Karahi chicken is a vibrant and pleasing curry from the subcontinent that you will love. Made with a few readily available ingredients like tomatoes, ginger, and green chillies, it is simple enough to make on a weekday. Serve with thick bread like naan or white rice and a raita for a totally delicious meal!
What is Karahi Chicken?
Karahi chicken or kadai chicken is a spicy, slightly tangy, and very popular chicken curry in both India and Pakistan. The name comes from the iron pot it is cooked in, a karahi. Similar to a wok, it is round and deep with handles.
If you don't have a karahi, go right ahead and use your regular non-stick pan or dutch oven, or whatever you use to cook curries in. It really will not make much difference. Just know that traditionally, chicken karahi is cooked in a karahi, hence the name!
I can bet that you already have the ingredients you'll need to make this chicken karahi recipe.
Chicken, chopped tomatoes, ginger paste, green chillies, and garam masala powder. That's all you want for making this moist and flavour-packed chicken number. Besides cooking oil and salt, of course. Oh, and just a little sugar to counter the tartness of the tomatoes. If you have these things, you're all set. No onions to caramelize, no fancy ingredients or steps, nothing really to make your life hard in the kitchen.
The star ingredients are tomatoes and ginger, which give this dish its distinctive flavor. You'll notice there's no garlic and that's because we want the taste of ginger to stand out and dominate.
An important tip: do choose red, ripe tomatoes for this recipe. They make all the difference. A yellow, sickly looking curry is no fun, and if the tomatoes are not the best, that's what you'll end up with.
How to make chicken karahi
- Heat the oil in the karahi and add the ginger paste. Sauté for two minutes, then add the chicken. Cook on high heat until the chicken loses its pinkish color and turns white (two to three minutes again).
- Tip in the tomatoes, green chillies, garam masala powder, sugar, and salt. Cook, uncovered on medium heat for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is tender and the liquid has dried. Top with ginger slivers and more green chillies. Serve hot with the bread of your choice or rice.
A few useful tips
- I used boneless chicken in this recipe, but you can use a full chicken cut into small pieces too. It will take longer to cook, however.
- As mentioned above, choose red and ripe tomatoes for full flavor and color. I've even made karahi chicken with a box of cherry tomatoes! It turned out quite good!
- The tomatoes will release a lot of liquid, so there's no need to add any water to the chicken.
- Ginger paste is easily available in most stores, but it's very easy to make at home too. Just peel some fresh ginger root, chop it roughly, and put it in the blender with a few tablespoons water. Blend to get a smooth paste. The extra can be stored in the fridge for later use. It stays good for a couple of weeks.
- Sugar cuts the sourness of the tomatoes and makes the curry a darker red. Half to one teaspoon should be enough.
- If you like fresh cilantro, you can use a few sprigs as garnish. I did not have any, so I sprinkled some dry herbs on top of the chicken for added flavor.
More chicken recipes
- Chicken Madras - This is one curry you have to have in your recipe box if you dig spicy Indian curries. It's hot, vibrant, and deeply flavoured with spices.
- Chicken Malai Tikka - A recipe for soft, juicy kababs on skewers that will simply melt in your mouth. Perfect for an outdoor barbecue or luncheon.
- Palak Chicken - Tender pieces of boneless chicken breast and spinach leaves simmered in an onion-tomato gravy made creamy with cashews.
- Easy Chicken Pulao - A delicious one-pot chicken and rice dish that's super easy to make with just a few ingredients.
- Almond Chicken Korma - A chicken korma recipe with a twist. Tender pieces of chicken in a sumptuous and creamy almond gravy.
Best Side Dishes for Chicken Karahi
- Bombay Potatoes - Crispy baby potatoes with soft insides.
- Cumin Rice - Basmati rice flavored with cumin and other whole spices.
- Maash Dal - Split and skinned black gram lentils with a warm, nutty taste.
- Dahi Baingan - Lightly fried eggplant, onions, garlic, and cilantro in cold yogurt.
These are just a few possibilities! Find a lot more ideas for what to serve with chicken curry in this post: 20+ Best Side Dishes for Chicken Curry.
- A wok or karahi
- 5 tablespoon cooking oil
- 3 tablespoon ginger paste
- 4 medium-sized boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 medium sized ripe tomatoes chopped
- 4-5 Indian or Thai green chillies
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ginger juliennes
- 2-3 springs fresh cilantro or dried herbs of your choice optional
- Heat the cooking oil in a medium-sized karahi or wok and add the ginger paste. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken and fry on high heat until it turns white. There is no need to brown it.
- Add the tomatoes, green chillies, garam masala, sugar, and salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
- When the chicken becomes tender and the liquid has dried, garnish with ginger juliennes and cilantro, if using.
- Choose good quality ripe tomatoes for this recipe. This is what will make or break the curry.
- There is no need to add water at any stage of the cooking.
- Make your own ginger paste by blending peeled and chopped ginger root in a blender with a few tablespoons of water. Refrigerate the extra in a sealed glass jar for later use.
- You can use bone-in chicken for this recipe too. It will take longer to cook, however.