Make Authentic Lahori Chicken Karahi in 30 minutes!



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Chicken karahi (Punjabi: چکن کڑاہی ) or kadai chicken is a Pakistani and North Indian dish known for its freshness and spicy taste. The Pakistani version does not have capsicum or onions whereas the North Indian version uses capsicum. It is said that only one utensil is required to cook this dish and that is a karahi (wok).

This is the Lahori version, quick and simple.

So here it is, the recipe long awaited by many. Give it a try and you will thank me later.

What you need before you begin:

  • 1 Karahi (Wok)
  • 1 chicken (cut in 16 pieces)
  • Olive oil – 1 cup minimum
  • Fresh Garlic – 5  cloves
  • Red Hot Chilli Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 3/4 teaspoon or whatever you like
  • Plum tomatoes – 4 or 5 (not more)
  • Green hot chili peppers – 3 (medium size)
  • Ginger – 2 inch long root
  • Cilantro Leaves

Now, if you are missing any of these simple ingredients, don’t waste your time.

Badshahi Masjid, Lahore, Pakistan

Photograph by Azam

When you are ready to start follow these instructions, the heat levels are very important because the chicken basically needs to fry in the oil at very high heat until golden brown. If you follow these instructions, it should take about 30 minutes from start to serve, including prep time.

“The Best Chicken Karahi You Ever Had…”


Fine dice fresh Garlic with a sharp knife.  Do NOT use garlic paste.

Put 1 cup of olive oil in the Karahi / Wok.

Turn the heat to high, on a scale from 1-10, set the burner at 8/10. This is really important, low heat will not result in same taste. 

After about 2 mins and when the oil is really hot, put in the fine diced garlic and stir frequently. It may splatter around so be careful, leave the heat on high for now. Do NOT let it burn.

Wait till the ginger is Golden Brown.

Put in the chicken and Fry the hell out of it. Do NOT turn the heat down

It will take about 10 mins for the chicken to partially cook and fry to golden brown on high heat. Leave the heat at 8/10 strength at this time. You may think the heat is too high, but let it be. TRUST ME!

Make sure to keep turning the chicken so it won’t burn on one side

While you are waiting and frying the chicken, let’s prepare everything else that we need. 

Created by Azam

“Best Chicken Karahi You Ever Had. ”

Peel the skin off the tomatoes. Yes, you read it right. Tomato skin has no place in Chicken Karahi. It is best to peel it off before you put it in.

Dice the tomatoes to very small pieces and place them in a separate bowl.

You should still be frying the hell out of that chicken. You may bring the heat down a notch. 

Does it look the chicken is turning golden brown and partially cooked? Is it soaking up the oil? If the answer is yes, you may proceed. Otherwise continue prepping the rest of ingredients.

Put in the 1 teaspoon of Red Hot Chilli Peppers (when chicken has turned Golden Brown).

Put in the Salt to taste or at least 3/4 teaspoon.

Stir and mix the spices properly.

There are no other spices to it, No Turmeric or capsicum. Nothing else!

Karahi should now start to get to the desired Red color. Turn the heat down to about 7/10 strength.

If the chicken is perfectly golden brown, you may proceed.

Put in the diced/crushed tomatoes into the Karahi and mix them well. The tomatoes need to turn into the gravy. Dicing them really small just speeds up the process.

Let’s prepare our garnishing. It’s almost ready!

Start chopping up the Green hot chili peppers. Chop them evenly.

Cut the ginger root to finely sliced pieces

Dice up the Cilantro

Take the Green chili peppers, sliced ginger and cilantro and put aside in a little cup for garnishing later.

It should be about 12-14 mins now, since you first put the tomatoes in. Turn the heat down to about 6/10.

You are almost done…. hang in there. It has only been about 20 mins.

Put the lid on the Karahi and let the gravy cook. The oil will separate from the gravy. Leave it on medium heat with lid covered.

When the oil is separated, throw in the garnishing of green chili peppers, sliced ginger and cilantro. Cover the Lid for another 5 minutes.

Thats it! If you followed my instructions, your Karahi should look and taste amazing just like the one in the picture. Enjoy it with some Naan / bread!!

If you have any questions or if you try this recipe, please come back and let us know how you liked it in the comments below.

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