Karahi Chicken is our favourite curry recipe from North India and Pakistan.
This easy homemade Chicken Karahi Curry is a healthy main dish featuring big flavour thanks to the addition of spicy chili, fresh cilantro and ginger.
Tender chunks of chicken breast simmer in a rich tomato sauce flavoured with fresh herbs and aromatic spices.
Serve with steamed basmati rice or Indian flatbreads like naan or paratha.
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What Is Karahi Chicken?
Chicken Karahi, also known as kadai chicken, is a popular chicken dish in Pakistan and North India.
Chicken Karahi is a tomato and ginger based, thick masala curry which is believed to originate in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
The dish is prepared in a karahi, a heavy, cast-iron pan that looks similar to a wok, but rounder with a flatter base. Traditionally a karahi is used to simmer and stir fry meat over an open fire.
Karahi Chicken Curry’s distinguishing features are its rich tomato curry sauce and a fragrant finishing of spicy green chili, fresh cilantro, and slivers of ginger.
The recipe differs regionally between Pakistani and North Indian kitchens. In Pakistan onions are not typically in the ingredients list.
Travel to India by Cooking Karahi Chicken at Home
I love traveling through Asia.
My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, The Maldives and India.
I spent over a month traveling through India. I started in the capital, eating my way through the bustling markets and fine dining restaurants in Delhi. I then embarked on a magical weekend getaway to awe-inspiring Taj Mahal in Agra. In India’s north you’ll find plenty of barbecue and wheat based side dishes like scorched naan bread.
For the second half of my Indian adventure I explored the southern state of Kerala. The south is famous for its seafood, coconut, tropical fruits, and rice based side dishes like crispy dosa. The colonial capital of Cochin was formerly run by the Portuguese. It’s also one of the only places in India you can find beef on a menu.
After enjoying a jaunt to the Maldives my India trip came to a close in the Bollywood capital, bustling and cosmopolitan Mumbai. The city is famous for its specialty street foods and fine dining restaurants at opulent luxury hotels. The Taj Mahal Palace in particular serves one of the world’s most famous Afternoon Teas.
What I found most fascinating is India’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each city in India had its own local speciality.
After you’ve traveled to India or Pakistan, return home to prepare an authentic and fragrant feast for friends and family featuring this flavourful Karahi Chicken recipe!
Where To Eat Karahi Chicken Curry
If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to local Indian or Pakistani restaurants that serve traditional Karahi Chicken.
Haven’t traveled to the Indian subcontinent before? It may be helpful to first sample homemade Chicken Karahi at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine if you want to use chicken breasts or thighs and the ideal spicy heat level of the gravy.
In Toronto, popular Indian and Pakistani restaurants that may serve Chicken Karahi include Udupi Palace, Lahore Tikka House and Kothur Indian Cuisine.
My Family Loves Karahi Chicken
My family loves trying different regional Indian dishes.
I really enjoy North Indian flavours so prepared this chicken curry at the cottage one night for dinner on a hot summer day.
Our herb garden was in full bloom so I was able to prepare the dish by plucking fresh mint and cilantro. The fresh herbs garnish the dish with thinly sliced slivers of ginger.
I knew my family would enjoy this curry recipe because they love eating healthy, dishes features tender chicken breasts and flavourful spiced sauces.
If you’ve traveled to India on holiday there is no better way to share your adventure at home with family and friends then by serving this easy Karahi Chicken recipe!
Our healthy Chicken Karahi recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Fresh mint is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and can have a calming effect on the digestive system. It is also a good source of folate, which supports blood health.
A rich source of blood-building iron, cumin may also help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol. It is also traditionally used as a digestive aid.
The star component of turmeric is curcumin, a potent phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve arthritis, aid digestion and inhibit the growth of cancers.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
Chili has been proven to help reduce the duration of sickness, prevent heart disease, and promote weight loss.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Packed with calcium and friendly probiotic bacteria, sour cream and yogurt help keep your bones strong and your gut healthy. Yogurt may also help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Recipe Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time cooking Karahi Chicken be sure to review our detailed step-by-step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started.
- Traditional recipes use a karahi pan but you can use a wok or large skillet as a substitute.
- We’ve cooked the vegetables in flavourless canola oil but you can substitute for mustard oil or coconut oil for additional flavour.
- We’ve used chunks of chicken breast in this recipe but you can substitute for sliced chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Remove and discard the seeds from the green chili if you don’t like spicy food.
What To Serve with Karahi Chicken
Karahi Chicken is one of our favourite Pakistani and North Indian curry dishes.
The healthy recipe can be served as a lunch or dinner alongside steamed rice or a selection of flatbreads like naan or paratha. If you’re looking to impress guests at a dinner party add several courses by serving fresh salads, soups, and dal.
If you’re hosting a large Indian-themed potluck or buffet you may want to serve Karahi Chicken Curry alongside:
- Vegetarian Indian Grilled BBQ Paneer Kebabs
- Indian Vegetarian Creamy Corn Black Bean Curry
- Chilli Paneer Gravy Restaurant Style Masala
- Tofu Meatballs in Creamy Vegan Korma Curry Sauce
- Indian Vegetarian Paneer Frankie Kathi Roll
- Vegetarian Oven Baked Tandoori Gobi Cauliflower
- Healthy Vegetarian Indian Paneer Tikka Salad
- Gluten Free Chickpea Flour Indian Pancakes
- Aloo Fry Vegetarian Indian Turmeric Potatoes
- Warm Indian Vegan Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
- Curry Leaf Rice with Cashews Recipe
- Indian Thakkali Tomato Biryani Recipe
- Chanachur Chivda Bombay Mixture Namkeen
- Parippu Vada Recipe With Coconut Chutney
- Healthy Vegan Tomato Chutney For Dosa
- Pitod Ki Sabji Vegetarian Indian Chickpea Dumplings
- Chingri Malai Curry: Creamy Bengali Coconut Prawns
- Pepper Milagu Rasam Vegan South Indian Soup
- Chicken Manchow Soup Recipe
- Turmeric Pumpkin Spice Indian Cake
- Quick & Easy Indian Onion Salad
How To Make Pakistani Karahi Chicken
Karahi Chicken Curry
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- French knife
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 2 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Garlic minced
- 1 tsp Ginger minced
- 2 Green Chilies finely chopped
- 4 Chicken Breasts cut into 2 inch chunks
- 2 Large Tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
- Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 2 inch Ginger peeled and julienned
- 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
- 10 Mint Leaves
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and allow to splutter for 30 seconds. Add the minced garlic, ginger and chilies and fry for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened, then add the tomato paste and the yogurt and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the oil starts to seperate. Add the red chili powder, black pepper, turmeric and salt and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add the butter before turning off the heat and letting the butter melt.
- Before serving, add the julienned ginger, cilantro, mint and stir through.
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