Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala

This hearty saucy chickpea, chicken and tomato dish is loaded with warming spices. It’s so quick to make using the Instant pot or pressure cooker if you have one but worth the extra time if you decide to braise this stovetop or in the oven. Instructions for both included.

Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala

Not only is it loaded with flavour but it also has a good amount of greens added to it. It’s made of basic pantry tin ingredients like chickpeas and canned crushed tomatoes along with spices you may already have in your pantry with the exception of a few like the garam masala. Traditional garam masala is an incredibly complex spice blend that often contains more than 30 ingredients. A store bought blend is a great and easy way to go but if you can’t locate one you can substitute curry powder for a similar warmth but not the exact flavour, or a mixture of allspice and cumin.

Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala

Authentic chana masala is typically made with whole spices, plus some dried mango powder (amchur). Mango powder isn’t a very simple spice for everyone to find that adds a sour tang to recipes, so that is why it’s often replaced with lemon juice/vinegar in recipes just like this one. It’s a tangy spice made from green mangos that have been dried and powdered. This is not as authentic, as we are using ground spices. Cooking them off in butter to bring out their best flavour. It’s a simplified version that is super tasty and does not disappoint.

Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala

This quick and easy chicken and chickpea masala recipe is great served over basmati rice or served with warm buttery naan. It’s loaded with warm spices, hearty, and makes great leftovers, too! The flavours actually get better the next day. It’s become a staple recipe on our home and worth pulling out the instant pot for a speedy dinner!


Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala

Basic ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Cilantro
  • Spices

Substitutions

  • Garam masala - substitute equal measure of curry powder or 1 part cumin with ¼ part allspice
  • Heavy cream - substitute with either yoghurt or coconut milk for a dairy free option
  • Make the dish vegan by subsisting butter with oil, and cream for coconut milk, omitting the chicken and braising the chickpeas In a sauce for 20 minutes (do not use the instant pot method with canned chickpeas)
  • Crushed tomatoes can be substituted with whole canned tomatoes that you can crush with the back fo spoon, or diced tomatoes
  • Spinach can be replaced with any other greens

Recipe

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more as needed if you are browning the chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 fresh green chilies sliced with seeds or seedless if you want less heat
  • 2 tbsp tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper plus more to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh spinach leaves, trimmed (or frozen but thawed and extra water squeezed out)
  • 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice plus more according to taste
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus more for serving
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs (approx 4 to 6 of each)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Heat butter in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat (sauté setting on instant pot). Add onions, garlic, chilis and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and just starting to get some golden colour on them - approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili pepper stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, just a few minutes and scrape the bottom of the pot well to release all the brown bits.
  3. Add half of cilantro, chicken stock, and chicken pieces. Stir to combine. Seal instant pot/pressure cooker and heat to high pressure and program to cook for 15 minutes with quick release.**
  4. Remove lid and stir in drained chickpeas, 1 tablespoons lemon juice, and simmer (you may need to turn the Instant pot back on to sauté setting for a quick simmer), stirring frequently, until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, just a few minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and Garam masala. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining cilantro leaves.
  • Note: if you decide to brown your chicken before sweating the onions and chili’s that is fine just adjust the timing to 12 minutes instead of 15 as the chicken will cook through a little, while browning.

Stove top and oven braising instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large dutch oven or heavy bottom stewing pot over medium-high heat. (If browning chicken - Add them in at this point and brown on all sides in batches then remove and set aside on a plate).
  2. Add onions, garlic, chilis and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and just starting to get some golden colour on them - about 5 minutes.
  3. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili pepper stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Add half of cilantro, chicken stock, and chicken pieces in or back in if you had browned and removed them. Stir to combine. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Or leave on the stovetop - allow to braise until fork-tender, 45-55 minutes.
  4. Remove (remove from oven if braising in oven and place on burner on medium so it continues to simmer) lid and stir in drained chickpeas, 1 tablespoons lemon juice, and simmer stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened, just a few minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from heat and stir in the cream and Garam Masala. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining cilantro leaves and extra lemon slices. Serve with rice or naan bread.

Adapted from Serious Eats


Quick and Easy Chicken and Chickpea Masala