Indian Food Fiesta: Kadai/Karahi Chicken

The one word which is often used to describe Indian food is 'spicy'. I feel it is almost a felony to do so because Indian cuisine is too diverse in both its simplicity of ingredients and its complexity of flavours to fit into mere five letters. But if you still want to stick with the spicy note for now, I have something perfect for you. It has been a family favourite for years, and you call it Kadai/Karahi Chicken. I know for sure that your senses will be filled by the aroma of spices as your palate sets out on a journey to 'flavour-town' (most suitable place to quote Guy Fieri). Well, if you have had enough of my dreamy words, lets quickly go through some trivia. This dish is typically prepared in a kadai/karahi. The online Oxford dictionary defines 'kadai'/ 'karahi' as 'a bowl-shaped frying pan with two handles, used in Indian cookery'. It almost resembles a Chinese wok. But don't worry if you do not have one handy. You can very well use a deep cooking pan. This time I myself used it, as my kadai was not big enough for the quantity I was dealing with. Don't get put off by the list of ingredients, I promise the recipe is really simple.

You may also want to try my other chicken recipes like Chicken Lababdar , Chicken Stoganoff , Chicken Enchiladas , Chicken in Thai Green Curry .

Kadai/Karahi Chicken


Chicken (on the bone): 1 lb/ 500 grams
Onions (chopped): 2
Tomatoes (diced): 4
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tsps
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Green chillies (slit into halves): 2
Coriander leaves (chopped): 1/2 cup
Oil: 1 1/2 tbsps
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Spices to be dry roasted
Dry red chillies: 2
Green cardamoms: 4
Cloves: 4
Black peppercorns: 8
Cinnamon sticks: 1 1/2 inch
Fenugreek seeds: 1 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 1/2 tsp


Marinate the chicken over-night with salt, turmeric powder and ginger-garlic paste.

 Dry roast the spices in a pan and grind them coarsely.

 Heat oil is a deep cooking pan. Saute the onions till golden brown.

Then add the ground spice mixture and mix well.

Now arrange the chicken pieces over it. Do not stir or mix. Then cover the chicken fully with the diced tomatoes.

Now cover it with a lid and slow cook on low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. It is very important that you do not open the lid in between or stir it.

You will find that the tomatoes have softened. Check for the done-ness of the chicken (if not cooked, cover and cook till done).

Now add a little sugar, the chopped coriander leaves, green chillies (also check the salt and add more if needed) and mix everything well. Cover it again and turn off the heat. Let it rest for another five minutes. Your kadai/karahi chicken is now ready to be served.

Enjoy it with rice, roti or paratha!

Photographs by Swakshar Ghosh


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