Chicken kadai with a twist (chicken cooked with tomatoes and spices)


After a week of vegetarian food, we start with some of our non-vegetarian recipes! Chicken kadai, chicken cooked in tomato gravy with onion and bell peppers. My recipe has a twist, as it is cooked in a spicy tomato gravy but without bell peppers and does not have a lot of gravy. You can have it as a main course or a starter. This reminds me of home, as this is my family’s favourite. My mother’s tested recipe over the past few decades and is extremely close to my heart!

  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Serves: 6
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour


  • Boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks or chicken legs (with bone) 1kg
  • Onion, sliced 2 large
  • Tomatoes, pureed 3 medium
  • Garlic paste 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger paste 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon 1 inch sticks (2)
  • Cardamoms 3-4
  • Cloves 3-4
  • Red chillies 2-3 (this will make the chicken spicy)
  • Turmeric 1 tablespoon
  • Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
  • Sunflower oil 3 tablespoons
  • Mustard oil 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Water 2 tablespoons

Marinade for the chicken:

  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Yogurt 1 tablespoon


1. Marinate the chicken with yogurt, turmeric and salt to taste. It keeps the chicken moist and infuses flavour into the chicken.

2. Grind the tomatoes, ginger paste and red chillies to a smooth paste.

3. In the meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep non-stick pan and add the cinnamon sticks, cardamoms and cloves and cook them for 1 minute. Add the sliced onions and saute’ till golden brown.

4. Add the tomato chilli paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Cook on high flame until the oil starts to separate.

5. Put the marinated chicken into the pan and fry it on a high flame for 5-6 minutes. Put 2 tablespoons of water and over it with a lid to cook on medium flame for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is tender (takes longer to cook the chicken legs with bone).

6. Remove the lid and fry the chicken on a high flame for 8-10 minutes until dry.

7. Serve hot as a starter or with a bowl of rice/flatbread of your choice. Please try the recipe and let me know if you enjoyed it!

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