Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chicken Kadai

There are a million different variations on 'chicken kadai', of which this is just one. Every restaurant serves it, every household has a recipe for this, the most basic 'volkscurry' and the basis for all bachelor food. But I like this one. The kadhai or kadai or however you want to spell it (similarly dal or dhal) is a two-handled bowl-bottomed cooking pot, similar to a wok in shape. I was first introduced to this dish by my old mate and sometime driver, Ashraf. He served it with lashings of chili-laced salad, biryani rice and it was washed down, traditionally, with whisky. The combination of wickedly hot curry (the recipe below is considerably toned down) and scotch meant that the evening was, to say the least, riotous.


  • 4cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 170g full fat yoghurt

Whiz the ginger, garlic, salt and lemon and steep the chicken pieces in this mixture to marinate for 30 mins or as much as a day more. Whiz the tomato, the puree, the coriander and chilli with a splash of water, if needed, and reserve.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, drain the chicken pieces and then fry these off over a high heat, stirring and adding the marinade to keep everything moist until the chicken starts to brown. Pour in the tomato and coriander mixture and cook, stirring, until everything thickens up and then give the yoghurt a quick stir and add it into the mixture in the pan, cooking for 4-5 minutes or until the yoghurt thickens to leave a sauce edged with oil. Turn the heat to very low, or even off, and cover to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with poppadums, rice and maybe a spicy little green dal!

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