Grab some Naan, Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite!
Chicken Karahi (also known as Kadai Chicken) is a chicken curry from Pakistan and Northern India. It is a very popular dish because it is so quick to prepare. With just a little chopping and some hands off simmering time, you can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!
What is a Karahi?
Karahi (pronounced kar-ah-hee) is the name of a two handled, deep cooking vessel that looks like a wok with steeper sides. It is used in many Indian ad Pakistani kitchens. You can see what it looks like here.
Traditionally, kahari vessels are used for frying and making stews. The dishes that are cooked in a karahi are often called by that name as well. (Similar to a tajine in Morocco.)
Pakistani Chicken Karahi vs North Indian Chicken Karahi
As with any dish, there are many variations to Chicken Karahi based on region or the family cook who is making the dish. The most notable difference is that North Indian Chicken Karahi tends to include onions and green peppers, while Pakistani Chicken Karahi does not. However, this is by no means a hard and fast rule.
The dish gets heat from the addition of fresh green chilies and dry red chilies and chili powder. You can adjust the amount of green chilies if you prefer a milder heat. (Check our our guide for choosing chilies that suit your heat preference if you need some help.)
Don’t be scared of the heat in this dish. Since the chilies are simmered with the chicken and tomatoes, their heat mellows, leaving a wonderful flavor and just a bit of warming heat.
Grab some Naan!
Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite!
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 1/4 tsp dry, ground ginger)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 tomatoes, diced (roughly 3 c)
- 2-4 green chilies, seeded and chopped (Serrano or Jalapeno)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
In a large, non-stick sauté pan with high sides or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 10-20 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the chicken pieces and cook for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides.
Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the tomatoes, chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and turmeric. Mix well.
Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is mostly absorbed, 20 min. If there is still too much liquid after cooking for 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook, uncovered until it thickens (5-10 min).
Garnish with slices of fresh ginger, sliced chilies, and fresh cilantro.
Serve with warm naan bread or rice.
To make this curry reflect the North Indian version, add 1 diced onion and one diced green pepper to the pan before adding the tomatoes. Sauté the veggies for 2-3 minutes before continuing with the recipe. With the added veggies, the recipe serves 3-4.
Thanks to Sarah of The Chef Next Door for hosting this week’s spicy food fest.
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