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Chicken Karahi in a black cast Iron Wok garnished with thinly sliced jalapenos and ginger juliennes. There are some vine tomatoes on the side and a white plate of paratha with lemon slices on the other side.

Chicken Karahi | Kadai Chicken recipe

  • Author: Yamini
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


An easy and delicious karahi chicken recipe or chicken Kadai with a rich tomato base and a touch of ginger. Serve it with naan, roti, or rice and sliced onions for a delicious meal.


  • 2.5 tablespoon oil ( any oil with a high smoke point like canola, coconut, avocado oils)
  • 2.2 lb chicken bone-in thighs cut into medium size pieces for curry (or bone-in whole cut-up chicken of weight)
  • 1.5 lbs tomatoes ( I used 5 Vine tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaves ( Optional )
  • 1 inch Ginger cut into Julienne
  • 1 to 2 green chili peppers thinly sliced (Serrano or Jalapeno or any similar chili peppers)
  • 3 tbsp Plain Yogurt whisked smooth
  • Cilantro for garnish

Ground Spices

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • Salt to taste ( it might take around 2.5 to 3 teaspoons of salt, depending on the type of tomatoes and salt you use)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder ( you can use Kashmiri chili powder if you like mild spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (crush it between your palms before you use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

Optional Ingredients for Chicken Kadai version of this recipe

  • One small onion cut into cubes (around 3/4 to 1 cup)
  • one small green bell pepper cut into cubes (around 3/4 to 1 cup)




Note: I strongly suggest keeping all the ingredients ready before you start cooking Karahi Chicken even though that is not what I usually do for other dishes. Since we are cooking on high heat, if we multi-task while making the curry, it might not end well. 

  • Blanching tomatoes: Heat water in a vessel that is big enough to fit 5 whole tomatoes. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, switch off the stove and place the 5 tomatoes in the water and leave it COVERED for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the tomatoes from the water, peel the skin and dice them into small pieces and keep them ready to use in the curry.
  • Measure out all the spices onto a plate and keep them ready. (If you want to reduce the spice level, start by adding only half of the red chili powder and black pepper powder and add as per your taste later)
  • Whisk the plain yogurt in a bowl and keep it ready.
  • Slit the green chili pepper into thin strips ( deseed them and slit) and cut the ginger into thin julienne strips.
  • If you are making the Indian version of this dish which is the Chicken Kadai recipe, then cut one small onion and one small green bell pepper into cubes.

Making of Chicken Karahi

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed karahi or wok or similar kind of flat bottomed wide opening pot on stove-top and add oil.
    • Pro tip: Always heat your wok really well before adding any oil to avoid sticking.
    • Optional step for Chicken Kadai recipe: Add a little oil in the hot wok, just enough to saute Onion and Bell pepper cubes, and saute the onion and green bell pepper cubes for around 2 to 3 mins on high, just until they start softening a little but still have a crunch to them. Now remove them onto a plate or bowl and set them aside to add to the dish at the end.
  • When the oil is hot, add turmeric powder and curry leaves and let them sizzle( be careful and step back when you add curry leaves as they splatter oil ).
  • Now add 1.5 teaspoons of salt to the oil and then add the chicken pieces right away and stir well. Saute the chicken pieces in the oil on high heat, without the lid for 4 to 5 minutes until they change color. Stir in between to avoid sticking and burning. The chicken will release water during this process and by cooking on high heat, we are trying to evaporate that water while sauteeing the chicken.
  • After 5 minutes of adding the chicken, when the chicken pieces start to look a little whitish in color, add ginger garlic paste and stir well. 
  • After 2 mins, add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili powder, and black pepper powder and stir well.
  • After a minute of sauteing the spices with the chicken, add the blanched, peeled, and diced tomatoes and mix them well with the chicken. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat while stirring in between. Tomatoes will release a lot of water while getting cooked. 
  • Now open the lid, mix well, slightly increase the flame if required, and cook without the lid to evaporate all the water that is released from the tomatoes to get the curry to our desired consistency.
  • Check the taste and add a little more salt at this point as needed (Since we are using a lot of tomatoes, salt usage might also increase when compared to other curries).
  • After few more minutes, reduce the heat to medium and add the whisked yogurt and mix well. ( You can also temper the yogurt by mixing little gravy from the curry in the yogurt before adding the yogurt into the curry, this will avoid any curdling problems.)
  • When the chicken is almost done and gravy is close to your desired consistency, crush the Kasuri methi between your palms, add it to the curry and stir well.
  • Cook down while stirring in between until the oil comes out, chicken pieces are cooked to perfection and gravy is as per your desired consistency. Check the taste and adjust spices accordingly. Authentically, karahi chicken has slightly thicker gravy. But we like it with lots of gravy. You can keep it however you want.
  • Now in the last 2 minutes, add the thinly sliced green chili peppers, ginger juliennes, and cilantro on the top, stir lightly and cover for 2 minutes. If you are using the optional cubed onions and bell pepper then also add the sauteed onion and bell pepper cubes now in this step.
  • Chicken Karahi is ready to serve. Traditionally it is served with any flat-bread like naan, paratha, roti e.t.c. or basmati rice, simple pulao e.t.c


  • Authentically, halved fresh tomatoes are added to the chicken and cooked with the lid on for few moments after which the skin is peeled and tomatoes are smushed into the gravy. However, it might be a challenge to do that in time and then evaporate all the water without overcooking the chicken. Hence I am using this method of blanching, peeling, and dicing tomatoes before starting the curry, to keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Bone-in chicken gives the best taste to this dish, however, you can also use the boneless chicken. Just adjust the cooking times accordingly.
  • Tomatoes are the star ingredient in this dish, so for best taste, use good quality fresh tomatoes which are not raw and not too ripe.
  • Instead of blanching, peeling, and dicing, you can also just puree the fresh tomatoes and add in the curry. Blanching, peeling, and dicing will give a smooth gravy and richer taste with occasional tomato pieces to bite on which are very yummy.
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Indian

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