets. All in all, it is a healthy spice to be consumed on a daily basis.

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