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.
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.
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 medium onions chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2- inch ginger minced
- 1 Serrano pepper or 1-2 Thai bird chilies, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs cut into quarters
- 3 cups fresh tomato puree (approx. 3 large tomatoes pureed)
- 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.
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!