Chicken Karahi also called Kadai Chicken is a spicy and flavorful dish popular in Pakistan and India. It is a traditional tomato-based chicken curry made with fresh ginger, garlic, and aromatic spice powders. The recipe in this post shows you how to make a Chicken Karahi at home with detailed step-by-step written and video instructions. And also called Kadai chicken is typically served as a side dish for lunch and dinner, and pairs great with rice dishes such as white rice, basmati rice, naan, or roti.
What is Chicken Karahi?
Chicken Karahi or Kadai chicken is an authentic spicy side dish from Pakistan and the Northern part of India. Karahi or Kadai is nothing but a deep bottom cooking vessel in the Hindi language. It is also got other names like korai, kadhai, cheena chatti to name a few. So the dish prepared in that particular vessel is called by that name by itself.
Not only the dish is prepared with chicken but also with mutton/lamb, paneer and vegetables. It is traditionally prepared with fresh tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, garlic, and aromatic spice powders. It is one of the famous restaurant favorites that are popular across the globe for its unique rich taste and flavor.
While the authentic Pakistani chicken karahi is prepared with fresh tomatoes as a base, the Indian version has onions and bell peppers in the recipe list. In fact, both versions are unique in their taste and flavor. And one such authentic dish from Goa is Chicken Vindaloo and is definitely worth trying these delicious dishes at home to enjoy a flavorsome meal.
The ingredients that you will need to prepare this Pakistani Chicken Kadai are pretty basic. In fact, some of the ingredients are common in most households.
- Chili, Turmeric, and Coriander Powder - Gives a nice vibrant red color to your curries. You could also use Kashmiri red chili powder instead of a normal one to achieve a glowing restaurant-style look.
- Cumin and Garam Masala Powder - Delivers a rich aroma, authentic flavor, and taste to your dish
- Chicken - Bone-in curry size chicken pieces give more flavor to this curry. But if you can also use boneless chicken pieces that give a similar taste
- Tomatoes - Fresh tomatoes work well for this dish but you can also use canned tomato puree as well. But if you want to enjoy the authentic flavors then I suggest sticking with fresh ones
- Ginger and Garlic - These both are the main ingredients that give a whole lot of flavor to this chicken karahi. Adding chopped ginger and garlic gives a rich aroma than the paste form. So, yeah this recipe involves some chopping 🙂
- Onion - Even though the authentic dish does not have onions in the recipe list, I have added some to spruce up the flavor. It is totally optional and you can either use or skip it. But if you want to try the restaurant-style version of Chicken Karahi or Kadai then you can use onions and bell peppers to the dish
- Oil - I have used canola oil here, but you can also use ghee or cooking oil of your choice.
- Coriander leaves and Ginger - Garnish with the curry with cilantro/coriander leaves and some match stick size cut ginger gives a nice appetizing look to your dish
How to make Chicken Karahi?
The recipe that I have shared here is a Pakistani-style Chicken Karahi that you may find in most restaurants. And the serves up to 4 people. So let us see how to make this Kadai chicken easily at home with few simple steps. And the video shared below shows you the clear step-by-step instructions that even beginners can make from scratch.
First, to make this curry, Pour oil and add in the chicken pieces. Here we have to be a little generous with oil to stir fry the chicken until it turns white.
Once they are white, add the chopped ginger, garlic, and salt. Saute them well until the raw aroma leaves from the chicken. Now close the pan with the lid and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
After the time passed, open the lid and add onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and the spice powder mentioned in the recipe card. Give everything a good mix and close the pan again and cook for 10 minutes.
You may feel the fresh aroma of the spices and chicken by this time. Open the lid and give the curry a good mix.
At this stage, simmer the heat and cook the chicken gravy until it turns thick dark red-brown in color. Now garnish the curry with coriander leaves and ginger pieces. And now it is ready for you to taste and enjoy.
How to make Chicken Karahi in instant pot?
Making Chicken karahi or Kadai chicken is super simple and of course, it delivers an authentic taste same as the one with skillet/pan.
To make the curry, switch on the instant pot in saute mode and pour in the oil.
Add in the chicken pieces and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Now include the ginger, garlic, and salt and mix everything well. Close the pot with a glass lid and cook for 2 minutes.
This helps the ginger garlic to infuse its flavor into the chicken pieces. After that open the lid and add all the spice powders, onion, tomatoes and give a good mix.
Now seal the instant pot with its lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for five minutes. Then open the lid and switch again the Instant pot to saute mode and cook for 5 minutes until the gravy thickness.
Finally garnish with coriander leaves, and ginger pieces. Enjoy this authentic Kadai chicken with naan, jeera rice, and raita.
Variations in Chicken Karahi
Even though the recipe shared here is a Pakistani chicken karahi, you can always customize it into many variations as per your taste preference.
Usually, in the traditional recipe, people prepare the curry with only a tomato base. But you can also use onions if you would like to add some extra flavor to the curry.
The Lahori-style karahi typically has yogurt in their chicken curry to get some extra saucy flavor. Here I have used only tomatoes to achieve the saucy consistency.
You could also use diced bell peppers, and onions to achieve an Indian Restaurant Style Kadai/karahi Chicken. And you can also alter the recipe with lamb, egg, paneer to get a different unique flavor and taste.
- Frying the chicken in oil for intial few minutes along with good amount of ginger garlic gives a rich flavor and taste
- Adding fresh tomatoes gives an authentic gravy compared to one that we find in cans. So I suggest you follow the same
- Simmering the chicken gravy for final few minutes takes the karahi to next level. So I recommend sticking with it to achieve rich flavor and taste
This Pakistani restaurant-style Karahi tastes absolutely delicious when served immediately. But you can also store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
You could also find similar recipes below. Visit Non-Veg Curry recipes for more.
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Chicken Curry
- Butter Chicken
- Chicken Korma
- Chicken Chettinad
- Chicken Fry
- Chicken Ghee Roast
- Chicken Sukka
- Chicken Chinthamani
Looking for more chicken dishes to prepare for a party or next meal? Then you may like this collection of Chicken Dry and Semi Gravy Recipes to enjoy with your family and friends.
Chicken Karahi or Kadai Video
I have also shared a detailed video of this Pakistani Chicken Karahi that I hope will help you to make a finger-licking curry easily at home. For a quick reference, you could refer to this chicken Karahi/Kadai recipe in story format.
Chicken Karahi (Kadai Chicken)
- 2 lb Chicken, cut into medium size pieces
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 3 Tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup Ginger, chopped
- ¼ cup Garlic, chopped
- 1½ tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1½ tsp Garam Masala
- 1½ tsp Cumin Powder
- Salt, as needed
- 6 Green Chili
- ¼ cup Oil
- 1 tsp Ginger, cut into match stick size
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves
To Prepare Chicken Karahi or Chicken Kadai
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add the chicken pieces and saute until it turns white in color
- Add ginger, garlic, salt, and saute until it turns aromatic
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes
- Open the lid and add onion, green chilies, tomatoes, and give a good mix
- Add in the chili, coriander, garam masala, cumin, turmeric powder, and mix everything well
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes
- Open the lid and simmer the chicken mixture for 5 to 7 minutes or until it turns nice dark red in color
- Finally, garnish the chicken karahi with coriander leaves and ginger slices. And now the chicken karahi is ready for you to taste and enjoy
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Stir-frying the chicken for the first few minutes in the oil gives a nice flavor and taste to the Karahi Chicken and I recommend sticking with it to achieve the same
- Adding fresh tomatoes gives an authentic gravy compared to one that we find in cans. And you can also use tomato puree which gives the similar result
- Simmering the chicken gravy for the final few minutes takes the karahi to next level. So I recommend sticking with it to achieve rich flavor and taste
- This Pakistani style chicken karahi can be easily prepared in a pan or instant pot and tastes great with naan, roti/chapati, or rice
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Karahi chicken or Kadai chicken is one of the authentic dishes of India and Pakistan. It is basically a tomato-based gravy prepared with chicken, fresh ginger, garlic, and aromatic spices. Karahi is nothing but a deep cooking pot used in most Indian and Pakistani cooking. So the dish prepared with the vessel is usually called by that name itself. It is usually served as a side dish for naan, rice, or roti.
Yes, you can make chicken with onions. Even though the traditional karahi chicken does not have onions in the recipe list, you can add it to achieve a restaurant-style version of it.
Yes, you can use yogurt to make this curry which gives a nice thick gravy consistency to the dish.
This chicken karahi stays fresh for a day at room temperature and also stays good in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in a closed air-tight container.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.