Chicken karahi, also known as kadai chicken, is a spicy, tomatoey chicken curry that’s typically made by simmering and stir-frying chicken in a karahi, an Indian wok. I’m sharing a much simpler recipe using my pre-made onion masala and an instant pot!
I’m confident that you’ll love this chicken karahi. I can pretty much guarantee that this dish is restaurant-worthy. How?
Well… I may or may not have thought that it’d be a good idea to order chicken karahi from four different Indian restaurants near me…
And then I may or may not have moved the curries into four identical white bowls, added a fifth bowl with my homemade version, and then insisted that Roby (my husband) taste each one and tell me which was best.
I mean, no pressure Roby. 😂 You can see how it went and watch him (really) struggle with this “kadai chicken challenge” lol. You can skip to the end if you want (I wasn’t sure I’d be sharing this iPhone video, so I’m sorry for the quality!).
I thought it’d be a fun experiment! Also, my 3-year-old and 1-year-old were out of town visiting their grandparents and after spending the past four months at home with them glued to me nearly 24-7, I had no idea what else to do with my newfound free time (omg what am I going to do when they go off to college?). This seemed like a good idea 🤷🏽♀️.
All five curries were good, and funnily enough, all a bit different from each other. Just goes to show, there’s no one “right” way to make a dish. But I do think there are a few things about my recipe that make it stand out…
WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT CHICKEN KARAHI?
First, you’ve got to toast and blend whole spices. It’s what differentiates an excellent chicken karahi from an ordinary one.
Then there’s the ghee. Oil is fine, but ghee gives chicken karahi a nutty and buttery edge over any other karahi contenders.
For a restaurant-worthy dish, you need chicken karahi to have a suspicion of cream (a couple of tablespoons will do). Just enough to make you wonder, “hey is there cream in this?” 🤔
And finally, cubes of stir-fried onion and green bell pepper, which add necessary crunch to the curry and give it that “karahi” vibe. You should think to yourself, “yeah, this dish could’ve totally been made in a karahi because the veggies are so bright and crisp.” 🥘✌🏽
And if you want to go from “excellent” to “omg amazing!” then you’ve got to up the presentation with cilantro, thinly sliced ginger and green chilies. When a dish looks better, it tastes better – pretty sure that’s a fact.
- 1 ½ pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs quartered
- 4 tablespoons ghee divided
- 1 onion cubed
- 1 bell pepper cubed
- 1-inch ginger julienned (cut into thin long strips)
- 1–2 green chilies sliced, to taste
- To dry roast spices, press the sauté button and wait 2 minutes for the pot to heat up. Add the whole spices to the pot and dry roast them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the spices out of the pot and coarsely grind them. Set aside for now.
- Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to the pot, then add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Remove the onions and bell pepper from the pot.
- Add another 2 tablespoons of ghee to the pot, then add the chicken, freshly ground whole spices, ground spices and green chili to the pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the outside of the chicken is well coated in the spices.
- Add onion masala and 3 tablespoons of water and mix well.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes.
- Press sauté and stir in heavy cream and fenugreek leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reduces to desired consistency.
- Add the cubed onions and bell pepper back to the pot and mix well.
- Garnish with cilantro, ginger and green chilies.