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The Best Kadai For Indian Cooking In 2023

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Indian cuisine is full of bright flavors, spices, and rich aromas and it’s becoming one of the most popular cuisines at an international level. If you’ve started dabbling with Indian cooking in your own kitchen or if you’re a master level cook, a Kadai deep frying pan should be on your list of must-have cookware items. 

So what is the best Kadai for Indian cooking? The best Kadai pans have smooth, flat bottoms and steep, sloped sides that are perfect for deep-frying and simmering hearty curries. Heat distribution is important because these pans are so deep, and you’ll need to find a pan that is large enough for your needs but that you can also lift easily.

Our list of the 7 best Kadai for Indian cooking will introduce you to the most efficient and useful Kadai pans available, as well as answer some of the most important questions related to Kadai to help you choose the one that is right for your household.

What is a Kadai Pan?

A Kadai pan, also sometimes known as a kadhai or karahi, is a deep-sided, flat-bottomed pan that is similar in shape to a wok, though with a wider bottom surface area and steeper sides.

It’s traditionally used in South Asian cooking, especially with Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Nepalese cuisine 

What Is A Kadai Pan Used For?

The steep sides of a Kadai pan are designed for deep frying foods of all kinds, including meats and seafood, vegetables, or even for making sweets.

These deep-sided pans are also ideal for hearty stew-like meals, like traditional Indian curries or chicken karahi, named for the pan it’s cooked in.

How to Choose the Best Kadai for Indian Cooking

There are a few different criteria that should be considered when searching for the perfect Kadai for your cooking needs.

The size of the pan is an important consideration, and you will have to think about how many people you typically cook for, specifically when you’re cooking Indian food.

You will also want to choose a material that is suitable for your kitchen and cooking style. Kadais are made in a variety of materials, including aluminum with non-stick finishing, stainless steel, cast iron, and even copper-bottomed.

If you’re very gentle with your pans and willing to use only wooden or silicone utensils, non-stick finishes are a great lightweight option that is very easy to use for most home cooks.

Non-stick coating has developed a reputation for being questionable in terms of health, but as long as you don’t scratch off the surface and eat it, you should be perfectly safe.

Stainless steel is another popular option as they’re very durable, completely safe, and not overly heavy or cumbersome.

If you’re used to non-stick surfaces, stainless steel can come with a learning curve, but it works well for Indian cuisines that are typically made in luxurious sauces or fried in a generous supply of oil. 

Cast iron is another viable option that usually comes with a slightly higher price tag, but can literally last you a lifetime or longer if it is well cared for.

Cast iron will work on any heat source and it distributes heat perfectly throughout not just the bottom of the pan but up the steep-sloped walls as well.

The only drawback to cast iron pans, especially of the size generally required for a Kadai, is that they’re quite heavy. If you put a large batch of heavy curry in an already heavy pan, it will take a certain amount of strength to lift the pan.

The 7 Best Kadai Pans For Indian Cooking

Now that you have an idea of what to consider for your unique cooking needs and household preferences, we’ve researched the top Kadai pans and presented you with all the information you need to make an educated decision.

Whether you’re planning to cook for 1 person or a family of 13, you will find the perfect deep fry pan somewhere on our list of the best Kadai for Indian cooking.

RankKadai PanBest Feature
1.Hawkins Futura Non-Stick Kadhai Deep-Fry PanOverall convenience for daily use
2.Prestige Omega Deluxe Granite KadaiPerfect for large batch simmer sauces
3.Futura Induction Compatible KadhaiBest for conduction stoves
4.Uno Casa Cast Iron Wok PanBest cast iron deep frying pan
5.Hawkins Stainless Steel Deep Fry PanBest for stainless steel lovers
6.Vinod Hard Anodized KadaiBest for small households
7.IMUSA Stainless Steel With Copper KadhaiBest copper bottom for even heat distribution

1. Hawkins Futura Non-Stick Kadhai Deep-Fry Pan

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The Kadhai from Hawkins Futura is incredibly well-built and durable.

It’s made from pure virgin aluminum with a hard-anodized surface that’s further embellished with a patented non-stick coating that outlasts other brands.

The handles are held in place by 4 rivets on each size so you can easily handle even heavy, large batches of cooking.

Key Features:

  • 2.5 L capacity (4L option)
  • Includes wooden spatula and approved scrubber
  • Provides tested recipes with the instruction manual

Biggest Drawback: This kadhai does not come with a lid, which is very disappointing because otherwise the quality and durability are top-notch. A lid would come in handy for simmer sauces and to protect against splatter.

2. Prestige Omega Deluxe Granite Kadai

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Prestige is India’s largest kitchen appliance company and they’re devoted to maintaining their status by staying at the forefront of industry innovations and ensuring all their products are of the highest quality possible.

Being an Indian company, there is no doubt they have made a Kadai ideal for making mouthwatering Indian cooking.

Key Features:

  • 3.25L capacity
  • High quality non-stick surface with a durable granite-finish coating
  • Comes with a fitted glass lid that allows you to keep a close eye on your cooking

Biggest Drawback: Even though this kadhai does claim to be dishwasher safe, putting it in the dishwasher can and will likely ruin the finish a lot more quickly than simply washing it with gentle soap and not using any scrubber or abrasive cleaning products.

3. Futura Induction Compatible Kadhai

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This is the 2nd Kadhai from Hawkins Futura and it has some impressive features, including the ability to be used on an induction stovetop and the inclusion of a lid, which the previous listing didn’t.

It is a larger pan, however, so it can get heavier and more difficult to handle, though that also means you can fit more food inside, so it really depends on what your kitchen needs are.

Key Features:

  • 3.75 L capacity (available in alternative sizes from 2.5 L – 7L)
  • Suitable for use on gas, election, and induction stovetops
  • Comes with a stainless steel lid

Biggest Drawback: Even though the manufacturer specifically says you can use metal ladles with the non-stick finish on this pan, it can scratch your pan and ruin the finish. We highly recommend wooden or silicone utensils whenever your cooking on any non-stick surface regardless of the manufacturer’s claims.

4. Uno Casa Cast Iron Wok Pan

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Uno Casa has developed a large capacity, heavy, pre-seasoned cast iron wok pan that gets better with every single use.

It can be used on any stovetop and even over a fire. Even though it’s called a wok pan, it has a flat, broad bottom compared to traditional Asian style woks, which makes it perfect for Kadai style Indian cooking.

Key Features:

  • 5.2-quart capacity
  • Includes perfect-fit glass lid with silicone seal
  • Comes with a free recipe book

Biggest Drawback: Cast iron is very durable and can last a lifetime, but it’s also very heavy and does take regular care and use in order to keep it from rusting. This isn’t the easiest pan to use, but if you love cast iron, it’s a truly versatile piece of cookware.

5. Hawkins Stainless Steel Deep Fry Pan

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This deep fry pan is from Hawkins, but isn’t from their Futura range of products.

Hawkins is a well-known and respected brand that focuses on creating very high-quality pressure cookers and other cookware products.

One of their brand missions is to constantly be innovating and looking for ways to improve their products, which is obviously working for them since they have 3 unique pans perfect for this list.

Key Features:

  • 2.5 L capacity
  • Made from extra-thick magnetic 18/8 stainless steel that retains and distributes heat well and works on all stovetop types, including induction cooking
  • Comes with a glass lid and beautiful Rosewood handles for safety and style

Biggest Drawback: Stainless steel does require a lot of liquid or oil to prevent sticking. This deep fry pan is designed with Indian cuisine in mind, which is usually very saucy and won’t create any problems, however, if you try to do a traditional Asian stirfry, you may need to use more oil than you would in a non-stick or cast iron pan.

6. Vinod Hard Anodized Kadai

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Vinod is a cookware manufacturer with its roots in Mumbai, India.

They know what makes a great kadhai for Indian cooking and have a great, easy to use design in this product. 

Key Features:

  • 1.6 L capacity (7 L option)
  • Hard anodized non-stick durable surface
  • Comes with a glass and stainless steel lid with safe plastic handle

Biggest Drawback: The biggest drawback is also this product’s biggest draw and that is the size. This is the smallest Kadai on our list which can be incredibly convenient for households that only need to serve one or two people, but it can also be very inconvenient for trying to feed a larger group of people or batch cooking. 

7. IMUSA USA Stainless Steel With Copper Kadhai

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This gorgeous copper-bottomed stainless steel kadhai from the IMUSA South Asian line of cookware was designed specifically to handle Indian cooking and other similar South Asian cuisines.

We love that IMUSA is one of the world’s leading ethnic focused housewares brands and their dedication to culture-specific cooking styles is inspirational.

Key Features:

  • 9” bottom
  • Easy to handle and very lightweight
  • Copper bottom heats quickly and evenly

Biggest Drawback: The copper bottom is very thin, which helps keep the pan lightweight and quick to heat, but it also can heat too quickly, burning your food accidentally. It’s also easier to warp or dent because it’s so thin. If you’re careful and conscious about how you use your pan, it’s one of the easiest to maneuver and certainly one of the most attractive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kadai

What is Kadai paneer?

Paneer is a very popular Indian dish that pairs bell peppers and paneer, a fresh Indian cheese, with a spicy masala sauce. It’s traditionally cooked in a Kadai, which is why it is called Kadai paneer. 

Many Indian recipes are named for the cookware used to cook them. Whenever you see “Kadai” preceding a type of Indian sauce or recipe, you should consider cooking the dish in one of the large, deep-sided pans.

How to clean aluminum Kadai?

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is remarkably strong, but it does often develop a black buildup that can be difficult to clean if you don’t know how.

There are a few techniques you can try, depending on how difficult the burnt-on residue is:

First, wash the pan with dish soap and warm water to remove any grease or easily removed stuck-on food items.

For light residue, try boiling some water in the pan and, while it’s boiling, use a flat wooden to scrape off the stuck-on food.

If scraping the pan with boiling water isn’t sufficient to remove the buildup, turn the heat off and let the water cool a bit.

Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar for each quart of water in your pan. The acidic solution should help remove any discoloration on the aluminum and further bread down any brunt-on residue.

Once again, use the wooden spatula to try to remove the rest of the build-up. Once the water is cool enough, try cleaning with a dish scrubber, but avoid using steel wool as that can damage your pan.

How to clean iron Kadai?

Cast iron should only ever be cleaned using warm water. You don’t need soap on cast iron but you do need to keep your iron Kadai well seasoned.

As long as you don’t have a rusty pan to contend with, always wash your Kadai with warm water as soon as it’s cool enough to touch.

Always avoid using light-colored dishcloths, tea towels or dish towels to wash or dry your pan as there may be some leftover oil or residue in the pan that can discolor your towels.

If you’ve made a curry with turmeric, there’s also a good chance it will stain any material yellow. Using a dish sponge to wash is a better and more effective solution.

Once cleaned, add a small amount of oil to your pan and use some paper towel to evenly coat the entire inside of the pan.

This will protect it against rust as it is stored. Make sure the pan is entirely dry as soon after washing as possible. You can use a power towel for this, or you can heat the pan on your stovetop until its thoroughly dry. 

Up Next: The Best Coconut Milk For Curry

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