Methi Masala Chicken

Methi Masala Chicken

In Indian cookery, a ‘Masala’ is a spice blend and ‘Methi’ refers to Fenugreek, with the dried leaves being specifically called ‘Kasoori Methi’. The Methi Masala Chicken you see in the above picture doesn’t represent any particular Indian recipe, but the spices used, as well as the technique of marinating with seasoned yoghurt is very Indian in spirit. Once the preparation of the masala for this recipe is completed, the chicken only requires oven roasting for a delicious meal.

Ingredient Notes

I have used parsley in this recipe, which is not especially Indian but does lend an attractive color and pleasant flavor to the finished dish. Cilantro, or Coriander leaved’ would be more appropriate but I cannot abide the flavor myself and have used the parsley s a sort of substitute. Please feel free to use Cilantro instead, if you like the taste.

The Basic Method

Chicken pieces slashed for marination
Chicken pieces slashed for marination

First, trim the chicken pieces of excess fat and make slashes in several places to allow the masala to penetrate. Rub the pieces with lemon juice and salt, working the salt under the skin and into the slashes, and then set aside for the time being.

Jalapeño, Parsley, Methi, Garlic and Ginger Spice Paste
Jalapeño, Parsley, Methi, Garlic and Ginger Spice Paste

Now, process or grind the Jalapeno, Methi, Parsley, Garlic and Ginger to a coarse paste.

Dry Masala Blend
Dry Masala Blend

Separately, toast the coriander and cumin in a dry pan until the seeds give off a nice aroma (be careful they do not start to blacken). Grind together the coriander, celery seed and two teaspoons of the cumin and then mix in the remaining cumin seeds.

Yoghurt based Masala Marinade
Yoghurt based Masala Marinade

Mix together the green paste, the spices and the yoghurt along with the pepper and sugar. Set this aside for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop.

Marinating the Chicken in a Methi Masala
Marinating the Chicken in a Methi Masala

Now, use your fingers to loosen the skin on the chicken pieces and then work some of the masala under the skin and deep into the slashes in the meat. Coat the remainder of the pieces well and set aside to marinate for at least 3 hours (or even overnight in the fridge). You should have a little masala mix leftover, so save this for ‘basting’ during the cooking process.

Oven Roasting Methi Masala Chicken
Oven Roasting Methi Masala Chicken

To cook, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and then pop the chicken in (preferably on a wire rack over a pan) for about 30 – 40 minutes, turning a few times. Near the end of the cooking time you can, if you like, baste the pieces with the remaining masala mix as I did just before taking the above picture. You can also give the chicken a minute or two under the broiler at the very end so as to give that ‘Tandoori’ look…. I didn’t bother with that.

Methi Masala Chicken with Rice and Dal.
Methi Masala Chicken with Rice and Dal.

Allow the pieces to rest for at least five minutes before serving. I served mine with Lemon Rice topped with a little Dal, and a Sambal of Tomato and Onion.

Your Recipe Card:

Methi Masala Chicken

In Methi Masala Chicken, bone-in chicken pieces are marinated in Yoghurt with Dried Fenugreek Leaves and other Spices before being roasted.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Chicken, Coriander Seed, Cumin, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Yoghurt
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Chicken parts;
  • 3 tbsp. Lemon Juice;
  • 1 tsp. Salt;
  • ½ cup Yoghurt;
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers seeded and chopped;
  • ¼ cup Kasoori Methi dried Fenugreek Leaf;
  • ¼ cup chopped Parsley;
  • 1 tsp. Garlic paste;
  • 1 tsp. Ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Seed;
  • 3 tsp. Cumin Seed;
  • ¼ tsp. Celery Seed;
  • ½ tsp. White Pepper;
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar.

Instructions

  • Trim the chicken pieces of excess fat and make slashes in several places to allow the masala to penetrate.
  • Rub the pieces with lemon juice and salt, working the salt under the skin and into the slashes, and then set aside for the time being.
  • Grind the Jalapeños, Kasoori Methi, Parsley, Garlic and Ginger to a coarse paste.
  • Briefly toast the coriander and cumin in a dry pan, grind together the coriander, celery seed and two teaspoons of the cumin, and then mix in the remaining cumin seeds.
  • Mix together the green paste, the spices, and the yoghurt along with the pepper and sugar, then set this aside for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop.
  • Loosen the skin on the chicken pieces and then work some of the masala under the skin and deep into the slashes in the meat. Coat the remainder of the pieces well and marinate overnight, reserving the leftover Yoghurt mix for basting.
  • Roast the chicken pieces in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 40 minutes, turning once or twice, and basting with the reserved Yoghurt mix.
  • Allow the pieces to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!