Chicken Karahi Recipe

Chicken Karahi is arguably the most popular dish in both Pakistan and India and one that is my absolute favorite. But somehow, I could never achieve that flavor and rich brown color the number of times I tried to make it at home. Although it came out good, the chicken remained a tad bland; the spices never seeped into the meat specially because chicken does not take too long to cook. And then I realized the key ingredient missing from my recipe is yogurt!

Purists would say yogurt is not needed but for me it gives me restaurant-style Chicken Karahi right at home! I have also used yogurt in my Boneless Chicken Handi recipe. Yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken and allows the spices to seep in. Another key step is to make sure the juices evaporate. Until you see a lovely sheen of oil, keep stirring on high heat. The stirring does two things. It scrapes the lovely brown bits stuck to the bottom of the wok where all the flavor is hiding, and it also helps to deepen the color of the Karahi. My version is very different from my mother’s and even my grandmother’s. And between you and I, I love mine the best! But the ladies don’t need to know that.

Chicken Karahi Rookie With A Cookie

4.9 from 9 reviews
Chicken Karahi Recipe
This is how I cook Chicken Karahi. It's the closest you can get to the karahi you probably eat at your favorite dhaba!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Pakistani
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 whole chicken skinless and cut into 14-16 pieces
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt
  • 11/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1½ tsp kashmiri lal mirch or cayenne
  • ¾ -1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 5 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup water
  • cilantro leaves chopped, handful
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit lengthwise
  1. In a wok over medium heat, add oil.
  2. Once oil is hot, toss in the chopped onions and fry for 6-7 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  3. Next, add the rinsed chicken pieces and stir until combined with the onion.
  4. Add yogurt, cumin, coriander seeds, red chilli powder, salt, pepper and ginger garlic paste and stir until the chicken pieces are coated.
  5. Continue stirring for about 5-6 minutes on high heat.
  6. Tip in the tomatoes, cilantro and chillies and stir. Add water.
  7. Cover the wok with a lid, turn the flame to medium to low and let the karahi cook for 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and turn the flame to high and let the water evaporate.
  9. Once the water evaporates about 10-15 minutes, start to stir again.
  10. You'll notice that the curry will release oil and you'll see a lovely sheen around the edge of the wok. At this point, add in some more cilantro and chilli and pop the lid back on and turn the flame to the lowest possible setting for 5-10 minutes. This is called the "dum" stage which is important to finish off the Karahi.
  11. Enjoy hot with pita bread or naan! Serves 5-6 people.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup Rookie with a Cookie

There aren’t too many things that speak of winter, rain, overcast and gloom quite like a steaming bowl of French onion soup. This soup that often intimidates newbies requires only caramelization and simmering of onions in a basic beef broth. That is it! But my goodness, this soup is all you need on that cold afternoon when the weather app on your phone is showing 50% chance of rain and all your friends have gone into hibernation.

Right after shooting this video, I came down with a nasty cold. And believe me when I say this… I had 6 cups of this soup throughout the day and was back to 100 within 12 hours without popping a single tablet! You may not think that’s a big deal, and Ill ask you when you’re cocooned in a blanket waiting for the Day/NyQuil to kick in.

French Onion Soup
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This is how I make French onion soup, complete with a slice of toasted french bread and the pungent gruyere cheese!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • French bread slices
  • Gruyere cheese
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.
  2. Slice onions thinly and add to the pan. Stir for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft.
  3. Sprinkle salt and sugar and allow the onions to caramelize and brown on medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Next, sprinkle flour over the caramelized onions and mix really well. This will help to thicken up the soup just a little bit. Just a tad!
  5. Next, pour in beef broth and add bay leaves. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
  6. While the soup is simmering, slice french bread and toast it on both sides. I toast it under the broiler in my oven.
  7. To assemble French onion soup, pour a couple ladles of the soup into an oven-safe bowl.
  8. Place the toasted french bread on top, and grate gruyere cheese generously on top.
  9. Place the bowl into the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown.
  10. Serve immediately!

Flatbread pizza with caramelized onion!

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

This flatbread pizza came about one fine evening when I had no meat in the fridge and just tons of pita bread in my freezer. You can probably guess that I’m Pakistani by taking a quick peek into my freezer. It puts the bread section of the grocery store to shame.

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

I drizzle the flatbread with honey and my, oh my, do the flavors sing together beautifully! Honey makes all the difference in the world. When used sparingly, it brings out the caramelized onion even more and the chilli flakes add the perfect amount of heat. Please ogle at this charred edges for reassurance!

Flatbread Pizza Rookie with a Cookie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Flatbread pizza with caramelized onion!
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The best flatbread pizza you will ever make! Caramelized onions will solve your dinner situation any day.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middel Eastern
Serves: 2
  • 2 Pita bread
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup cheese (any favorite works)
  • Cilantro
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Crushed chilli flakes
  1. Turn on the oven to BROIL.
  2. Slice a large onion thinly and cook in a pan with a touch of oil on medium heat until brown and caramelized, about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Next, toast the pita bread. I like to toast it directly on the stove so the bottom crisps up. This step is important if you like a slightly crispy flatbread.
  4. Next, divide the caramelized onion evenly between the two pita breads.
  5. Top with cheese and cilantro leaves. You can use cheddar or mozzarrella. I use a combination of both.
  6. Stick the flatbreads under the broiler directly on the first rack. Let the cheese brown and bubble for about 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it; the broiler can burn the flatbread if you're not attentive.
  7. To serve, slice the flatbread into quarters, drizzle with honey, sprinkle some chilli flakes and fresh cilantro. YUMO!

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice -Rookie With A Cookie

Have you ever made fried rice at home and felt that it somehow lacked that flavor you get from take-out? I have many times. Somehow the fried rice tasted like simple vegetable rice. It just didn’t have the oomph factor that would get my brother nodding his head in approval until recently when I cooked up this ridiculous 5-min dish! Oh you bet my brother told me that my fried rice needed to be on a restaurant menu!

This spicy shrimp fried rice comes from… you’ve guessed it! That same Thai restaurant whose portly, bearded chef taught me how to make this Pad Thai and this Thai Beef Chili. The trick is simple: use 2-day old cold rice and fry up with a lug of peanut oil on a high heat until you feel that the grains of rice crisp up just a tad. And BOOM! You’re done even before you begun.

Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make this shrimp fried rice!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Shrimp Fried Rice
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This will be the best shrimp fried rice you ever stirred in your wok!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
  • Peanut oil (or any veg oil would work)
  • ¼ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 4 cups white rice (must be a day or two day old rice)
  • 1 tsp garlic chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp water
  • Chilli flakes, optional
  • Green onions or Scallions for garnish
  • Sesame oil (just a drizzle for flavor)
  1. In a pan add a bit of peanut oil and cook shrimps one minute on each side until golden brown. Remove to a clean plate. (We will add the shrimps back and fully cook them with the rice.)
  2. In the same pan, add about 2 tbsp more of oil. Crack a fresh egg and scramble it.
  3. Next, add in the carrots and peas and sautee for a 2-3 minutes on high heat. Add a bit more oil if necessary.
  4. Next, add in the rice, along with the shrimps and stir to combine.
  5. To spice up the rice, add in garlic chilli paste along with oyster sauce mixed with a tbsp of water.
  6. Stir the rice really well on high heat for a 5 mins but be sure to be gentle so as not to break up the grains.
  7. Add chilli flakes if you like spicy fried rice. I DO!
  8. Garnish with scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Sesame oil will give it that take-out flavor instantly.
  9. Stir and serve!



Thai Beef Chilli Recipe

Remember that Pad Thai recipe I shared a few weeks ago that had me squealing with delight? This one is another favorite I stole from the chef. It is beyond delicious. Usually I taste my food and toot my own horn. So, for your benefit I pulled my best friend from Pakistan into the camera frame and shoved a spoonful of the Thai-spiced beef in her mouth telling her what to say. WATCH THE VIDEO!

Thai Beef

My friend sold it pretty well. The Thai Beef Chilli is indeed really delicious. And for a dish that comes together in less than 20 minutes, you have no excuse but to make this. It’s my go-to when I’m pressed for time and don’t want to grab processed fast food or even greasy Asian take-out. Because guess what? The only greasy take-out that I’m going to be eating would be taken out of my kitchen! HAH!

Thai BeefHere’s the recipe for ya!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Thai Beef Chilli
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A quick Pakistani Thai fusion beef chilli
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 1
  • ¼ cup peanut oil (flap meat/undercut)
  • ½ pound beef cut in strips (flap meat/undercut)
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ onion sliced
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce + 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp garlic chilli paste
  • 2 serrano chillis sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 2 basil leaves chopped
  1. In a preheated wok, add ¼ cup of peanut oil and let it heat for 30 seconds.
  2. Next, add the beef and let it brown on high heat.
  3. Add chopped galic, the sliced onion and green chillies and stir.
  4. Next, pour in the oyster sauce mixed with water along with the sugar and garlic chilli paste.
  5. Let the sauce evaporate until the oil starts to release. This will take about 10-12 minutes on high heat.
  6. Once the liquid has evaporated, add the sliced green bell peppers and the basil leaves.
  7. Stir for a few seconds. Serve over white or fried rice.

Channa Chaat -Pakistani Chickpeas Salad

Channa Chaat is nothing short of super food! Chickpea is Channa in the Urdu language and chaat is any snack that’s spicy and has the wonderful tang from tamarind. You’ll find Channa Chaat in the streets of Pakistan, and on the Eid and iftar tables. Since Ramadan started, I have been making a big bowl of this Channa Chaat for iftar. It also doesn’t hurt that it literally comes together in 10 minutes.

Channa Chaat
I’d be more than happy to toss myself a salad for iftar, but when your parents are in town, you just have to don on the dupatta and feed some desi appetite. Speaking of parents, my dad loves hanging out at the grocery store more than I do! Let’s just say my pantry is bursting with canned chickpeas and my fridge has never looked this full since I moved into my apartment.

Channa Chaat

I hope you guys give this nutritious, delicious, full of fiber, protein and gas (ahem) Channa Chaat a try! Ramadan Mubarak to all those observing the month! I feel you bruh… 16 hours is no joke.


Channa Chaat -Pakistani Chickpea Salad
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This is how Pakistanis turn chickpeas into a delicious tangy salad!
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Pakistani
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped (¾ cup roughly)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, boiled and chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, finely chopped
  • Cilantro, a handful
  • 2 tsp Chaat Masala or Channa Chaat spice mix (you can find this at any Pakistani/Indian grocery store)
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup Tamarind pulp (you can find this at any Pakistani/Indian grocery store)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  1. Dump beans, onion, tomatoes, potato and green chili in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle chaat masal and garam masala. Toss.
  3. To make tamarind chutney, add tamarind pulp, sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and let this come to a boil. Continue cooking for 10-12 minutes or until the pulp breaks down. Use the back of the spoon to help the process.
  4. Next, strain the tamarind liquid into a bowl. Make sure to press down on the pulp with a spoon to extract as much juices as you can. Discard the pulp (I chew on it:p).
  5. Now pour the liquid back into the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes. The chutney will be very liquidy.
  6. Remove from stove and let the chutney cool. as it cools it will thicken.
  7. Pour the cooled chutney into the chickpea salad and toss.
  8. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves and serve.

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

When you have the owner of the Best Fish Taco in Ensenada personally show you the secret to the best fish tacos, you know your taco-loving palate is taken care of. Being a regular customer of the taco joint, I secretly wished my fish taco game were stronger. And then lo and behold I run into the owner, Joseph, at the store and well… let’s just say my taco game never looked better! I had a lot of fun shooting this video with Joseph. Amidst the hilarity that ensued coupled with intriguing customers who thought that the taco joint would be featured on national television, I was able to get my act on and get this video to you guys!

Of course, I went back home to test out the recipe. OUTSTANDING! I think now I need Joseph to teach me how to make his secret salsas!

Fish Tacos


5.0 from 1 reviews
Fish Tacos
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This has to be the BEST fish tacos hands down!
Cuisine: Mexican
  • ½ pound white fish (Basa or any other kind)
  • ¾ cup complete buttermilk pancake mix
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  1. Cut fish into thin strips.
  2. In a bowl, add the pancake mix followed by the spices. Whisk until combined.
  3. Next, pour the ice cold water and mix until the batter is lumpfree but don't over mix.
  4. Pour the batter on the pre-cut fish and mix well. Let sit in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Next, heat up oil to 375 degrees F.
  6. Slide the fish into the oil and cook until deep brown and crispy.
  7. To assemble the taco, heat up corn tortillas on a griddle, place two to three strips of fried fish, top with salsa and creme fraiche and enjoy!!

Pad Thai Recipe From Thai Restaurant

Pad Thai

One thing I have an itch for when it comes to food is to experiment in my kitchen and I’d be damned if I was making Tandoori Chicken everyday (even though I totally could) and not venturing over to my beautiful neighboring countries to become, say, Thai for a day. This may or may not be the reason of idling around in the Asian aisle at the grocery store. I have to admit that Asian cooking especially Thai cooking has baffled me for quite a while. A few months ago I picked up a packet of rice noodles because I was in the mood to make Pad Thai. I grabbed a recipe from the internet to get started, altering it along the way. I was left with the smell of fish sauce in my hair and a dry stringy mess at my hands.
Pad Thai
Many thanks to a dear friend who only eats Halal food, I can proudly say I have a really good recipe for Pad Thai under my black leather belt! A couple of months ago, she took me to this Halal restaurant in North Hollywood. You may turn down your nose at the shabby, grungy interior that admittedly is decorated rather kitschy but let me tell you guys, this place makes the BEST Thai food hands down. I remember saying to my friend, “I need to get the recipe for everything!” Fast forward to last week, thanks to my quirky, overly excited self that is ready to befriend everybody, I went and stole the recipe for this Pad Thai and a few other favorites–Fried Rice, Beef Chilli Dry, killer Eggplant Basil–right under the nose of the chef who pretty much runs the place by himself with no help. Watch this video to see exactly how I stole this recipe!
Pad Thai
Pad Thai
Hard at work in the kitchen of Barn Rau making Spicy Eggplant
Below is the Pad Thai I made at home following the recipe and method I learned from the chef with minor substitutions (all noted in the recipe box) and I am proud to announce that it tasted like straight up takeout! Go make yourself this Pad Thai right now!
Pad Thai
5.0 from 1 reviews
The Easiest Pad Thai You Will Ever Make!
The easiest and foolproof, fail-safe Pad Thai you will ever make! This recipe is golden and comes straight from an authentic Thai restaurant!
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 2-3
  • ¼ cup peanut oil
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ lb chicken thighs, skinless, boneless and in very thin strips
  • ½ a packet of rice noodles (I used the wider rice noodles at home but get the narrow one if you can find it)
  • 5 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (thin it out with 2 tbsp water)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • Paprika to add color (I sprinkle about 1 tsp)
  • 1½- 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • Peanuts, green onions, and cilantro to garnish
  1. First we're going to cook the rice noodles like pasta until it's al dente, meaning it should not be cooked all the way through but should still have a bite. For this, add your noodles to a pot of water. Place the pot on the stove and on a low heat let the noodles soften for about 10-12 minutes. Once done, drain the noodles.
  2. When noodles are done, heat up a wok on the highest flame. Once wok is hot, add oil and let it heat up.
  3. Next, crack in an egg directly in the wok and stir.
  4. To the eggs, add the chicken strips and stir until no longer pink and cooked through about 5-6 minutes. Make sure the chicken is in small strips so it cooks fast.
  5. Next, add in rice noodles and stir.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients: vinegar, lemon juice, fish sauce, oyster sauce, salt and sugar and stir really well. *Just throw it all in. This is why I love this recipe!*
  7. Sprinkle paprika to give the dish a little color.
  8. Pad Thai should not have a sauce so dry out the liquid by continuing to stir on the highest heat of the burner. *My wok is not restaurant quality so it took me about 10-15 minutes to dry out the sauce. So it is very important that your noodles are not fully cooked in step 1 because they will continue to cook in the wok.*
  9. Lastly add in the bean sprouts and stir for a minute or two because we want bean sprouts to still be a bit crunchy.
  10. Garnish with crushed peanuts, finely chopped green onions (just the green part) and cilantro and serve!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Oh where do I start about this dish–the only dish my non-desi friends know to be Indian. It pains every time I have to point out that Indian food and Pakistani food are really one and the same. The flavors running through, the spices lighting up the taste buds or really burning them up share a similar journey. Before I turn this into a history lesson about the partition of 1947, let’s focus our gaze back to this beautiful bowl of rich, saucy Chicken Tikka Masala. This along with my Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken should have a permanent place in your arsenal of desi food recipes!

Chicken Tikka Masala

It took me a few tries to nail down this recipe. I decided that I did not want to use canned tomato puree, so I sliced up some juicy, fat tomatoes (along with my finger), and threw them in the oven with the marinated chicken at 425 degrees F. Roasting adds that touch of smokiness and wrinkles the tomatoes to a beautiful charred-around-the-edges look. Sometimes I even turn on the broiler because I love those black blisters on the chicken and tomatoes. So, if you feel me on this, just do it! Like Nike. Okay, maybe not. Do it at a slower pace, because baby it’s worth it. Give it to it, it’s worth it. I’m really sorry. I got some major wisdom tooth extraction done and clearly it wasn’t a good idea. So, I’ll just leave this recipe here for you guys and go search for it.

Chicken Tikka Masala

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Tikka Masala
This Chicken Tikka Masala will make you forget the Pakistani/Indian restaurants. Learn how to make this with me!
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Pakistani/Indian
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • Marinade for chicken:
  • 1½ tsp red chilli powder such as cayenne
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp full fat yogurt (Indian-style such as Gopi or a plain greek yogurt)
  • cinnamon (just a pinch)
  • turmeric (just a pinch)
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • Masala:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 whole green cardamom pods (lightly crushed)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½of a green chilli
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
  • 6 tomatoes on the vine (roasted in the oven)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt to taste
  1. Wash and pat dry the the chicken thighs and cut them up in small to medium chunks.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and rub into the chicken pieces really well.
  3. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 mins to an hour in the fridge.
  4. While the chicken is in the fridge, slice up tomatoes in circles and lay them on baking sheet lined with foil.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  6. Next, grab some metal skewers and skewer the chicken pieces through them. Place the skewers on another pan lined with foil.
  7. Put both the pans in the oven preheated at 425 degree F, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  8. *Prepare the masala 10 minutes before the chicken and tomatoes are done*
  9. To prepare the masala, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  10. Add the whole cloves and cardamom pods and stir for about 30 seconds.
  11. Throw in the chopped onion and green chilli and continue to sautee for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft.
  12. Next, add in cumin, coriander and red chilli powder and stir for a minute.
  13. Add in 2 heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste and stir for another minutes until incorporated.
  14. At this point, add in the roasted tomatoes and stir really well.
  15. Pour in one cup of water.
  16. Dump the masala in a blender and puree until smooth.
  17. Now pour it back into the saucepan over medium heat.
  18. Add in the cooked chicken pieces and stir.
  19. Add salt to taste.
  20. Next, add heavy cream and stir.
  21. For the actual aroma of this dish, add in the fenugreek leaves.
  22. Next, drizzle honey to give it that touch of sweetness this dish needs.
  23. Finally taste for salt and serve with naan or pita bread.