Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kadai Chicken

Kadai chicken is a chicken curry from India that has great depth of flavour. This version has a tomato based sauce and features spices like garam masala, which gives flavourful heat, and coriander seeds and bay leaves which provide a fresh earthiness. The dish is a little hot, but you can reduce the amount of chilli and you'll still have a tasty meal. 

- By the way, a kadai is a type of cooking vessel similar to a wok. This is what this dish is traditionally cooked in. I use a cast-iron wok and it's ideal, however, any wok or other suitable cooking pot would suffice.

Because this is such a simple meal to throw together it has become my boyfriend's signature dish. My man-thing is not much of a cook, he's adept at making Indian-style omelettes, is fantastic at giving me recipe ideas and cooking tips that he's picked up from his mum and granny, but it's not often that he is actually hands-on in the kitchen. I'm grateful that there are tasty simple dishes like this that inspire him to get cooking. I think it's a great dish for other home cooks who enjoy creating tasty dinners, but hate all the fuss. Usually it's served with chapati, but other breads or rice are fine accompaniments too.


3 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 whole red chillies (use less or de-seed them if you don't like it hot. Don't say I didn't warn you!)
4 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced. When they're not in season, I just use a 400g tin of tomatoes instead.
1 kg chicken pieces. It's economical just to cut up a whole chicken, but I quite like boneless chicken so sometimes I'll just use 600g of breast or thigh. It's all good.
1 teaspoon red chilli powder (reduce or even omit this if you want it mild)
4 teaspoons garam masala
coriander leaves for garnish


Grind the coriander seeds and whole red chillies into a coarse powder.
Heat the oil in the kadai.
Add the bay leaves, cook for a minute then add the onions and cook them until they are lightly golden brown.
Add ginger and garlic. Cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes.
Throw in the coarse powder that you created earlier. Stir well.
Next in go the tomatoes, keep stirring and cooking until they are well cooked.
Add the chicken and chilli powder. Mix well.
Cover the kadai, cook until the chicken is tender.
Sprinkle on the garam masla, give it a stir.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Serves 4 hungry folk

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