Kadai Chicken


Chicken Karahi (Kadai), an Indian Recipe by Ashley of myheartbeets.com

What is Kadai Chicken?

When you eat out at an Indian restaurant, chances are that they’ll have Kadai Chicken on the menu. It’s a popular north Indian dish that’s made with a few freshly ground whole spices and is known for its incredible flavor.

Why is it called Kadai chicken?

Kadai chicken is a simple, spicy dish and is traditionally made in a cast iron wok, but you can use a dutch oven or large saute pan instead. Kadai (or Karahi) just means “wok” – therefore, Kadai Chicken translates to Wok Chicken.

It’s not the most creative name… but it is pretty straightforward. If I could rename the dish, I’d call it “tasty chicken smothered in a thick, spicy tomato masala sauce made with freshly ground spices” or something slightly shorter than that.

Chicken Karahi (Kadai), an Indian Recipe by Ashley of myheartbeets.com

While this dish is not as well known as butter chicken, it’s right up there in deliciousness. Kadai Chicken is more of a drier curry where the spices really cling onto the chicken. It goes really well with my 3-ingredient Paleo Naan or my nut-free Roti recipe.

Chicken Karahi (Kadai), an Indian Recipe by Ashley of myheartbeets.com

Kadai Chicken

Chicken Karahi (Kadai), an Indian Recipe by Ashley of myheartbeets.com

Kadai Chicken

4.96 from 25 reviews
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  • Roast the whole spices: black peppercorns, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, until the spices are fragrant. Coarsely grind the spices in a spice or coffee grinder and set aside.
  • Add ghee, bay leaf, and onions to a wok or dutch oven over medium heat and stir-fry for 15-20 minutes, or until the onions turn golden.
  • Then add garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper, freshly ground spices and the remaining spices to the wok. Stir-fry for a couple minutes then add the chicken.
  • Once the chicken is coated with spices, add the tomato puree. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove lid and raise the heat to high – then cook until the water from the tomato puree evaporates – another 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


I made this using a cast iron wok. If you use another pan, you may have to adjust your cooking time.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Chicken Karahi (Kadai), an Indian Recipe by Ashley of myheartbeets.com

This is one of the many delicious recipes in my eBook, South Asian Persuasion so if you’re looking for healthy paleo-friendly recipes with a lot of flavor, then be sure to check it out!

just for fun, here’s a picture I took of this dish in 2014:

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Derek Barton says

    I intend to make this dish but I don’t understand how 3 tomatoes will make 3 cups of puree, please advise. Thank you

  2. Anita says

    5 stars
    I made the chicken kadai for the first time and I have to say it was delicious! The flavors were on point – restaurant quality! My niece Maneesha (who is a huge fan of yours) suggested your site and I have tried many of your recipes in the instant pot. It is really nice to see that our children have such a great resource and to be inspired to cook and make home made meals, feel good and get excited about it! My daughter makes your meals all the time as well! Thank you so much!

  3. Dhanushree Mathur says

    5 stars
    I love cooking, especially for my family..!

    Awesome recipe, everyone in my family loved it..!

    I am gonna make it again and again..!

  4. AJ Hartley says

    5 stars
    Having grown up in Northern England (though I now live in Charlotte) I was practically raised on Indian food and I cook it a lot. Your recipe produced one of the best dishes I’ve ever made. Thank you. I admit that substituted one of last year’s home grown ghost peppers for the serano 🙂

  5. Bree says

    5 stars
    Another yum recipe by Ashley. I got carried away with the ginger so mine turned out extremely spicy. But it was so yum. Definitely going to be my go to recipe when company comes. My hubby didn’t like it as an entree since he prefers chicken with gravy but we will serve it as starters to go with pre-dinner drinks.

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