What is Achari Chicken Kadai?
Achari Chicken Kadai is a simple and quick dish wrapped up in hot-tangy-spicy flavours that are sure to tantalize your tastebuds! This dish is made with boneless chicken, some basic spices and yogurt. The unique flavours are brought in by the bell peppers and ofcourse ‘achar’, the Indian pickle that is prepared with a whole variety of ingredients dunked in a spicy-tangy masala/gravy base.
What type of pickle can be used?
You can use any kind of Indian pickle to make this dish. In the West, pickles is a term synonymous with raw veggies in brine. However, in the Indian subcontinent, we go a step ahead and add a whole lot of spices – whether ground to paste or simply powdered, to the vegetables. Sometimes we even temper this gravy to give it a unique flavour and to preserve it for longer. You can use any pickle of your choice for this preparation. However, the colour and flavour of the final dish will greatly depend on the colour and type of the pickle. We have tried this dish with our homemade Mangalorean chunky mango pickle and the store bought gongura pickle too. Each time the flavour is slightly different yet retains it’s classic character of being an ‘achari’ kind of a chicken dish. So go ahead and use your favourite one.
Why is it called Chicken Kadai?
Well, a kadai or a karahi (depends on which side of the Indian border you talk about) is essentially and traditionally a cast iron wok. Chicken kadai is a thick curry of succulent pieces of boneless chicken stewed in a medley of spices, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers (typically, the green one) are added. While traditionally this dish is prepared with freshly ground masala, we have tried using spice powders because it is quicker and easier. Authentic preparations also bring in an element of smokiness to this dish by using a piece of coal in a small bowl and placing it inside the dish. Just pour a few drops of ghee over the burning coal to immediately create smoke. Cover the pan and let the smoke permeate the dish – voila! you have a deliciously rustic dish to please everyone.
- 1 kg boneless chicken
- 1 medium sized green bell pepper capsicum, cubed
- 1 medium sized red bell pepper cubed
- 6 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 onion cubed
- 2 medium sized tomatoes cubed
- 3 teaspoons of achar (any Indian pickle with gravy) – adjust to taste
- salt to taste
- oil for frying
For the marination
- 1 teaspoon achar any Indian pickle with gravy
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon amchoor dry mango powder
- 1/2 cup thick yogurt
- 2 teaspoons mustard or any other oil
- salt to taste
For the masala
- 2 medium sized onions finely sliced
- 10 cashew nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, wash and leave to drain on a colander. When the water has drained away, transfer it to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients mentioned under ‘For the marination’, mix well with the chicken and keep it aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the chicken is marinated, shallow fry it in a frying pan in batches. Make sure not to crowd the pan. Alternatively you can airfry the chicken at 200 degrees C for about 10-12 minutes or till done.
- Heat oil in a wok/kadai and fry the onions till golden brown. Remove them and add the cashew nuts to the same oil and lightly fry them till golden. Remove. Let both these ingredients cool down a bit, then using a little water (approx 2-3 tablespoons) grind them to a fine paste along with the red chilli powder & cumin powder. Remove into a bowl and rinse the mixer jar with a little water (1/4 cup) and set aside
- In the same wok, heat some more oil if required and lightly fry the bell peppers till they look slightly translucent and lose most of their crunch. Remove and set aside
- Back into the wok, add the chopped garlic and fry lightly, do not burn it. Then add the cubed onions and fry till translucent. Add the tomatoes and a little salt and fry till the tomatoes turn slightly mushy.
- Now add the ground onion & cashew nut paste and fry for a few minutes. Add the red chilli powder, Add the reserved water from the mixer jar and adjust the consistency of the gravy.
- Add the shallow fried or airfried chicken pieces and give everything a good mix. Check the taste and add more salt, achar or red chilli powder if required. Add the fried bell peppers and let the gravy simmer for half a minute.
- Turn off the heat & serve hot with chapathis, rotis or rice
The nutritional values are only indicative.