Monday, July 4, 2016

Bibi's Nepali Style Chicken Curry (Khukoor ko Masu)

Hi, I'm Bibi and I'm honored to do a recipe guest post on Alex's blog today! If you'd like to learn more about me please check out my interview on Madh Mama here or visit my blog Keep Calm & Curry On.

From the heart of the Himalayas comes this delicious chicken curry. In Nepali, "kukhoor" means chicken and "masu" means meat. Chicken is marinated then slowly simmered until delectably tender in a richly seasoned sauce of traditional Nepali spices. Don't let that long list of ingredients in this recipe intimidate you, this is one of the easiest and tastiest chicken curries you'll ever make!

There are so many ethnicities in the tiny nation of Nepal it's really hard to generalize the cuisine. I learned this recipe from a lovely lady who once ran a small restaurant in the town of Malekhu on the banks of the Trishuli river in Nepal. She firmly insisted this chicken needs to marinate overnight or a full day for the best flavor. Although everyone cooks their chicken curry a little differently the marination in oil is typical of many Nepali meat curries. The liberal use of spices such as black cardamom, fenugreek, and cassia leaves or "tej patta" is common to many Nepali dishes too. If you've never made a curry this is a great "first recipe" to try. It really is so simple to make but so tasty!

- 1kg/2lbs chicken, skinless, bone in, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 inch piece cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)

Grind to smooth paste for marinade:
- 1/3 C cooking oil (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
- 2 C onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp cayenne powder + 1 tsp paprika powder)
- 2 tsp cumin/jeera, ground or seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
- 5 green cardamoms/elaichi
- 5 cloves/laung
- 10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
- 1/4 tsp mace/javitri (or nutmeg/jaiphal)
- 2-3 green chilis/hari mirch (omit for less heat)
- 2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:

1) Grind all ingredients listed under marinade to smooth paste in mixie, food processor, or blender. Coat all chicken pieces in ground marinade and place in a sealable airtight container. If you like, place the cassia leaves/tej patta and cassia bark/dalchini on top of the marinating chicken pieces in the container. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours up to overnight in the refrigerator.

2) When ready to cook place marinated chicken pieces, tej patta/cassia leaves, and cassia bark/dalchini in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet. Reserve marinade. Allow chicken pieces to fry on each side for 3 minutes, chicken should just be turning white.

3) Add reserved marinade to chicken pieces in pan. Stir well and fry for 5 minutes. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water, stir, and reduce heat.

4) Add 1 C water to pan, stir well and allow chicken pieces to simmer uncovered over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and oil has separated from the sauce. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water, stir, and reduce heat. 

Salt to taste and serve with rice, rotis, or naan.

Helpful Hints:
Never cook chicken in a pressure cooker as the intense high heat will make it rubbery.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and do come visit me at Keep Calm & Curry On for more culinary fun!

Calmly currying on,


  1. This is a very interesting recipe. One comment though, chicken curry in Nepali is "Kukhura ko Masu" instead of "Khukoor ko Masu" which sounds very much like kukoor ko masu meaning "Dog's Meat". Since dog's meat is not consumed in Nepal, your title gives out a completely different meaning, requiring a double glance to make sure that it's chicken meat that you're talking about. It'd be really great if you could correct it. Otherwise, I'm excited to go home try out this recipe :)

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I've seen chicken spelled in Nepali various ways- Khukura, Kukhura, Kookhurah, Khukoori, Khukoor, Khukur and even Khukri (like the knife). Dog in Nepali is usually spelled kukur for some reason not kukoor. Since the initial K is aspirated I say we keep the "kh" first. The vowel in the second syllable does not sound like the vowel in the first syllable- more like the "oo" in look rather than "uh" sound of the vowel in the first syllable. Whether the last sound is an aspirated consonant or vowel I suppose is a regional difference?
      I suggest the spelling "khukoorah" would represent the actual phonetic sounds as it is pronounced in Nepal. I wasn't aware there was any standardized English spelling of the Nepali language.

    2. Hi Bibi, thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. Although there is no standard for spelling Nepali words in English, when it's pronounced it gives different meaning. Khukhoor does sound like Kukur (dog in Nepali). Chicken should be either Kukhura (Male) or Kukhuri (Female). Kukhuro is for a group of kukhura. You can add 'h' or 'o' in between :) Thanks again for sharing this does look amazing !

  2. Thanks Bibi for this recipe will give it a try!


  3. trying this today.

  4. This looks good but it's not typical Nepali Kukhura ko Jhol. It's more Indian style.


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