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!

Authentic Karahi Curry Chicken



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

Chicken Karahi Rookie With A Cookie
Print Recipe
4.93 from 14 votes

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!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Chicken Karahi
Servings: 6
Author: Rookie With A Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 whole chicken skinless and cut into 14-16 pieces
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 11/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp kashmiri lal mirch or cayenne
  • 3/4 -1 tsp salt taste and adjust
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 5 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies slit lengthwise

Instructions

  • 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.

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Suraj Patel
Suraj Patel
1 month ago

5 stars
Very reminiscent of your favorite indo-pak restaurant‘s karahi. Unreal how simple and flavorful!

Kris wood
Kris wood
3 months ago

Could you change the chicken for lamb? And If so how would you change the cooking time/technique?

Ramsha Ayub
Ramsha Ayub
3 months ago

Great recipe 👍🏻 I tried this today turned out so delicious 🤤 Will definitely try your other recipes soon. Thanks for sharing perfect recipes. 👏

cupofme
5 months ago

This is a magnificent formula… I read it today and promptly attempted .. ideally, comes out delectable

Jusfoodloving
Jusfoodloving
6 months ago

5 stars
Would you ever use garam masala in this? Have seen a few recipes using it

In your opinion is it needed? Does it make much of a difference
Thanks Justine

shanaya
11 months ago

lets see how its taste….!????

Zoe Garside
Zoe Garside
11 months ago

I left my home town 4 years ago which has a big Asian community and some of the best Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi restaurants and takeaways I’ve ever been to which I really miss. I’ve spent years and plenty of money trying to find a decent karahi to absolutely no avail all over South Manchester where I now live. I just made this dish and it was honestly as good as the ones I used to get back home! Buzzing that I can create that same taste and no more searching or trying bad take aways haha the recipe was so simple to follow and very filling with naan bread. I can see this being my go to for date nights on the weekends too ???? thanks for sharing a top notch recipe! X

craig hutchinson
craig hutchinson
1 year ago

5 stars
I’ve made this dish more or less as described many times and It is always a crowd favorite in our house!

Thanks for the recipe!

Sarah
Sarah
1 year ago

5 stars
Great recipe. I’m gonna try it soon.

Kai
Kai
1 year ago

5 stars
I have cooked this dish so many times with this recipe, thank you so much! It’s always delicious, truly love the flavors!

Naveed Ahmed
Reply to  Rookie With A Cookie
11 months ago

Very Nice

trackback
1 year ago

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Mustafa
Mustafa
2 years ago

Can you recommend which cookware is ideal for cooking chicken karahis? According to my understanding carbon steel or cast iron karahi would be the most ideal, primarily because with seasoning both would have nonstick properties. However, since chicken karahi is tomato based, I understand that reacts with carbon steel and iron? The other alternative is stainless steel but I’m guessing that may have some issues with food sticking. Would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

Luke
Luke
Reply to  Rookie With A Cookie
1 year ago

Due to my mrs being on slimming world I wouldnt be able to use oil, is there anyway to get a similar outcome with an alternative to oil as at the moment when i do my onions for a curry i will frylite them for a couple of minutes then sautee in shallow water for about 20 mins adding more water if needed

Zeeshan
Zeeshan
2 years ago

5 stars
I used the instructions to help make me make Karahi chicken for the first time, Soo good!!!!! thank you for sharing!!

Anjaneth
Anjaneth
2 years ago

I love it!! I was so proud of myself after cooking this favorite dish. My husband loves it!!

Amber
2 years ago

5 stars
I must say your recipe has a tremendous taste.

banazer noor
2 years ago

5 stars
GOOD RECIPES WEBSITE I LOVE IT WELL DONE.

Pun
Pun
3 years ago

Hey, I was going to try the recipe tomorrow but wanted to know if you’ve tried cooking the tomatoes earlier with the onions to avoid the wateriness?

Dhiren
Dhiren
3 years ago

5 stars
Wonderful recipe. It tasted really delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Ayesha
Ayesha
3 years ago

5 stars
I made this today with boneless chicken, it was delicious! Thanks for the recipee

Ayesha
Ayesha
Reply to  Ayesha
3 years ago

*recpie

Debra
Debra
3 years ago

5 stars
This look so delicious I will try to make this

Bruce in Philly
Bruce in Philly
3 years ago

Loved it! Instead of a whole chicken, I used two packages of chicken thighs. I was worried about too much liquid, but was patient and kept stirring until it evaporated. AMAZING flavor! Thank you!

Sarah
Sarah
4 years ago

Hello and thanks for your recipes, I’ve tried a few and they have been great. I want to try this but I don’t have a wok. Can I use a regular steel pan? Thanks!

Sarah
Sarah
Reply to  Rookie With A Cookie
4 years ago

Great, thank you!

sobia zehri
sobia zehri
4 years ago

5 stars
I made this and it came out amazing! Definitely the best chicken karahi recipe I’ve tried. Thank you so much!!

Haniya
Haniya
4 years ago

This turned out great! I burned the pan though so it must be because of the same water confusion the people above posted. Other than that we loved it.

Ralph A. CRoning
4 years ago

5 stars
I certainly want to give this one a try sometime soon. Just one question though; your recipe calls for 1/4 cup water. The cooking instructions don’t indicate when we add that in. Can you clarify please?

Ralph.

Muzam
Muzam
Reply to  Ralph A. CRoning
4 years ago

4 stars
Hey Ralph! I wondered the same thing. In the video it shows to add it in right after tomatoes.
I missed it when I made this and I feel like I overlooked mine. Not sure if it’s because of the water or not- but leaving it on high after removing the lid for 10-15 minutes is a lot. The chicken starts to stick to the pot. So Judy keep an eye on it.

Ralph A. Croning
Reply to  Muzam
4 years ago

Cooking in a karahi (wok) demands high heat for the frying/drying stages, but also requires continuous stirring to prevent sticking. However, the caramelizing at the bottom of the pot adds to the flavours of any karahi dish.

Had a Pakistani cookout at a friends place yesterday and we made butter chicken, tandoori chicken, aloo muttar, aloo bund gobi, raita and naans. Could not move after that feast 😉

Welcome To My Food Blog!

I’m Izza, the Rookie behind and in front of the camera. Here, you will find all the delicious recipes I’m whipping up in my cozy apartment in downtown Seattle while juggling my 9-5 in tech.

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