Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry)

4.90 from 19 votes

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.

Kadai chicken served in a bowl.
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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, 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 for special occasions, festivals, or get-togethers.

The key to making a delicious Kadhai Chicken is its masala powder (spice mix), made fresh by roasting and grinding a few Indian spices.

You get readymade kadai masala powder in the market these days, 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 free of added chemicals, colors, or flavors. It is much more economical to make it at home too.

If you are looking for more chicken curry recipes, here are some more that can be prepared for everyday meals

Ingredients

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 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 (kali mirch), and whole dry red chilies.

Yogurt & Unsweetened Heavy Cream – These two ingredients make the gravy creamy and add richness.

Onions and Green Bell Peppers (Capsicum) give the chicken karahi recipe a nice crunch.

Other Ingredients – To make the base curry, you will need oil, black cardamoms (badi elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini), bay leaves (tejpatta), red onions, fresh tomatoes, Kasuri methi, ginger garlic paste, green chillies, all-purpose flour (maida), garam masala powder, salt, and turmeric powder.

You can replace grated fresh tomatoes with canned tomato puree too. 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.

Add some cashew paste or melon seeds paste to the curry to make it richer.

Garnish this delicious chicken curry with chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves).

How To Make Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry)

Marinate The Chicken

Rinse 2 pounds (1 kg) 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
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

in a large mixing bowl.

marination ingredients added to a bowl.

Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

Marinated chicken.

Make The Kadai Masala

Dry roast the following ingredients on medium-low heat until they are browned and fragrant.

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2-3 Kashmiri dry red chilies (stalks removed)

Stir continuously for even roasting.

Kadai masala ingredients added to a pan.
Roasted spices.

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.

Roasted spices added to a grinder.
Slightly coarse powder made.

Make The Curry

Heat 3 tablespoon ghee and 2 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

Ghee and oil added to a pan.

Once the oil is hot, add the following spices and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.

  • 2 whole black cardamoms
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole bay leaves
Whole spices added to the pan.

Add 1 cup of chopped onions and cook until they turn light brown (6-8 minutes), stirring frequently.

Onions added to the pan.

Now add the marinated chicken and the kadai masala powder and cook on high heat for 5-6 minutes.

Marinated chicken and kadai masala powder added to the pan.

Add the following ingredients and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently.

  • 1-inch piece of ginger (julienned)
  • 2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 cup of grated tomatoes
  • 4-5 green chilies (slit into half)
Ginger, garlic, tomtoes and green chilies added to the pan.

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 curdling.

Now add ½ cup of water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix well.

Yogurt whisked with flour, salt and water added to the pan.

Cover the pan with a lid.

Pan covered with a lid.

Reduce the heat to low.

Cook the chicken for 40-45 minutes or until it is almost cooked.

Add the following ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  • 1 cup of cubed green bell pepper (1-inch cubes)
  • 1 cup of cubed onions (1-inch cubes, petals separated)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Bell pepepr, onions, turmeric powder and garam masala added to the pan.

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.

Heavy cream and kasuri methi added to the pan.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Ready Kadai Chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make kadai masala in advance?

Yes, you can. When kept in a cool and dry place, this spice mix stays good in an airtight container for 2-3 months. I always scale the recipe and make a big batch of this spice mix to use in my recipes later.

Can I use mutton instead of chicken in this restaurant-style kadai chicken recipe?

Yes, you can follow the same recipe and use goat mutton (or lamb) instead of chicken, but remember that mutton takes much more time than chicken to cook. So the time of cooking will differ in both recipes. You can replace chicken with shrimp or veggies like mushrooms, baby corn, etc. Paneer, chickpeas, or tofu can also be used to make this curry.

How to give a smoky flavor to kadai chicken?

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.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

I marinate it for 30 to 40 minutes, which is enough for this recipe. But if you have more time, you can marinate it for 3 to 4 hours too.

Serving Suggestions

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 flavorful curry goes well with any Indian Bread, such as Naan Bread, Tandoori Roti, Phulka, Plain Tawa Paratha, Lachha Paratha, Missi Roti, Rumali Roti, and any other bread that you like to eat.

It tastes great with Steamed White Rice, Jeera Rice, or a mildly flavored Peas Pulao.

Storage Suggestions

Kadai Chicken stays good for 2 to 3 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.

You can freeze it for 2 to 3 months in a freezer bag or an airtight container. Just thaw, reheat, and serve.

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Kadai Chicken (Chicken Karahi Curry) is a delicious Indian chicken curry where chicken is cooked with freshly ground spices. This spicy curry goes well with naan or any other Indian bread.
4.90 from 19 votes

Kadai Chicken Recipe (Chicken Karahi Curry)

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.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Marination Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

To Marinate The Chicken

  • 2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken (1 kg, 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 (kali mirch)
  • 2-3 whole dry red chilies (stalks removed)

For The Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 whole black cardamoms (badi elaichi)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalcini)
  • 2 whole bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • 1 cup chopped red 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 powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon crushed Kasuri methi
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
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Instructions 

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 oil in a large non-stick 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 cook until they turn 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 40-45 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.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

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.
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.

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 177mg, Sodium: 1763mg, Potassium: 670mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1099IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 86mg, Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe, step by step recipe was so easy to follow and also added information about enhancing the flavor and to serve with ideas. Definitely worth subscribing.

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!! Just made it tonight, and it did not disappoint! Easy to follow and tasted INCREDIBLE! There is SO MUCH FLAVOUR in every bite! THANK YOU!!! Can’t wait to make it again!
    I didn’t have everything on hand, so substituted a few things-
    Used butter instead of ghee;
    Did not have plain yoghurt so skipped this ingredient;
    Used curry leaves instead of bay leaves

  3. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I decreased the amount of chillis and peppercorns as we don’t eat spicey food. I can’t wait to try the other recipe! 😍

  4. 5 stars
    Hey Neha, I am a grandfather of 3 and one the way. The other day my wife and grandmother of 3 and one on the way needed a thank you for 40 years of bliss she and I shared.
    So I made her your Kadai chicken.
    Believe me, it was just something to say thank you for everything.
    My children look at me with a new admiration but your secret is safe with me. I will tell them and others that it was your recipe but let me enjoy the praise and respect for a few more days.
    Amazing, amazing, amazing recipe Neha. Thank you.