Wok-fried Kadai Chicken

October 23, 2008


I staggered home after the three-course French Bistro meal and drink at the Dirty Martini.

A scene from Outbreak, the virus blockbuster, greeted me. Large sheets of green PVC everywhere. Rooms sealed with thick masking tape with strategic openings to allow entrance and departure.

Our building work had commenced. I was going to live in my own horror production for the next two weeks.

On the plus side I found two HUGE trouts in our freezer.  The wonderful project manager brought them from his fly fishing trip. But these had to be safely frozen until I found a friendly fishmonger to clean them for me.

And until the kitchen had been restored to its original splendor. Now it was a particular danger zone with our computer equipment all over the dining table and worktop. Dinner was going to be an exercise in new spatial orientation.

But quick Indian cooking is always alive and kicking. I turned to a box of Khanum goodies I got sent to trial. It had an excellent minced ginger and garlic paste, a saviour of sorts if you get a potent-enough substitute for the real thing. I set to work on Kadai Chicken (pronounced Ker-Hai), a blindingly simple stir fry sauteed chicken.

So simple in fact that I felt guilty and made my own curry powder for it. I normally never recommend using ready blended curry powder. But some messy situations call for alternative action.
PS = Just don’t use chicken breasts. That’s one compromise too far.

Feeds 2:

  • 400gm chicken thigh, skinless and boneless
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil

Chop the onion and tomatoes into little pieces and cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks.

In a wok, bring the oil to heat over a high flame. When it starts sizzling, throw in the chopped onion and stir on a high heat for two minutes until it turns soft and golden brown.

In the meantime, powder the whole cumin, coriander and chilli in a small coffee grinder to make your own curry powder. Or just use half tablespoons of ready powders instead.

Now add in the ginger and garlic paste and stir for another minute. Then mix in the spice powders and fry for a minute quickly adding the chopped tomatoes before they start sticking to the bottom of the wok.

Keep stirring for another two minutes until they disintegrate and then stir in the chicken. Let the chicken cook, stirring from time to time for 15 minutes. Then lower the flame, mix in the garam masala and cover for another two minutes to finish off and add salt.

Sprinkle with the fresh coriander and eat with some toasted wholemeal pitta bread.


16 Responses to “Wok-fried Kadai Chicken”

  1. Nobby Says:

    February 14th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    This dish is so easy to make and the flavours are superb (though I have been using fresh ginger and garlic powder). I have been experimenting with simple Indian cooking for some time and am so glad I came across you’re website. lots of exciting new things to try..Yum Yum

  2. Mallika Says:

    September 1st, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Hi there, sometimes chicken is pumped with water so when you cook it the water releases into the curry and makes it go all runny. If this happens, whack up the flame and stir until the excess water evaporates. All best x

  3. Praise Says:

    July 12th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Such a delicious dish, but I’m not sure exactly what I did wrong, but the kadai chicken was more of a kadai chicken curry. I had to triple the recipe for my family, but I followed all the instructions carefully.
    Any ideas??


  4. Zeke Says:

    November 9th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I’m a single dude and just bought my first house. Now that I have a full kitchen, I’ve started to cook _real_ food for the first time in my life and this blog has been the source of some of my favorite recipes. This chicken was nice and spicy and the lady friends I had over tonight loved it.

    Thanks for putting so much time, energy, and love into your blog, Mallika.

  5. Sia Says:

    October 30th, 2008 at 2:57 am

    belated Diwali wishes to u and ur lloved ones Mallika.

  6. Ritika Says:

    October 30th, 2008 at 12:55 am

    It’s been .. 🙁 why ain’t u writing?

  7. Eeshani Says:

    October 25th, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Couldn’t agree more on chicken breasts– disgustingly dry and tasteless. Poor suckers who’re willing to shell out top dollar (pound) for them. The recipe, on the other hand, looks great. Thanks!

  8. Christine Says:

    October 25th, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Hi mallika, Your recipe looks great. quick,simple,delicious.

  9. Christine Says:

    October 25th, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Hi Mallika, Your receipe looks great.quick,simple,delicious.

  10. Mallika Says:

    October 25th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for the wishes.

    Chanda the answer to your query is simple – boneless chicken and a high heat. It’ll all depend on the quality of the chicken of course, but the stuff I buy here in London is pretty standardised quality.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Chanda Says:

    October 24th, 2008 at 1:09 pm


    Been following your blog for a while now, delurking today 🙂 First of all – CONGRATULATIONS.

    How do you manage to cook chicken in just 15 minutes? It takes me atleast 45 minutes to get it well cooked inspite of marinading it for 2 hours! Advice??

  12. Christie@fig&cherry Says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Delightful recipe and a lovely photo too! Mallika you’ve done it again 🙂

    ps. Have not had a chance to make those parathas yet, but when i do I’ll update you asap! x

  13. Srivalli Says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Looks great ..Malika!

  14. Divya Vikram Says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Nice n spicy looking chicken..will try this sometime.

  15. Meeta Says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    This looks simple and so comfy. Renovating sucks but then if it means a snazzy new kitchen then yes I can understand. Nice quickie Malika!

  16. Bharti Says:

    October 23rd, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    I like this dry version…will give it a shot with paneer.

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