Karahi Murgh. Kadhai Chicken. One of the very popular Chicken Curry preparations in India. This flavorful, slow-cooked chicken dish boasts of freshly ground masalas.
Karahi. The word Karahi or Kadhai is used for a heavy-bottomed and deep wok-shaped dish used in India and many parts of Asia.
We have grown up eating our vegetables, stir-fries and curries usually made in a Karahi. The stirring and mixing here are so much easier than in a flat bottomed pan. I have memories of seeing our kitchen full of woks and karahis of all sizes back in India.
Here in the United States, I love using my heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven for such curry dishes.
Traditionally, a Karahi Chicken dish would be made using whole cut chicken bone-in for all that flavour. I love using boneless chicken thighs as a good alternative for my daughters. The cooking time in the latter would definitely reduce.
I did not grow up in a meat-eating family. To be honest, I haven’t watched anyone cook a chicken curry until I actually grew up. I started to enjoy chicken curries and kebabs at our friends’ homes and restaurants when dining out with friends when we were young.
I have slowly started to cook chicken curries at home. Over time, we now love our home-cooked curries way better than the ones we order from outside. At home, we can control the heat, the oil and of course cook the meat well to our liking. I am sure most of you will agree with me on that.
I would like to give a quick tip here to let the chicken cook it its natural juice(s) for a while and add water only if required to adjust the consistency towards the end.
My version includes freshly roasted and coarsely ground whole spices. Spices such as whole coriander and fenugreek with a hint of fennel or saunf work beautifully here.
I do not marinate the chicken for this recipe so it is a very straightforward recipe.
The gorgeous colour you see here is a result of these spices. Some good quality red chilli and slow cooking are essential to a good Karahi Chicken.
From whatever little I have learnt over the years, it is advisable to let the cooked curry rest for 30-60 minutes and serve thereafter.
We love our Karahi Chicken this way better than any restaurant version; do give this a try and let me know how it turned out for you. I promise that you will love it with hot ghee rotis and/or a well-made cumin flavoured rice.
- 2 lb Chicken Skinless, Bone-in
- 2 Large Red Onions
- 4 Large Red Tomatoes
- 2 tbso Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Fennel Seeds
- 3-4 Dried,Whole Red Chillies
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1 cup Chopped Coriander Leaves
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi Powder
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- ¼ cup Mustard Oil
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- Salt to taste
- Clean and keep cut chicken ready. I used 2lb bone-in chicken thighs (medium cut) and drumsticks.
- Lightly roast a mix of 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds and 3/4 whole red chillies (take more if you want it spicier) on low flame. Do not brown; you only need to remove any moisture and be able to smell a faint aroma. Let cool and coarsely grind this mixture and keep aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat 1/4 C mustard oil. Add finely chopped 2 large red onions. Sauté them till light golden brown. To this add 2 tbsp coarsely pounded ginger and garlic paste. Sauté this for another 2-3 minutes.
- Now add the dry spice mix and sauté for a couple of mins on medium flame so that the rawness of the mixture goes away.
- To this now add coarsely ground 4 large ripe, red tomatoes and cook for 7-9 minutes till the mixture is cooked well. You can add 1-2 tsp of Kashmiri red chilli powder at this stage.
- Mix in a handful of chopped coriander leaves and transfer the chicken. Keep stirring on medium to high flame for 5 minutes, after which reduce the flame to low, cover and let this simmer. I slow-cooked in my Dutch Oven for about 45 minutes after closing the lid.
- At half time, open the lid, add a cup of water if needed to adjust the consistency, mix in 1 tbsp Kasuri methi and 1/2 tsp good quality garam masala, add salt to taste, give it a good stir and close the lid again.
- Towards the end, mix in 1 tbsp ghee and switch off the flame. Let this sit for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves when you’re ready to serve with hot bread of your choice and/ or jeera rice.