Pakistani North Indian Karahi Chicken Curry Recipe

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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Save our healthy Karahi Chicken recipe to Pinterest!
Save our healthy Karahi Chicken recipe to Pinterest!

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.

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Traditional Karahi Chicken recipe ingredients.
Traditional Karahi Chicken recipe ingredients.

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 PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeCambodiaLaosMyanmar, ThailandVietnamThe 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 FranceGermanyItaly 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!

Karahi Chicken is made of chicken breasts, tomatoes and spicy chilies.
Karahi Chicken is made of chicken breasts, tomatoes and spicy chilies.

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 PalaceLahore Tikka House and Kothur Indian Cuisine.

Make Karahi Chicken on the stove in a large wok.
Make Karahi Chicken on the stove in a large wok.

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!

Serve Karahi Chicken garnished with mint, cilantro and fresh ginger.
Serve Karahi Chicken garnished with mint, cilantro and fresh ginger.

Health Benefits

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.   

Karahi Chicken Curry Photo Image.
Karahi Chicken Curry Photo Image.

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.
Karahi Chicken is the perfect curry recipe for ginger lovers.
Karahi Chicken is the perfect curry recipe for ginger lovers.

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:

Serve Karahi Chicken with steamed rice or naan bread.
Serve Karahi Chicken with steamed rice or naan bread.
Now you're an expert on how to make the best Karahi Chicken Curry recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Karahi Chicken Curry recipe!

How To Make Pakistani Karahi Chicken

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Karahi Chicken Curry

How to make traditional Karahi Chicken. Our healthy Pakistani curry recipe features chicken breast chunks, spicy tomato sauce & fresh ginger.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Keyword: Karahi Chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 371kcal

Equipment

  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • Wok
  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients

  • 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

Garnish

  • 2 inch Ginger peeled and julienned
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
  • 10 Mint Leaves

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 44.1g | Fat: 17.6g | Saturated Fat: 4.2g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 1008mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 4.9g | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 2mg

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