by Shumaila

I am an Indian by origin and though I have travelled quite a bit, India is where my heart is. The same goes for my husband, and that is clearly seen in his love for Indian food. Though I am more experimental in food, he is more conservative, with his choices mainly harbouring around Indian food. Pre-marriage, the only cooking I ever did was Italian and continental. So, post marriage I had no clue in the kitchen when it came to Indian food- who needs to enter a kitchen when mom and the oh so plenty restaurants in India served that purpose. Once married and moving to a place where calling the local dhaba for dal makhani and naan was no longer an option, I had to consider the option of cooking Indian. Thus, started the frantic calls to mom asking for recipes for the most basic Indian cuisine and insisting on the minutest details- coz really when it came to Indian I had absolutely no idea! Now 4 months down, Bambi has learnt to walk (translated: I have learnt to cook Indian)! I still can’t cook as good as my mom- she is an awesome cook but yes, I am not that bad either.

So yesterday, my husband, clearly showing more confidence in my culinary skills (woohoo!) asked me very sweetly to make Kadhai chicken. Personally, I haven’t been a big fan of kadhai chicken, always ordering butter chicken in a restaurant over it. But, since my DH has very few demands, I thought it was only fair to fulfill his wish. So I embarked on the search for the perfect recipe. I looked at a few sites, refrained from calling my mom (she needs to know I think of her not only when I need a recipe) and finally combined a few recipes set out at my first attempt at Kadhai Chicken.

I already had marinated chicken in the freezer. (Following my mom’s suggestion -she is my go-to culinary guru- I always marinate the chicken as soon as I get it from the market. That ways I don’t have to wait for it to defrost again to marinate when I do decide to cook the chicken. Time saver!) With all the ingredients in the pantry I set out to cook the Kadhai chicken and boy was I happy with the results. DH loooooved it ( ear to ear grin!) and well, I, I’m changing my views on this dish.


For the marinade

1 Boneless chicken (600 gms)

1 1/2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp cayenne pepper (red chilli powder will also do)

2 tsp oil

Juice of a lemon

Salt to taste

Make a mix of the above ingredients. Make slits in the chicken with a knife and thoroughly coat it with the marinade mixture. Keep for 4-6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.


2 tbsp coriander seeds, lightly roasted and crushed (I grind it in the dry mixer)

2 dry red chillies

3 tbsp vegetable oil

3 large onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp chicken masala (you can find it in any Indian store)

1 tsp garam masala ( available at Indian stores)

1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

3 green chillies, slit and deseeded

4 tomatoes pureed

6 tbsp fresh corriander (cilantro) finely chopped

3 tbsp dry kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), crushed

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste


In a kadhai (wok), heat the oil. Fry the crushed coriander seeds and dry red chillies for a few seconds. Add the chopped onions. Fry till light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste. Continue frying the onions till golden brown.

Add the spices- coriander powder, chicken masala powder, red chilli powder and the nutmeg.

Cut the chicken into small pieces and add it to the wok. Add the slit green chillies. Stir fry for about 8 minutes, till the chicken is golden brown.

Add the tomato puree and salt.

Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or till the chicken is tender.

Increase heat, stir till gravy is thick and oil separates.

Sprinkle crushed dry fenugreek leaves. Mix well.

Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.