Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry) is a delicious Indian chicken curry where chicken is cooked with freshly ground spices. This restaurant style spicy curry goes well with naan or any other Indian bread.
If you are looking for more chicken curry recipes, here are some more that can be prepared for everyday meals – Butter Chicken, Chicken Angara, Chicken Masala, Achari Chicken, Fresh Methi Chicken Curry, and Badami Chicken Curry.
About Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry)
Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry, Karahi Murgh) is a North Indian and Pakistani style chicken curry where chicken is cooked in a spicy freshly ground spice mix.
This dish is traditionally made in an Indian vessel called kadai which is a heavy-bottomed pot or a wok, hence the name.
You can replace chicken with other ingredients and make different versions of this kadai curry. Some of my other favorites are Kadai Mushrooms, Kadai Paneer, Kadai Mutton, etc.
Karahi Chicken is also a popular recipe on the menu of most Indian restaurants. It is a great curry to make for special occasions, festivals, or get-togethers.
The key to making a delicious Kadhai Chicken is in its masala, which is made fresh by roasting and grinding a few Indian spices.
These days you get readymade kadai masala in the market, but I always prefer to make my own at home. Firstly, homemade is made using high-quality ingredients. It tastes much better than the store-bought masala. The homemade spice mix is also free of any added chemicals, colors, or flavors. It is much more economical to make it at home too.
Chicken – I always try to use bone-in skinless chicken to make curries as the bones add a lot of flavors. Having said that, you can go ahead and use boneless chicken if you prefer that.
For Marination – Chicken is marinated with ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri red chilli powder, salt, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
The marination makes the chicken super juicy and tender.
For Kadai Masala – To make homemade kadai masala, you will need whole coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (saunf), whole black peppercorns, and whole dry red chilies.
Yogurt & Heavy Cream – These two ingredients make the gravy creamy and also add richness to it.
Onions and Green Bell Peppers (Capsicum) give a nice crunch to the recipe.
Other Ingredients – To make the base curry, you will need some everyday ingredients that include vegetable oil, black cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, onions, fresh tomatoes, Kasuri methi, ginger garlic, green chillies, all-purpose flour (maida), garam masala powder, salt, and turmeric powder.
You can replace grated fresh tomatoes with canned tomato puree too. Just use a little less as the canned puree is much more concentrated.
To make the curry tangier, you can add some lime juice (or lemon juice) or dry mango powder (amchoor) to it.
To make it richer, add some cashew paste or melon seeds paste to the curry.
How To Make Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry)
Marinate The Chicken
Rinse 26 oz (750 g) bone-in skinless chicken (cut into 1 and ½-inch pieces) with water.
Mix the chicken with 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice in a large mixing bowl.
Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
Make The Kadai Masala
Dry roast 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, and 2-3 Kashmiri dry red chilies (stalks removed) on medium-low heat until they are browned and fragrant. Stir continuously for even roasting.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the spices cool down for 5 minutes.
Add the roasted spices to a grinder and grind to make a slightly coarse powder.
Make The Curry
Heat 3 tablespoon ghee and 2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 2 whole black cardamoms, 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick, and 2 whole bay leaves and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
Add 1 cup of chopped onions and fry until it turns light brown in color (6-8 minutes), stirring frequently.
Now add the marinated chicken and the kadai masala powder and cook on high heat for 5-6 minutes.
Add a 1-inch piece of ginger (julienned), 2 teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 cup of grated tomatoes, and 4-5 green chilies (slit into half) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently.
Add ¼ cup of plain yogurt (whisked with 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour) to the pan and mix well. Whisking yogurt with all-purpose flour prevents it from splitting.
Now add ½ cup of water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix well.
Cover the pan with a lid.
Reduce the heat to low.
Cook the chicken for 30-35 minutes or until it is almost cooked.
Add 1 cup of cubed green bell pepper (1-inch cubes), 1 cup of cubed onions (1-inch cubes), ½ teaspoon garam masala, and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Finally, add ¼ cup of unsweetened heavy cream and 1 tablespoon crushed Kasuri methi and mix well.
Check for salt and add more if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can. This spice mix stays good in an airtight container for 2-3 months when kept in a cool and dry place. I always scale the recipe and make a big batch of this spice mix to use in my recipes later.
Yes, you can follow the same recipe and use goat mutton (or lamb) instead of chicken, but keep in mind that mutton takes much more time than chicken to cook. So the time of cooking will differ in both recipes. You can also replace chicken with shrimp or veggies like mushrooms, baby corn, etc. Paneer, chickpeas, or tofu can also be used to make this curry.
To give a smoky flavor to your curry, heat a piece of charcoal over an open flame until it is red hot. Keep a bowl in the center of the pan with curry and place the hot coal in the bowl. Pour a teaspoon of oil over the coal and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Let it rest for about 5 minutes, and let the curry absorb the smoke. Open the lid, and remove the bowl with the coal. You have your smoked Kadai Chicken ready.
I marinate it for about 30 to 40 minutes, which is enough for this recipe. But if you have more time on your hands, you can marinate it for up to 3 to 4 hours too.
This curry just like any other curry tastes best the next day. So try to cook it a day in advance for the best flavor.
This full of flavor and absolutely spectacular curry goes well with any Indian Bread such as Naan Bread, Tandoori Roti, Phulka, Tawa Paratha, Laccha Paratha, Missi Roti, Rumali Roti and any other bread that you like to eat with.
It also tastes great with Steamed White Rice, Jeera Rice, or a mildly flavored Pulao.
Kadai Chicken stays good for 2 to 3 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.
You can also freeze it for about 2 to 3 months in a freezer bag or in an airtight container. Just thaw, reheat and serve.
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Restaurant Style Kadai Chicken Recipe (Chicken Karahi Curry)
To Marinate The Chicken
- 26 ounce bone-in skinless chicken (750 g, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces, rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
For Kadai Masala
- 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 2-3 whole dry red chilies (stalks removed)
For The Gravy
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 whole black cardamoms
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 inch piece of ginger (cut into juliennes)
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 cup grated tomatoes
- 4-5 green chilies (slit into half)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt (dahi, curd) (whisked with 1 teaspoon all purpose flour)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup cubed green bell pepper (capsicum) (1-inch cubes)
- ½ cup cubed onions (1-inch cubes, petals separated)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon crushed Kasuri methi
Marinate The Chicken
- Rinse the chicken with water.
- Mix the chicken with ginger garlic paste, chili powder, salt, and lime juice in a large mixing bowl.
- Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
Make The Kadai Masala
- Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and dry red chilies on medium-low heat until they are browned and fragrant. Stir continuously for even roasting.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the spices cool down for 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted spices to a grinder and grind to make a slightly coarse powder.
Make The Curry
- Heat ghee and vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add black cardamoms, cinnamon, and bay leaves and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
- Add onions and fry until it turns light brown in color (6-8 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Now add the marinated chicken and the kadai masala powder and cook on high heat for 5-6 minutes.
- Add ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and green chilies, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add yogurt to the pan and mix well.
- Now add ½ cup of water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix well.
- Cover the pan with a lid.
- Reduce the heat to low.
- Cook the chicken for 30-35 minutes or until it is almost cooked.
- Add cubed green bell pepper, cubed onions, garam masala, and turmeric powder, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, add heavy cream and Kasuri methi and mix well.
- Check for salt and add more if needed.
- Serve hot.