Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Karahi (Kadhai): Chicken Sautéed with Tomatoes, Chilies and Spices

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Karahi Chicken

This popular north Indian dish is named after the pot it is traditionally cooked in - the karahi or kadhai - which is a South Asian wok used in Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. This dish is easy to cook since it only requires stir frying everything in one pot. While there are many variations of chicken karahi/kadhai, it is always a spicy tomato-based curry. I adapted this particular recipe from the "Indian Menu Planner," a cookbook written by the chefs at the New Delhi Maurya Sheraton Hotel.

Here's what you'll need: (this recipe serves 3)
  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs, skinned, deboned, and cubed
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh, not canned)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 green chilies, slit (note - use Serrano peppers or jalepenos - Thai chilies are too hot!!)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp garlic paste (if using pasted garlic from a jar; if using fresh chopped garlic, use 2 tsp)
  • 1 Tbs ginger paste (if using pasted ginger from a jar; if using fresh, use 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp (1 to 1.5 if you like it less hot) red pepper powder/cayenne pepper (also known in India as chili powder; NOT the same as American chili powder)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder (a popular Indian spice mix - see note below)
  • 1.5 Tbs dried fenugreek* (also known as methi/kasuri methi leaves - see note below)
  • 1 tsp salt
1. Heat the oil in a skillet/pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté
for a minute. Add the red pepper/chili powder, coriander powder, and tomatoes.
2. Now add the ginger, cilantro, green chilies, and half the salt. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft.

Cooking colorful vegetables makes me happy :-D

3. Add the chicken and stir so it is well coated in the tomato mixture. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt. Simmer the chicken until it is tender and no longer pink - probably about 15 minutes. You may want to turn down the heat a bit. If it is drying out, add a few tablespoons of water at a time. It should not be dry, but should have a thick gravy.
4. Stir in the garam masala powder and dry fenugreek/methi leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes. It will look like this:

It shouldn't be too runny. If it is runny, cook it down a little more.

Serve with parathas, naan, or fresh rice!

*Cook's Notes*
- If you cannot find the Indian spices and don't have access to an Indian grocery store, you can order the spices online on,, or a variety of other sites.


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