Chicken Karahi /Kadai (Spicy Chicken Thigh Curry)

Chicken karahi, or kadai chicken, is a popular and traditional North Indian and Pakistani dish which can be served with naan, roti, or rice.

This is a one-pot recipe which is traditionally cooked in a large cast-iron pan, similar to a wok, and creates multiple servings.

We will show how anyone can cook this at home with a simple saucepan and how you can replicate the same restaurant-quality flavors.

What Is Chicken Karahi?

Chicken karahi, or kadai chicken, is a famous restaurant-style dish that is popular in North Indian and Pakistani cuisine.

There are variations of this chicken karahi curry recipe, but it mainly consists of spicy chicken thighs in a rich tomato base with green bell peppers, extra ginger, and cilantro.

The name chicken karahi, or kadai chicken, is basically named after the way it’s traditionally and authentically cooked – in a large heavy cast-iron pan in the open fire which is similar to a wok.

Imagine a stir-fry but with a Punjabi twist, this recipe is popular in restaurants and the streets, and also wedding parties and functions.

Despite its traditional connections, this is actually a fantastic recipe if you want to spicy chicken at home and meal prep it for work because the leftovers taste amazing.

There are multiple ways to make this recipe at home without a cast-iron pan or wok because you can use a regular saucepan if that’s all you have or use an instant pot which is an easier method.

In this recipe post, we demonstrate how you can cook chicken karahi in a regular saucepan which means anyone can follow these instructions.

Recipe Ingredients

Chicken Thighs: Use boneless chicken thighs for this recipe which is one of the reasons why this dish is full of flavor.

Garlic & Ginger: Extra garlic and ginger is important for this recipe, so you may need to use more than your regular serving. Use fresh garlic and ginger for best results, or you can substitute it with garlic and ginger paste.

Spice Mix: The spices required are garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, kashmiri red chili powder, and ground turmeric. You can use regular red chili if you want.

Chopped Tomatoes: You can use chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes to make the tomato base.

Recipe Tips

  • To speed up time, you can pre-cook the chicken thighs in the air fryer or oven, before you add them to the saucepan or wok.
  • If you can, use a wok on high heat for the best results, but it’s totally fine to use a regular saucepan.
  • This recipe is great for meal prep which lasts for 3 to 4 days. Keep this stored in a meal prep container and reheat it which you can serve with fresh rice, roti, or naan.

Recipe FAQ

Can You Reheat Chicken Karahi?

Yes, you can reheat chicken karahi in the microwave or stove. Ensure it’s piping hot throughout.

How Long Does Chicken Karahi Last?

You can store leftover chicken karahi in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze up to 3 months.

How Many Calories In Chicken Karahi Recipe?

Each serving is around 350 calories (kcal) which is only the chicken thigh curry. If you want to keep this as low-calorie meal, a flatbread like roti would be ideal to serve it with.

Is This Recipe Good For Meal Prep?

Yes, this spicy chicken curry is amazing for meal prep because it tastes better the next day.

What Is A Kadai?

Kadai is similar to a wok, which is a deep cooking pot, traditionally made of cast iron and cooked on an open fire. It’s ideal for deep-frying certain dishes but also great for Indian and Pakistani stir-fry and stew recipes.

Top view of freshly cooked chicken kadai

Chicken Karahi Recipe

Chicken karahi, or kadai chicken, is a popular and traditional North Indian and Pakistani dish which can be served with naan, roti, or rice.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 350 kcal


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp Ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger julienned
  • 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
  • 700 g Chicken Thigh Fillet boneless
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red chili powder kashmiri
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro


  • Add vegetable oil to a saucepan on medium-high heat
  • Add onion, garlic paste, ginger paste, and green bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken thighs and cook for 5 minutes on high heat.
  • Add the spice mix and tomatoes. Reduce heat and cover for 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and ginger.
    Top view of freshly cooked chicken kadai


Serving: 1peopleCalories: 350kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 38gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 744mgPotassium: 820mgFiber: 8gSugar: 15g
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