This is probably the simplest chicken curry dish you can make but the flavours are amazing. Kadai chicken originates from North India (the author of this blog is not North Indian and hails from Fiji. Fiji is still a fair way away from India so making this recipe was quite an experience). The dish is best served with naan bread or roti however, you can also serve it with basmati rice.
Kadai itself is actually the Indian word for a thick bottomed wok. For Sydney siders, you can pick one up from Udaya Spices or use Google to find a shop closest to you.
Recipe – serves 2
- 4 red dried chillies (add more if you’re looking to bump up the spice-o-meter)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns (do not add too much of this – it will make the dish taste weird)
- 2~3 coriander seeds
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 500g boneless chicken thigh fillets
- 2~3 green chillies slit and bruised slightly (more if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience later)
- 1 tomato (medium to large) finely chopped
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 1~1.5tbsp garlic paste (I just use the store bought one)
- 20 cashew nuts soaked in lukewarm water for about an hour. Drain water then crush/grind cashews until you get a thick paste – crush as fine as possible
- 0.5tsp turmeric powder
- 3~4tbsp canola oil (you can use olive oil but this may change the taste slightly)
- salt according to taste
- chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Stage 1 – Spice Mix
Just like Breaking Bad, you have to cook the spices to get the end product. Unlike Breaking Bad, you’re not likely to have people trying to kill you to get to your product.
Throw all the spices into a saucepan on low heat for five minutes or more. You will know its good to go when the spices begin to impart aromas making your house smell like a spice shop.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the spices cool down then grind all the spices together using a coffee grinder or a mortar a pestle (if you’re the sort who likes to workout). Keep the mixture somewhere safe and within reach. Do not let your pets mistake this for pet food and get to this stuff or they will explode.
Stage 2 – Cooking
Bring out the kadai (if its new, you may need to wash and dry it carefully) and using a medium-high heat, add about 1tbsp oil and all the garlic paste, stirring the contents until the paste browns slightly then add the chicken.Cook the chicken halfway through then remove from heat and set aside.
Wash the kadai and dry thoroughly then return to heat, adding the remaining oil and once hot, add the green chilies then let it release some of the flavours into the oil.
Add the onions and saute till slightly browned then add the spice powder mixture, tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder. Ensure you mix all the ingredients well until the tomatoes are mixed thoroughly with the onions (you will know this when the tomatoes are mashed up well with the onions)
Let the mixture evaporate – you will know this has happened when the mixture starts looking thick, sluggish and the oil separates slightly from the mixture. At this point you may wish to add around 150ml water to prevent the mixture from sticking at the base of the kadai
Add the cashew paste and return the chicken to the kadai. Mix thoroughly throughout the kadai to ensure all the chicken pieces are coated with the mixture (note: I used a fork to scoop out the chicken pieces to ensure none of the liquid which had drained from the chicken went back into the kadai because the liquid looked a little icky)
Cover the kadai and let the chicken cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once you’re sure the chicken is cooked through (are you a fan of salmonella?), switch off the heat and garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.
Take pictures which show your presentation skills and post to social media sites then serve (or just eat it yourself).