BowlsChickenCurriesMainsPakistaniQuick & Easy

Chicken Karahi Recipe

25 mins Cook
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Growing up, Sunday night time dinner was a ritual event that came about without fail. My Father might come domestic early from work on Sundays and him and my mom might start inside the kitchen, reducing away at pounds and pounds of tomatoes, mincing away at bulbs of garlic and big chunks of ginger. You’d stroll in and be taken returned by using the crisp, fragrant aroma of pure freshness and also by way of the sheer amount of components.

Sunday night time became constantly Karahi night time.

And my Father changed into the Karahi master.

Each Sunday, my Father might cook a huge Karahi for our entire extended circle of relatives. We’d all acquire collectively, chatting and gnawing away at the Karahi collectively, along platefuls of salad, fresh roti and lots of Coca Cola.

I take advantage of the beyond anxious when speaking approximately this because this ritual regrettably now not takes place. work commitments have changed, humans have moved, exercises have end up less predictable. but the era of the Sunday night time Karahi is simply a time i will forever appearance lower back at fondly.

Chicken Karahi - NomNomWow
Chicken Karahi – NomNomWow

Will The Real Chicken Karahi Please Stand Up?

I’m going to get instantly to the chase right here, no bending across the bush. I’m genuinely uninterested of crimson chicken curries pretending to be chicken Karahis.

While i was a 17 12 months vintage, my mother tasked me with cooking a chicken Karahi for dinner as she went out for the day. i used to be the Karahi master’s daughter, simply I’d have learnt some matters about making a decent Karahi you’d assume? sadly, I didnt. So maybe this frustration i have with fake chicken Karahis stem from the reality that when I Googled ‘chicken Karahi recipe’, I hit a recipe that wanted me to add large distinguished chunks of onion in a watery hen soup and simmer it on low for forty mins. Blindly, I followed that recipe and my Father got here home most effective to be absolutely mortified with the aid of my red chicken shorba.

Regardless of the purpose, Karahis truly hit a sentimental spot with me due to how plenty of a huge birthday celebration they have been for my own family.

In existence, I generally have a very low tolerance to bad things. I also have a completely low tolerance for sub-parr Karahis, or curries claiming to be Karahis but then containing plenty of onion, tinned tomatoes and a mild hand at the ginger and garlic. Sorry. I’m a Karahi purist

So What IS a Chicken Karahi?

In the context of the curry, a Chicken Karahi is a tomato and ginger based, thick masala curry which is though to originate from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The original, authentic method of making it is a very specific one. As a general rule, Karahis are made from a base of ginger, garlic and tomatoes and also contain fresh green chillis, julienne-cut raw ginger and coriander. It’s a rather thick, jammy gravy and concentrated in flavour – yum!

The traditional Karahi has undergone pretty major alterations over time. In order to bulk up the masala gravy and also cut the cost, onions have been added in so frequently in restaurants that many people know don’t even know the real recipe doesn’t contain onion. I’ve also seen variations use large chunks of red onion and capsicum much like a Chicken Jalfrezi. Modern day conveniences such as tinned tomatoes and pre-packaged jars of ginger and garlic are also pretty normal too.

The recipe and instructions I’m sharing with you today is for the REAL DEAL Chicken Karahi. No bulking up with onions, everything is fresh, crisp and simple. It’s as close to the real deal as you can get, really. I want to break down EVERYTHING to you before proceeding on to the recipe, because if you can’t already tell, I am absolutely INSANE about getting Karahis right!

The Main Components of a Chicken Karahi

Just to lay thiis straight before we proceed with more information, this is what a Karahi consists of

Your Meat – this may be lamb, mutton, red meat, fish etc. For this we’re using fowl glaringly. In phrases of what type of chicken to get, any bone-in medium chicken will suffice. in this recipe, I’ve used a rather small chicken which became most effective 550g in general weight. in case your fowl weighs greater, please do make modifications for the portions of tomatoes, spices and oil

Fresh Ginger – that is a totally defining component of any Karahi. We use ginger in both the curry gravy in addition to in the garnish in its raw shape. Ginger is a totally outstanding flavour of a Karahi, so this is simply not something to stint on! Use a heavy hand with this!
Fresh Garlic – another essential aspect of the Karahi, but its flavour truly does take a backseat in assessment to its aforementioned brother, ginger. Use a heavy hand with this too! We use quite quite a few garlic in Karahis to assist bulk up the masala too, considering that there aren’t any onions in here.

Fresh Tomatoes – A Karahi is a tomato based curry. The unique, traditional recipe does not comprise onions. i’m able to repeat this again (and time and again) – onions had been brought into mainstream Karahis for the sole cause that it bulks up the masala on the reasonably-priced. My recipe doesn’t use onions because quite frankly I’m a Karahi purist and if it carries onions, it ain’t a Karahi to me!

Tomatoes, ginger and garlic truely do have the power to create an incredible masala gravy. simply trust in them!

Fresh Green Chilli + Coriander – adds some other sparkling flavour detail to the Karahi gambling into the natural, crisp flavours of Karahis and also adds a wonderful fragrance.
Spices – The spices in a Karahi are alternatively easy. This permits the natural flavours of the tomatoes, ginger, garlic etc all to polish!

How to Make Chicken Karahi

The following is a basic outline of what we do to make a REAL, authentic Chicken Karahi. Don’t worry, there’s more detailed instructions, pictures and exact quantities at the end!

  1. We start by frying the chicken in a generous amount of oil. We can’t really get away from the oil here, soz.
  2. We than add in a LOT of minced ginger and garlic. Please none of that pre-made, jarred stuff. FRESH ginger and garlic is KEY here. Remember I said Karahis have a huge emphasis on fragrance and natural flavours? These two ingredients are a MAJOR component of that. We want to fry these just enough for the raw smell to go away – under no circumstances should you allow this to burn because it will taint the flavour of the Karahi.
  3. We then go ahead and add all our tomatoes and spices. The tomatoes will release TONS of moisture and will break down into a beautifully jammy, thick gravy that will coat the chicken.
  4. We allow this mix to cook on high, stirring as needed to make sure it doesn’t catch at the bottom of the pan. We don’t put the lid on because we are concentrating the flavour. If we put the lid on, we won’t get that true Karahi look or flavour because we will be containing the moisture in our pan, not allowing the flavours to concentrate. The result will be a boiled/steamed chicken that looks more like a red chicken shorba and will likely break/flake. Not ideal for a Karahi!
  5. At about the 15-20 minute mark, the gravy will have thickened nicely, the oil will be separating around the edges, the chicken will be cooked and things will be looking almost done. At this point, you can add the chopped coriander and chillis, turn the heat to low and allow everything to simmer together again without the lid. It can simmer for 5 minutes at this point
  6. It’s all ready! Now you can garnish with your slices of ginger and serve as you please

Top Tips To Keep In Mind

  • I use fresh tomatoes, the type that are extraordinary firm and make a delicious sound whilst you slice thru them drools. My Father prefers these too. Having said that, I’ve used cherry tomatoes too and in addition they taste fantastic!
    Please ensure you use the correct chicken to tomato ratio. go in step with weight, instead of range of tomatoes.
  • Cooking a chicken Karahi with the lid on is a gunaah e kabeera (most important sin). Sorry. Its authentic. The most effective time you’re allowed to cook a Karahi with the lid on is if you’re cooking a beef Karahi (i will do a publish on this next month) OR if for some reason the chicken hasn’t cooked thru. amusing truth: the primary time I cooked a Karahi by myself I simmered it on low with a lid and my Father’s reaction become to nearly disown me. top instances.
    additionally, a chicken Karahi does not need any water. Do no longer add water, even supposing it’s against your very own judgement! Please believe the bird and tomatoes, they will release masses in their very own superbly delicious juices. I would love to call this a gunaah e kabeera too and best allowed for beef Karahis!
  • You simply do need to preserve a heavy hand on the ginger and garlic. I may want to without difficulty x1.5 the portions of ginger and garlic used in this recipe for a more potent flavour and greater scrumptious bulk
    because of the shortage of onions inside the curry, a Karahi pairs virtually nicely with a salad made with raw onions, salt/vinegar optional!
    The final fat to use for that is ghee. Ghee provides a country flavour that pairs noticeably nicely with all the factors of the Karahi. Any impartial oil is first-class too. i might consider butter could paintings best too however I individually haven’t ever used it.
  • deal with the Karahi like a stir-fry. It’s a totally busy, active, taking place dish. you’ll be stirring lots, continuously doing some thing, including in things at various factors. My Father continually has the whole lot chopped and equipped before he commenced cooking his Karahis, therefore I do the same too and surely recommends you accomplish that too.
    Finely cutting the tomatoes is critical as it facilitates the tomatoes damage down fast and at the same timescale because the chicken. It also ensures you don’t have massive chunks of tomato skin on your curry

Notes about the spices (Chicken Karahi)

  • The paprika/Kasmiri red chilli only functions to add colour. I highly recommend you use this. Should you not have this to hand, I would recommend you use a small amount of red chilli powder for colour.
  • Additionally, I don’t recommend using black pepper powder if you don’t have coarsely crushed black pepper. Black pepper powder will darken the colour of the Karahi and it won’t look good. If you can’t get hold of coarsely crushed black pepper, use whole peppercorns otherwise omit it. 
  • The ULTIMATE best-chef-in-the-world thing you can do is roast and grind your own spices for any curry. Same goes here. If you roast your coriander, cumin and black peppercorns yourself, grind and then add into this curry then you are my personal culinary hero and I applaud you. And you will be rewarded with an excellent curry made even more excellent!
  • In terms of green chillis,  my preference is the short, fat ‘bullet chilli’ variety over the slim and long ‘birds eye chillis’. The reason for this is the biggest function of the chilli is moreso for fragrance and less for heat. Therefore, a milder chilli is preferable.
Chicken Karahi Recipe

Chicken Karahi Recipe

Growing up, Sunday night time dinner was a ritual event that came about without fail. My Father might come domestic early from work on Sundays and him and my mom might start inside the kitchen, reducing away at pounds and pounds of tomatoes, mincing away at bulbs of garlic and big chunks of ginger. You’d stroll in and be taken returned by using the crisp, fragrant aroma of pure freshness and also by way of the sheer amount of components.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
25 mins
total time
35 mins



  • 1/2 cup oil or ghee

  • 550g chicken, bone in and cut into curry pieces

  • 600g tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 bulb garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 1-2 tsp salt, or to taste

  • 2 tsp paprika/kashmiri red chilli

  • 1.5 tsp crushed black pepper

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

  • 0.5 tsp cumin powder

  • 0.5 tsp coriander powder

  • 1tsp kalonji (black seed, optional)

  • 2 green chillis, slit in half lengthwise

  • 0.5 bunch coriander, chopped

  • 1/4 cup ginger cut into matchstick pieces


Heat up your oil in a karahi dish, wok, solid iron skillet or any pan appropriate for stirfrying, preserving the flame on high for the entire duration
Add the chicken in. Fry this, stirring constantly till the chicken begins to tackle a golden color in a few places
Add inside the minced ginger and garlic. supply this a fry along the hen, again stirring continuously and making sure nothing burns. keep to fry this until the raw scent of the ginger and garlic starts to fadeChicken Karahi Recipe + little by little photos + pointers
Add all of the chopped tomatoes and spices. Stir in and allow this all to prepare dinner on high, stirring to make sure nothing catches at the bottom of the pan
Maintain to cook dinner this mix for approximately 20 minutes. The oil will separate, the tomatoes will thicken and start to coat the chicken, and you may see holes begin to bubble within the gravy. The chicken must be cooked thru at this factor
Add the coriander and green chillis, stir in, flip the heat down to a low flame and allow the whole thing to simmer together for five minutes with out putting the lid on
Serve with the matchstick-reduce ginger and extra coriander/inexperienced chilli if desired


If your chicken hasn't cooked through, you can put the lid on and simmer everything on low for a few additional minutes. Avoid adding water unless absolutely necessary. If you don't intend to serve this immediate, stop after step 5. Proceed with step 6 when you are almost about to serve. 1/2-1 tsp garam masala powder can also be added alongside the coriander optionally. I'd recommend making the garam masala fresh at home for optimal flavour and fragrance. If for some reason you have to or want to use onions, I would recommend you add 1 large onion very finely chopped into the oil before the chicken and allow this to cook until lightly golden before adding the chicken. I use Himalayan pink salt at home. It is milder than sea salt. Please add salt and adjust according to your own preference.
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