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Black Pepper Chicken Karahi

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Black pepper chicken karahi is so good! This recipe is one you’ve got to try.

The flavour and zap of black pepper is what makes this chicken karahi so good. If you love freshly ground black pepper, then black pepper chicken karahi is for you.

Below you will also find links to many popular side dish recipes that you can enjoy with your black pepper chicken karahi.

Black pepper chicken karahi

A quick karahi that tastes amazing. You’ve got to try this one.

What are karahi curries?

I must get asked for karahi recipes more than any other. They are that good! A karahi, however is the pan the curry is cooked in.

It’s similar to a wok and is the perfect pan for karahi style cooking. Karahi curries, which originated in Pakistan and northern India are usually quite simple with far fewer ingredients that other popular curries.

The flavour comes from cooking those ingredients in the right way.

What do you serve black pepper chicken 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 black pepper chicken 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.

Getting this black pepper chicken karahi right.

Karahi curries are cooked over a high heat. As the sauce cooks, it caramelises to the side of the karahi. This is scraped back in for more flavour. So although you can cook on a lower heat, it is best to get that heat as high as you can.

Be sure to use the freshest ingredients you can get. In this case, it is really important to use freshly ground black pepper!

Although there is a lot of oil in this black pepper chicken karahi, it is needed for flavour and texture. The oil helps produce the sauce and when it’s finished doing its job, it floats to the top. 

What type of tomatoes are used in a chicken karahi?

Nice big and delicious tomatoes! I prefer fresh vine tomatoes but you could also use plum tomatoes. As they break down in the oil based sauce, they become richer and even more delicious.

In the winter months, when bright red tomatoes are difficult to come by at times, you could use tinned (canned) tomatoes. I recommend using fresh when you can but a can of chopped tomatoes will do nicely. 

Do Chicken Karahi curries include onions?

Some do but usually not. You could always add a finely chopped onion and fry it for a thicker sauce but onions are not normally in an authentic chicken karahi.

Do you have to use that much oil?

No. That said, if you want an authentic karahi sauce, the oil is a must.

As it floats to the top when the curry is finished cooking, you can skim it off if you like. Karahi curries are usually served with all the oil though. You can dip your naan in the sauce and seasoned oil and it is amazing!

Step by step photos of black pepper chicken karahi

Ingredients for black pepper chicken karahi

Get all your ingredients together before starting to cook. It’s a lot easier.


Frying the chicken

Fry the chicken in the oil until white on the exterior and almost cooked through.

Adding the tomatoes to the karahi pan

Add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low or medium and cover the pan to cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

Stirring the sauce

Raise the lid from time to time to stir and smash the tomatoes into the chicken.

Removing the tomato skin from the cooked tomatoes.

After steaming covered for 5 – 7 minutes, remove the tomato skins with tongs or your hands.

Adding the yoghurt to the pan

Once the tomatoes have broken down into the sauce, add the yoghurt.

Stirring the yoghurt into the sauce

Simmer, stir and scrape the sides of the pan to get all that flavour from the caramelisation into the sauce. Add the freshly ground black pepper. 

Reducing the sauce.

Continue simmering over a high heat to reduce the sauce until thick.

Place pepper chicken karahi served on a chapatti.

So good served over a hot chapatti!

Want to try some other chicken karahi recipes? Here you go…

Chicken Keema Karahi
White Chicken Karahi
Chicken Bhuna Karahi


Yield: 4

Black Pepper Chicken Karahi

Black pepper chicken karahi
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 125ml rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1kg (2 lbs) chicken thighs, skinned and cut into three pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain natural yoghurt, whisked
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • More salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 green finger chillies, thinly sliced


  1. Heat the oil in a karahi or wok over a high heat. Add the chicken and salt and fry for about 5 minutes or until white on the exterior and nearly cooked through. Add the halved tomatoes and stir them into the chicken.
  2. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, lifting the lid from time to time to stir.
    Remove the lid and you will see that the tomato skins are coming free from the tomatoes. Using your hands or tongs which is easier, remove the skins and discard. If the skins are not coming off easily, just simmer and stir a bit longer and they will.
  3. Stir in the garlic and ginger paste and the freshly ground black pepper and stir well to combine. Then add the yoghurt and again stir well so that the chicken is completely coated.
  4. Turn the heat up to high and stir, stir, stir! If the sauce is carameling to the sides, scrap it back into the sauce.
  5. Now add the ground coriander and cumin and stir it into the sauce as well. Give it all another good stir, scraping the sides of the karahi as you do and then reduce the cooking temperature to low and cover the pan. Simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
  6. When you raise the lid, the oil will have risen to the top. This is a good indication that the curry is ready to serve. Try it and add more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander (cilantro) and thinly sliced chillies if you like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 1007mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 29g

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I hope you enjoy this black pepper chicken karahi recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 

Jennifer Batten

Friday 24th of March 2023

We are a family of six and chicken is an inexpensive way of eating wholesome food from scratch. Simple fast and fresh you nailed it guys. Kids can't have chilli but we are putting little at a time to build up their tolerance. Gotta start somewhere!

Dan Toombs

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Great to hear, I agree chicken works well as a relatively inexpensive meal. Thanks very much. Dan

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