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Chicken Karahi

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You can make this chicken karahi recipe as mild or spicy as you like.

What I have for you hear is a chicken karahi that can be tailored to your own personal spice preferences. If you like my curry house style chicken chilli garlic curry, you will want to try this one just as written. That or add chilli powder for an extra bit of heat. You could also leave out the whole chillies and make this chicken karahi mild. It’s all in your hands.

Chicken karahi

Make this as mild or as spicy as you like.

What is chicken karahi?

Karahi cooking is different to other methods of cooking a curry. The idea is to cook in plenty of hot oil over a high heat. As you do this, it breaks down the sauce ingredients until they emulsify into that characteristic smooth sauce that every loves in a karahi curry.

Although the oil is usually served, you could skim it at the end of cooking for a lighter curry. The oil rises to the top when the curry is finished cooking so skimming is easy. That said, the seasoned oil tastes amazing in the sauce that is usually scooped up with naans or chapatis

What do you serve 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

Want to start your 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.

Working ahead…

The great thing about cooking karahi style is that just like most curries, the flavours develop and the curry becomes even better.

So you can make this chicken karahi a day or two ahead of serving. Then just heat it up and serve.

Do I have to use that much oil?

Yes and no. You could make this chicken curry using just 2 tbsp of oil. It won’t be the same though as the oil helps break down the sauce in a way that water cannot do. 

So if you want the authentic flavour of a karahi curry, use all the oil. If you just want a nice curry and you’re not worried about authenticity, cook with less oil. 

Make this chicken karahi your own.

I have added whole chillies and garlic to the sauce. This is a popular way of serving chicken karahi but you can and should adjust to taste.

Leave these ingredients out if you like. Or add more.

Pro Tips…

  1. Be sure to follow the instructions exactly. It is important to cook this curry over a high and often low heat for best results.
  2. Use all the oil called for. You can always skim it off at the end of cooking. The oil helps break down the sauce ingredients.
  3. Stir often and hard. Scrape any sauce that caramelises to this side of the karahi back into the sauce for added flavour.

Chicken Karahi Step by Step Photos

Ingredients for chicken karahi

Get all your ingredients together before you start cooking. It’s a lot easier.

Frying the chillies and garlic

Heat the oil in a karahi over high heat. Add the chillies and fry until blistered. Then add the garlic to brown lightly.

Fried chillies and garlic

The end result should look like this. Transfer the chillies and garlic to a plate and set aside.

Cooking the chicken

Add the chicken and fry for about 8 minutes or until white on the exterior. Be sure to stir often.

Adding tomatoes to the chicken and oil.

Stir in the tomatoes and push the right down into the oil. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Peeling the skins off the tomatoes.

After cooking the tomatoes for about 7 minutes, remove the skins using tongs and push the peeled tomatoes into the sauce.

Adding garlic and ginger paste, spices and water to the chicken karahi

Add the ground spices and garlic and ginger paste to the curry. Then add the water and bring to a simmer.

Simmering the sauce

Bring the sauce to a steady simmer over a high heat. Stir often!

Adding yoghurt to the sauce.

Stir in the yoghurt and then cover the pan. Simmer for a few minutes.

Adding the fried chillies and garlic to the pan

Return the chillies and garlic to the karahi.

Finished chicken karahi

Continue simmering over a high heat until you are happy with the sauce consistency. The sauce should be quite thick.

Chicken karahi

Plate it up! So good served with fresh chapatis.

Finished chicken karahi curry

Dig in!

Like a good chicken karahi? Try some of my other chicken karahi recipes too!

Butter Chicken Karahi
Chicken Keema Karahi
Black Pepper Chicken Karahi
White Chicken Karahi
Chicken Bhuna Karahi
Chicken and Chickpea Karahi
Authentic Chicken Namkeen
Balochi Chicken Karahi

Yield: 4

Chicken Karahi

chicken karahi
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 125ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1kg (2 lbs) chicken thighs on the bone, cut into three pieces
  • 8 bullet chillies
  • 10 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 7 tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (Optional, more or less to taste)
  • 250ml (1 cup) water
  • 5 tbsp plain natural yoghurt, whisked until smooth
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) ginger, julienned


  1. Heat the oil over a high heat. When bubbling hot, add the chillies and fry them for a few minutes or until blistered and darkened in places. Add the garlic fry until the garlic is beginning to turn golden brown. Transfer the chillies and garlic using a slotted spoon to the plate and set aside.
  2. Now add the chicken to the hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes, moving it around in the pan until white and just cooked through. Add the tomatoes and push them right down into the oil. Cover the pan and simmer on low for about 7 minutes. Remove the lid and you will see that the skin of the tomatoes is peeling off. Remove the
    skins using your hands or tongs which is much easier. If using tongs, give the tomatoes a good squeeze when you remove the skins to help break them down. If the skin is not coming off easily, just continue simmering and it will. Push the tomatoes right down with the back of your spoon into the chicken.
  3. Add the ground spices and garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Then stir in 250ml (1 cup) water and bring to a
    rolling simmer over a high heat, stirring often and hard to move everything around in the karahi. If the sauce is caramelising to the sides of the karahi, scrape it back in for additional flavour.
  4. Cover and simmer over a low heat for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time. Lift the lid and stir
    in the yoghurt. Raise the heat to high and continue stirring vigorously to break that sauce down and thicken. Stir in the fried chillies and garlic and continue simmering and stirring until you are happy with the sauce consistency.
  5. Season with salt to taste and garnish if you like with coriander and julienned
    ginger if you like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 495mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 28g

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