kadai chicken recipe – restaurant style | how to make karahi chicken recipe | murgh kadai recipe
Do you love the combination of capsicum with meats like chicken or mutton? If that’s a yes, we have something in common! And you are in for a treat today. Yay! How awesome is that! It’s the weekend and most of us are preparing nice, special meals for our family that we had been thinking about throughout the week hoping and wishing that Sunday would come sooner than it does. Can you relate to this sentiment?
chicken kadai recipe – a hot favorite among the restaurant-goers
So, circling back to the treat now. I am sharing an iconic, chicken recipe that we often order when eating out at an Indian restaurants – The Chicken Kadai (चिकन कढ़ाई) or Murgh Kadai (मुर्ग़ कढ़ाई). It is also called as Karahi Chicken (कढ़ाही चिकन), which has a slightly different pronunciation. This is a magnificent, indulgent, and totally droolworthy chicken dish that you can easily recreate at home with this authentic restaurant style chicken kadai recipe.
I was hooked onto kadai chicken chicken ever since I first tried it in a very popular restaurant in town long ago, maybe I was a tweenager back then. Then Mom once made Kadai chicken recipe by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor at home and I realized how fun it was to recreate restaurant style recipes at home.
This particular recipe, however, is the outcome of several trial and errors of my own. I think brining and marinating the chicken are very important. And there are several small changes here and there throughout the recipe that make it so perfect.
what is chicken kadai recipe all about?
Chicken kadhai or murgh kadai is a North-Indian recipe. So it has to be rich, and it has to have robust flavours. It is made using the regular onion-tomato base. It has a very special spice blend called the kadai masala. I have given the recipe of kadai masala powder in this post itself. What sets the chicken kadai recipe apart from the other chicken curries is the fact that it has stir-fried diced onions and capsicum. And I can’t emphasize enough on “stir-fried”. Many homecooks just toss in the diced onion and capsicum raw into the chicken curry towards the end and continue to cook it until they get tender. That doesn’t give you the kind of taste and texture that you expect your chicken kadhai recipe to have.
The onions and capsicum have to be stir-fried on high heat. And then you pour in the chicken curry and cook it for another minute or so. The veggies should have that typical smokey aroma and the crunch in spite of being cooked well that comes from stir-frying. That’s how restaurants do it. Yes, you will have an extra kadai to clean but it is totally worth it.
making kadai masala for kadai murgh recipe
Kadai masala powder is a mix of spices in simple terms. Whole spices are roasted and ground right before you start making the chicken kadai recipe. These include,
- Dried Kashmiri red chilies / Sukhi Kashmiri lal mirch. Use dried byadgi mirch for best results like I did.
- Cumin seeds / Jeera
- Coriander seeds / Sabut sukha dhaniya
- Fennel seeds / Saunf
- Black peppercorns / Kali mirch
We also use some ground coriander powder, red chili powder, and some garam masala. But kadai masala is irreplaceable. Using ground black pepper, ground cumin, ground fennel separately won’t work. Making fresh kadai masala with these spices in a specific ratio is important. Kadai masala is the game changer here. It gives the karahi chicken recipe that nice, masaledar and chatpata vibe that we all love so much.
tips for making perfect chicken kadai recipe
- As the name suggests, kadai chicken is supposed to be made in a kadai or the Indian wok. I had once made it in pressure cooker when I had unexpected guests over. The result was great but different from the real kadai chicken. Also, don’t use handi either. Just stick to the kadai for this one.
- Typically, whole and ground Kashmiri chilies are used in this recipe. I highly recommend using byadgi instead because it lends a great color to the curry like Kashmiri, and it also has a much better flavour and taste.
- The chicken kadai gravy doesn’t call for cashew paste. You get that rich, creamy velvety texture from fresh cream. I highly recommend using the clotted cream that forms the layer on top of the boiled milk upon cooling. It has high fat content and a slight sweetness and nuttiness to it that the store-bought fresh creams lack. So always use ghar ki malai for getting the best-tasting chicken kadai recipe.
- Always use chicken on bone. Save those chunky boneless chicken cuts for Indo-Chinese stir-fry recipes. Most Indian chicken curries call for bone-in chicken including this one.
- In the end, I have also imparted a mild smoky flavour to my chicken kadhai using a wood coal ember. That’s the optional step but I highly recommend doing it.
- Using homemade tomato puree is the key to make kadai chicken gravy that is not too tart or less tangy. I have tried making kadai chicken with just simple pureed tomatoes, store-bought tomato puree, and my homemade tomato puree. And the homemade tomato puree proved to be the ideal choice.
- That’s because just pureed tomatoes are not tangy enough, and the ready-made tomato puree is way too tart for this recipe. The homemade puree has the perfect balance of the natural sweetness and tartness from the tomatoes. Oh, and the color is magnificent too, so vibrant. So try making a big batch and store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and use it for everyday cooking.
- Making freshly ground kadhai masala, which we have already talked about.
- Also, stir-frying the onions and capsicums, which also we have already talked about.
So there you have it now. All the secrets to make a perfect restaurant style kadai chicken recipe at home.
what to serve with karahi chicken recipe?
I personally love to enjoy my karahi chicken with butter naan or khameeri roti. Both are super easy to make and they taste just way too good. But if you wish to have it with chapathi or phulkas, it will taste delicious as well. It’s just that leavened flatbreads pair really well with restaurant style chicken recipes.
You could also try this spicy kadai chicken with jeera rice. Don’t forget to add a squeeze of lime to it. That’s another combination a lot of people like.
Now let’s see how to make karahi murgh or karahi chicken recipe.
how to make restaurant-style kadai chicken recipe
- Chicken - 500 g
- Salt - to taste
- Byadgi red chili powder - 1 tsp (Or Kashmiri red chili)
- Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- Ginger - 1 inch julienned
- Cumin seeds - ½ tbsp
- Coriander seeds - ½ tbsp
- Black peppercorns - ½ tbsp
- Fennel seeds / Saunf - ½ tbsp
- Whole dried red chilies - 4 (Byadgi or Kashmiri)
- Oil - 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp
- Whole dried red chilies - 2 (Byadgi or Kashmiri)
- Black cardamoms - 2
- Black peppercorns - 4
- Cloves - 4
- Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
- Bay leaves - 2
- Onion - 1 medium, finely chopped, and 1 medium diced and layers separated
- Capsicum - 1 medium - diced
- Green chilies - 2, slit lenghtwise
- Tomato puree - ½ cup
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Red chili powder - 1 tsp (Byadgi or Kashmiri)
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp
- Kadai masala - 1 tbsp
- Hot water - 1 & ½ cup or as needed
- Garam masala - ¼ tsp
- Fresh clotted cream - 2 tbsp
- Butter - 1 tbsp
- Fresh coriander - for garnish, finely chopped
- Kasoori methi - 1 tbsp, lightly roasted and crushed between palms
- A small wood coal ember
- A few drops of oil
- To make karahi chicken recipe, start off by marinating the chicken. Combine chicken, salt, red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, and julienned ginger.
- Mix well. Cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge for an hour.
- In the meanwhile, make karahi masala. Combine cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and whole dried red chilies in a pan.
- Roast them gently for 2 minutes tossing them constantly. Take them out in a plate and allow to cool.
- Grind them to a slightly coarse powder; not too coarse, not to fine.
- Let's start making the kadai gravy. Heat oil in a kadai. Add in the chopped onions and whole spices; whole dried red chilies, black cardamoms, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Saute until the onion starts to turn golden.
- Add in the marinated chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until it changes color.
- Now, add the ground spices; turmeric, red chili, coriander leaves, and the kadai masala that we just made. Saute for a few seconds.
- Add tomato puree and saute until the raw smell goes away. The oil will begin to separate too.
- Add hot water and bring stir. Bring the curry to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover the kadai. Let it simmer until the chicken is tender.
- When the chicken is done, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in another kadai or pan. Toss in the diced onions, capsicum, and green chilies. Stir-fry for a few seconds on high heat.
- Sprinkle some salt and garam masala to season the veggies. Stir.
- Add in the chicken curry to the veggies.
- Also add the cream, kasoori methi, fresh coriander, and butter. Give the chicken kadhai a final mix.
- To impart a smokey flavour to the chicken kadai, heat a small piece of wood coal on the stove until its red hot. Place it in a bowl using a pair of tongs. Place the bowl on the chicken kadai.
- Pour a few drops of oil over the coal ember and cover the kadai with a lid. Let it rest for a minute.
- Open the kadai and remove the bowl containing the coal ember.
- Chicken kadai recipe is ready. Serve hot with naan or khameeri roti. Enjoy!
kadai chicken recipe with step by step pictures below
To make kadai chicken recipe, start off by marinating the chicken. Combine 500 grams chicken, salt to taste, 1 tsp red chili powder (byadgi or kashmiri), 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, and 1-inch julienned ginger. I haven’t added salt here because I have brined the chicken. Click here to learn more about brining.
Mix well. Cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge for an hour.
In the meanwhile, let’s see how to make kadai masala recipe. Combine 1/2 tbsp each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and 4 whole dried red chilies (byadgi or kashmiri) in a pan. Roast them gently for 2 minutes tossing them constantly.
Take them out in a plate and allow to cool.
Grind them to a slightly coarse powder; not too coarse, not to fine. Karahi masala powder is ready.
Let’s start making the kadai gravy. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai. Add in one medium-sized finely chopped onion and whole spices; 2 whole dried red chilies (byadgi or kashmiri), 4 black cardamoms, 2 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, 1-inch cinnamon, and 2 bay leaves. Saute until the onion starts to turn golden.
Add in the marinated chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until it changes color.
Now, add the ground spices; 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chili (byadgi or kashmiri), 1 tsp coriander leaves, and 1 tbsp of the kadai masala that we just made. Saute for a few seconds.
Add 1/2 cup tomato puree.
Saute until the raw smell goes away. The oil will begin to separate too.
Add 1 & 1/2 cups of hot water or as needed depending on how long your chicken takes to cook. Stir. Bring the curry to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover the kadai. Let it simmer until the chicken is tender.
The chicken is cooked through and the gravy has thickened.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in another kadai or pan. Toss in 1 medium-sized diced onion, layers separated, 1 medium-sized diced capsicum, and 2 slit green chilies. Stir-fry for a few seconds on high heat.
Sprinkle some salt and 1/4 tsp garam masala to season the veggies. Stir.
Add in the chicken curry to the veggies. Also add 2 tbsp clotted cream, 1 tbsp kasoori methi, some fresh coriander. Stir.
Add 1 tbsp butter. Give the chicken kadhai a final mix. Take it off the heat.
To impart a smokey flavour to the chicken kadai, heat a small piece of wood coal on the stove until its red hot. Place it in a bowl using a pair of tongs. Place the bowl on the chicken kadai.
Pour a few drops of oil over the coal ember and cover the kadai with a lid. Let it rest for a minute.
Open the kadai and remove the bowl containing the coal ember.
Karahi chicken recipe is ready. Serve hot with naan or khameeri roti. Enjoy!