Dad’s Kadai Chicken

Father Patel’s tested, tried, and validated Indian gravy style chicken (and paneer)! This one’s a special one.

My dad is the Indian Masala Chicken King.  Besides being one of my best friends, mentors, and well, badass awesome loveable father figure, he is an incredible cook. Fun fact: he grew up vegetarian and was so for most of his life in India! That is… until he met my mother. My Mom grew up eating chicken, with her birth roots going back to the small towns of Uganda, Africa. My maternal grandfather loved cooking different types of chicken – mixing masalas, and fresh veggies, and everything else. Through that process, my mom learned. As mom & dad got married, dad decided to be adventurous alongside and had his first Indian style chicken. The rest was history.

During earlier days of quarantine, I spent a lot of time at home with my parents and getting to know them on a more personal level. Through that, learning to cook these more intricate meals was top of mind. After a long week of work, Dad and I would spend time brainstorming new recipes and masala mixes during “at home happy hour”. Eventually we got to a point where we perfected some chicken dishes like the one I’m sharing here. The best part is that even though we made it with chicken, we always challenged ourselves to make a vegetarian version (recipe below as well!)

This recipe is a labor of love from Father Patel and myself – him doing most of the work. A highly rated & taste validated recipe with our family and friends, happy cooking with your loved ones! 🙂

PREP: 20 minutes
TOTAL: 50 minutes
YIELD: 4-6 servings


  • 2-3 boneless/skinless Chicken Breasts diced large (~3 pounds)
    • Vegetarian version: sub with 2 lb. Paneer cut into medium sized cubes
  • 2 Red Onions, diced small
  • 4 Whole Canned Plum Tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 5-6 Thai Green Chilies, chopped (optional, adjust spice level as needed)
  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 2 Star Anises
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 tsp. Peppercorns (approximately 20 pieces)
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 1 tsp. Whole Cumin
  • 2 tbsp. Coriander Powder (dhaniya powder)
  • 1/2 tbsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. Dried Fenugreek, hand crushed (kasthuri methi)
  • 1 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large sauté pan (or kadhai) over medium-to-low heat, heat up 3 tbsp. of cooking oil. Once it starts to slightly bubble, slowly add in diced chicken or cubed paneer. Shallow fry for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is opaque white color or paneer is toasty brown on each side. Keeping oil in pan, remove chicken or paneer and set aside on plate.
  2. To the oil, add: star anises, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and whole cumin. Fry in oil until oil is bubbling and seasonings start to open up in flavor (approximately 1 minute).
  3. Add in diced red onion. Fry for at least 10 minutes or until onion is translucent in color, stirring occasionally to ensure spices don’t burn completely.
  4. Remove star anise. Mix in crushed whole plum tomato. Cover pan and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the oil starts to separate.
  5. Add chopped Thai green chili peppers, ginger-garlic paste, and yogurt. Mix and let cook for additional 2-3 minutes.
  6. Slowly add in cooked chicken or paneer pieces. Stirring occasionally, let cook for 20 minutes to ensure chicken or paneer is thoroughly cooked though and integrated with spice-onion mixture.
  7. Sprinkle in coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder, Kashmiri chili powder, garam masala, and crushed dried fenugreek. Mix.
  8. Add in 1/2 cup water. Cover pan and cook additional 10 minutes. Add more water to create additional gravy as needed (no more than 1 cup to ensure spices balance well).
  9. Turn off heat. Garnish with chopped fresh Cilantro.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

#TashTip: Serve with naan or rice. Can be kept frozen for up to 3 months!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks absolutely delicious


    1. Thank you so much! 🙂


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