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 Handirecipe. 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.
This is how I cook Chicken Karahi. It's the closest you can get to the karahi you probably eat at your favorite dhaba!
Author: Rookie With A Cookie
Recipe type: Main
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
In a wok over medium heat, add oil.
Once oil is hot, toss in the chopped onions and fry for 6-7 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
Next, add the rinsed chicken pieces and stir until combined with the onion.
Add yogurt, cumin, coriander seeds, red chilli powder, salt, pepper and ginger garlic paste and stir until the chicken pieces are coated.
Continue stirring for about 5-6 minutes on high heat.
Tip in the tomatoes, cilantro and chillies and stir. Add water.
Cover the wok with a lid, turn the flame to medium to low and let the karahi cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the lid and turn the flame to high and let the water evaporate.
Once the water evaporates about 10-15 minutes, start to stir again.
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.
Enjoy hot with pita bread or naan! Serves 5-6 people.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
This is how Pakistanis turn chickpeas into a delicious tangy salad!
Author: Rookie With A Cookie
Recipe type: Appetizer
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
Dump beans, onion, tomatoes, potato and green chili in a large mixing bowl.
Sprinkle chaat masal and garam masala. Toss.
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.
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).
Now pour the liquid back into the saucepan and cook for another 5 minutes. The chutney will be very liquidy.
Remove from stove and let the chutney cool. as it cools it will thicken.
Pour the cooled chutney into the chickpea salad and toss.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro leaves and serve.
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!
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.
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!
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!
The easiest and foolproof, fail-safe Pad Thai you will ever make! This recipe is golden and comes straight from an authentic Thai restaurant!
Author: Rookie With A Cookie
¼ cup peanut oil
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
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.
When noodles are done, heat up a wok on the highest flame. Once wok is hot, add oil and let it heat up.
Next, crack in an egg directly in the wok and stir.
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.
Next, add in rice noodles and stir.
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!*
Sprinkle paprika to give the dish a little color.
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.*
Lastly add in the bean sprouts and stir for a minute or two because we want bean sprouts to still be a bit crunchy.
Garnish with crushed peanuts, finely chopped green onions (just the green part) and cilantro and serve!
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!
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.