Kadai or Karahi is a round or flat bottomed deep pan similar to a wok and lends its name to this dish. Its traditionally made with cast iron and is very heavy but these days you get the lighter non stick varieties too. This is a North Indian dish and the addition of bell pepper to this dish gives it a very distinct taste. The idea for this curry came from one of the many Indian cookery books that we have, called “Prashad, cooking with Indian Masters”. The book has some very good recipes and Kadai chicken is one of them. Though the idea for the recipe is from this book, it has a few of my own modifications too.
- Chicken - 1 whole
- Marinade for chicken:-
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
- Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
- Salt - 1 tsp
- For the curry:-
- Oil/ghee - 3 tbsp
- Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
- Green cardamom, whole - 2
- Cloves - 5
- Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
- Red chillies - 3, broken into pieces
- Green chillies - 2, chopped
- Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
- Onions - 3, large, finely chopped
- Tomatoes - 3, finely chopped
- Bell pepper (capsicum) - 1, finely chopped
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
- Red chilly powder - 1 to 1 1/2 tsp (or depending on your taste)
- Coriander powder - 1 tsp
- Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - 1 tsp
- Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro - for garnish
Clean chicken and cut into bit size pieces. Marinate chicken in turmeric powder, chilly powder, garam masala powder and salt. Mix well and set aside in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or you can do it overnight too.
Finely chop onions, green chillies, tomatoes and bell pepper, set aside.
Pound coriander seeds using a mortar and pestle or you use the coffee grinder to powder it or use store bought coriander powder.
Heat oil/ghee in a flat bottomed pan. Put in the cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamom (whole). When fragrant, add the cumin seeds and after they splutter, put in the red chillies, finely chopped green chillies and ginger garlic paste. Fry till they turn light brown and then add the finely chopped onions. Mix well and fry till onions turn golden brown.
Put in the chopped tomatoes and bell pepper and mix well. Fry till tomatoes are soft and pulpy. At this point, if you have a hand blender, use it to blend all the ingredients in the pan.
When the tomatoes and bell pepper are soft and pulpy, add turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and kasuri methi and mix well. Fry for another 5 minutes or so till the raw smell of kasuri methi disappears.
Put in the marinated chicken pieces and mix well. Fry on medium flame till the pieces are well coated with the 'masala'. Put in a glass of water and salt to taste, mix well, cover and cook till chicken is fully cooked.
When almost done, add a tsp of garam masala powder and mix well.
Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and ginger juliennes.
Serve hot with rice, rotis, naans, etc.
- Using the hand blender step is optional. I do it because it gives the curry a uniformly thick consistency.
- You can use Kashmiri red chilly powder to get a richer red color. You may have to increase the quantity that you put in, as Kashmiri chillies are milder than the regular red ones.
- I pounded coriander seeds to make the powder and using it fresh than store bought, gives the curry a different flavor altogether.
- Any colored bell pepper can be used, the choice is totally upto you. I’ve used different colored ones at each time I prepared this curry.
- Remember to go easy on the salt when you add it to the curry,as you would have added some salt for the marination too.