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Introduction to Indian Kadhai Cooking

KADHAI - The Indian Wok !

"Kadhai" or Karahi" is indeed a wok-type utensil used in India ! Kadhai cooking is also a cooking technique ! 

 Karahi dishes are quick stir-fried style cooking with lamb, chicken, seafood or vegetables. Alternatively they can be pre-prepared kebabs/tikkas, topped with fresh green chillis, fresh herbs and garnished with fried onions, tomatoes and capsicum. Often served in a cast iron skillet. So ethically they are dishes cooked with whole spices and diced vegetables with a thick gravy if any. Karahi dishes are very famous in British Restaurants.

A kadhai wok is deeper and narrower than the familiar Japanese or Chinese woks. Using very little, or more often, no water, the idea is to cook all the ingredients together in a tomato-based sauce with a savory mixture of garlic and other assorted spices. The ingredients cook in their natural juices as they are stirred, and the seared bits of meat and tomatoes are scraped from the sides of the wok and added to the whole of the dish, creating another subtle layer of delicious, mouth-watering flavor.

Over time, a kadhai wok can become well-seasoned, enhancing future dishes. If you wish to begin an exciting adventure in Indian cuisine, then of course you will first need to purchase your own kadhai. You should be able to find one at any Asian or Indian cookware shop, or in gourmet cookware shops. A practical size is 10-13" wide, with a 3" inch deep well. Non-stick aluminum is recommended. A thicker pot is preferable to a thinner one, as vegetables and other ingredients can tend to burn in the thinner pots before they are fully cooked.

You will find that the kadhai also serves as an excellent serving platter. When the meal has finished cooking, simply place the kadhai on a trivet and let your family help themselves.

Traditionally, you will use oil first to extract and retain the essence and flavors of the herbs and spices you will use in your dish, but you can use ghee as well. Because of the round, flat bottom of the kadhai, you will not need to use much of either to effectively and evenly cook your food. Often, little or no whole spices will be used, but garam masala, a blend of various ground spices, is used quite often, aiding in quick absorption of the flavors.

 

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KADHAI CHICKEN

2 cups chicken pieces - bite sized (breast, thigh )
6 chopped tomatoes
2 tspns ginger paste
2 tspns garlic paste
3 chopped onions
3 chopped green chilies
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsps garam masala
2 tsps cumin powder

Heat a small amount of oil in the kadhai and add 3 chopped onions and 3 chopped green chilies, and fry until lightly browned. Add a teaspoon each of chili powder and turmeric, and two teaspoons each of garam masala and cumin powder, and salt to taste, mixing well.

Add 6 chopped tomatoes of medium size, and two teaspoons each of ginger paste and garlic paste, and cook until the tomatoes become tender. Add the chicken pieces. Cook until the oil separates and the meat is cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves.  

 




 

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