Main Course

Restaurant Style Kadhai Chicken

Comments are Disabled This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. #sponsoredpost.
Kadhai Chicken or kadhai murgh 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 kadai chicken recipe apart from the other chicken curries is the fact that it has stir-fried diced onions and capsicum. And I can’t emphasise enough on “stir-fried”. Many home cooks 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.

For the Kadai Masala Powder
½ tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp black peppercorns
½ tbsp fennel seeds
4 whole dried red chilies – Byadgi or Kashmiri

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.

Serves 4

For Marinating the Chicken
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

For the Kadai Gravy
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

For the Smokiness
A small wood coal ember
A few drops of oil


  1. To make karahi chicken recipe, start off by marinating the chicken. Combine chicken, salt, red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, and julienned ginger.
  2. Mix well. Cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge for an hour.
  3. In the meanwhile, make karahi masala. Combine cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and whole dried red chilies in a pan.
  4. Roast them gently for 2 minutes tossing them constantly. Take them out in a plate and allow to cool.
  5. Grind them to a slightly coarse powder; not too coarse, not to fine.
  6. 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.
  7. Add in the marinated chicken and saute for 3-4 minutes on medium heat until it changes color.
  8. Now, add the ground spices; turmeric, red chili, coriander leaves, and the kadai masala that we just made. Saute for a few seconds.
  9. Add tomato puree and saute until the raw smell goes away. The oil will begin to separate too.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Sprinkle some salt and garam masala to season the veggies. Stir.
  13. Add in the chicken curry to the veggies.
  14. Also add the cream, kasoori methi, fresh coriander, and butter. Give the chicken kadhai a final mix.
  15. 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.
  16. Pour a few drops of oil over the coal ember and cover the kadai with a lid. Let it rest for a minute.
  17. Open the kadai and remove the bowl containing the coal ember.
  18. Chicken kadai recipe is ready. Serve hot with naan or jeera rice.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thefitdotme

Comments are closed.