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! 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 Recipe
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 (rinsed and patted dry)
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 1½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ¾ to 1 tsp salt, to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 5 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup water
- Some cilantro leaves, chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, slit thinly 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.
- 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
In a nutshell, Kheer is a Pakistani/Indian rice pudding. But let’s please ease out of this nutshell because it’s suffocating and unjust. Kheer is not just any rice pudding in which you quickly cook rice in sweet milk and sweep the sweat from your forehead and pitch your spatula in the air in hurrah. No. That’s not kheer. Neither is the liquidy stuff you get at Pakistani/Indian restaurants in the states. I’ll take a glass of sweet lassi instead thanks.
Kheer is slow cooked for a couple of hours in sweetened milk. It’s infused with cardamom. It’s stirred with care. You bet it’s a labor of love when you have to scrub the brown bits stuck to the bottom of your stainless steel pot later because the milk will catch at the bottom. I think I scrubbed 20 minutes of my life away just now. But man oh man, when you tear through the skin that coagulates on the surface of the Kheer and slip that spoon in your mouth, you would want to clean that pan every day. Ok, maybe not. Once a week?
Kheer is the one dessert that I ABSOLUTELY cannot resist especially when its encased between two tiny terracotta bowls glued together with a rubber band with a small wooden popsicle stick clasped to it. When I get those bowls from Burns Road in Karachi, you better believe that I take my Kheer very seriously! To replicate that earthen feel, I bought similar looking terracotta bowls from Home Depot. Instantly the Kheer that just tasted excellent now has substance– a story to tell, a culture to give you a glimpse of. And might I add how ridiculously impressive it looks. Please Google images of Kheer and tell me that this doesn’t splatter all over them. Exactly:)
Kheer (Pakistani Rice Pudding)
Author: Rookie With A Cookie
Recipe type: Dessert
- 4½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup uncooked rice
- 7 tbsp sugar
- 4-5 cardamom pods
- Crushed nuts to garnish (pistachio, cashews, blanched almonds)
- First, we are going to OVER cook the rice in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until they get really soft and mushy.
- Next, strain the rice and with the back of a fork, mash it well until it resembles oatmeal.
- Next, heat up milk in a stainless steel deep saucepan and let it come to a gentle simmer.
- Open the cardamom pods and add it to the milk. (Once Kheer is done, you can simply take out the husk since we're only using 5 pods.)
- Next add the rice and sugar. The rice will be clumpy but as it cooks, it will break down.
- Now on very low heat, cook the Kheer for 3 hours. Make sure you stir every once in a while. The milk will inevitably catch at the bottom so make sure you use a stainless steel pot because if you use a non stick saucepan, the brown bits will peel off as you stir and distribute throughout the Kheer. That would be gross!
- After 3 hours of slow cooking, the Kheer will have thickened. It should fall in little clumps from the spatula (see the video for clarity).
- Immediately pour in terracotta bowls and garnish with crushed nuts. The skin that forms on the surface is the BEST part!
- Let Kheer cool in serving dish for 15-20 minutes before serving.
- You can keep this in the fridge covered for up to 3 days but who's even saving for later.
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.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Author: Rookie With A Cookie
Recipe type: Main
- 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
- 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
- Wash and pat dry the the chicken thighs and cut them up in small to medium chunks.
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and rub into the chicken pieces really well.
- Refrigerate, covered, for 30 mins to an hour in the fridge.
- While the chicken is in the fridge, slice up tomatoes in circles and lay them on baking sheet lined with foil.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Next, grab some metal skewers and skewer the chicken pieces through them. Place the skewers on another pan lined with foil.
- Put both the pans in the oven preheated at 425 degree F, and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- *Prepare the masala 10 minutes before the chicken and tomatoes are done*
- To prepare the masala, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the whole cloves and cardamom pods and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Throw in the chopped onion and green chilli and continue to sautee for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft.
- Next, add in cumin, coriander and red chilli powder and stir for a minute.
- Add in 2 heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste and stir for another minutes until incorporated.
- At this point, add in the roasted tomatoes and stir really well.
- Pour in one cup of water.
- Dump the masala in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Now pour it back into the saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in the cooked chicken pieces and stir.
- Add salt to taste.
- Next, add heavy cream and stir.
- For the actual aroma of this dish, add in the fenugreek leaves.
- Next, drizzle honey to give it that touch of sweetness this dish needs.
- Finally taste for salt and serve with naan or pita bread.