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Chicken Keema Karahi

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This dabba style chicken keema karahi is one you’ve simply got to try!

Chicken keema karahi is a firm favourite around out house. This is a street food version and it’s up there with the best! I must get asked for karahi recipes more than any other and this chicken keema karahi is a good place to start.

Below you will also find links to some fantastic side dishes you can serve with your chicken keema karahi.

Chicken Keema Karahi

Not your average chicken keema! Try this one!

Cooking karahi style

Karahis are cooked over a high heat at the beginning and end. This helps intensify the flavour and as so much oil is used, it shouldn’t cause any issues such as burning. 

As the sauce simmers and breaks down, the karahi is cooked over a low to medium heat, covered. This step also builds flavour and makes a smoother sauce.

What do you serve chicken keema karahi with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.

If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans. Oh, and really easy but just as delicious are homemade chapatis.

Want to start your chicken keema karahi meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

How much oil!?

To make an authentic street food style chicken keema karahi, you need a lot of oil. That’s just how it works!

You could of course use as little as a couple tablespoons oil but the result would not be the same as you would need to add water or stock to make the sauce. The oil based sauce is amazing!

How to prepare the chicken

Although you could use minced (ground) chicken, that isn’t how it’s normally done.

The chicken is cut into very small pieces. It really is a game changer!

Do I have to cook this in a karahi?

No. A good wok will work fine. I do prefer using a heavy cast iron or steel karahi though. 

Cooking in a normal frying pan will work but it is more difficult to get right in there and move the ingredients around in the pan. 

Chicken keema karahi step by step photos.

Ingredients for chicken keema karahi

Be sure to get all your ingredients together before starting. Karahis are cooked over a high heat so have everything in place before cooking.

Deep frying chicken keema

Deep fry the chicken keema until white and cooked through.

Frying the chicken keema

Pour out all but about 125ml (1/2 cup) of the oil and bring to a sizzling simmer.

Adding garlic and ginger paste to the karahi

Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir it in. Fry for about 30 seconds, stirring continuously.

Adding ground spices to the pan

Stir in the ground spiced and chillies and  continue stirring.

Adding tomatoes to the pan

Add the quartered tomatoes and move all the ingredients around in the hot karahi.

Covering the pan

Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Simmer covered, stirring a couple of times for about 5 – 7 minutes.

Peeling the tomatoes

When you lift the lid, you will find that the skin of the tomatoes is coming off. Pull the skin off with your hands or tongs. Using tongs is easier. This will help produce a smoother sauce. 

Smash the peeled tomatoes into the sauce and it will become thick and smooth without adding any water. 

The reduced tomato sauce for the chicken keema

Smash the skinned tomatoes down into the sauce and add some chopped coriander (cilantro) and a few chillies if you like. Continue simmering over a high heat.

Oil rising to the top of the curry

Continue simmering and scraping the sides of karahi to get all that flavour in. Oil will begin to rise to the top which is a good indication the curry is ready. Stir in the julienned ginger.

Chicken keema karahi wrapped in a chapatti

So good wrapped in a hot chapatti!

Scraping the karahi

In order to get this chicken keema karahi to look and taste street food style, you need to cook over a high heat. 

As you do, some of the sauce will caramelise or cook onto the karahi. Scrape this back in for more flavour. 


Yield: 4

Chicken Keema Karahi

Chicken Keema Karahi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 500ml (2 cups) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 700g skinless chicken thighs, finely minced with a sharp knife
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 – 4 green bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 5 – 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock or water
  • 5 green bullet or finger chillies, roughly chopped or in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) ginger, julienned
  • 3 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large karahi or wok over a medium high heat. When visibly hot, add the finely chopped chicken and move it all around in the hot oil. Fry for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and just
    beginning to get crispy in places. Pour out all but about 70ml (1/4 cup) of the oil. You can discard the oil or strain and use it in another dish.
  2. Stir the garlic and ginger paste into the chicken and continue frying and stirring for about a minute. Add the bird’s eye chillies and ground spices and stir well to combine. Then add the quartered tomatoes and chicken stock or water. Bring to a simmer and then cover the pan to continue simmering for about 5 minutes.
  3. Take the lid off the pan and continue cooking. As the sauces simmers and thickens, the tomato skins will begin fall off. Fish them out. It is not hugely important that you do this but that is how it’s done at dabba restaurants for better presentation. As the curry continues to cook, the remaining oil will begin to rise to the top. If you wish, you could skim this off the top or leave it in which is more authentic and delicious too.
  4. Stir in the bullet chillies and let them cook in the hot keema for a couple of minutes. They should look fresh and not completely cooked.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then garnish with the julienned ginger and coriander (cilantro) to serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 642mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 49g

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