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Chicken Jalfrezi Karahi

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This delicious chicken jafrezi karahi is just one of 10 popular chicken karahis on my blog.

If you like a good chicken jalfrezi, you are going to love this chicken jalfrezi karahi. Jalfrezi curries originated in southern India but they are popular all over the country now. This is a chicken jalfrezi recipe like you would get served in Pakistan and northern India.

You’ll also find links to some of the most popular side dishes that you can make to go with your chicken jalfrezi karahi.

Chicken jalfrezi karahi

You definitely want to try this!

What is the difference between the original jalfrezi and this chicken jalfrezi karahi?

Chicken jalfrezi means quick stir fry. That is how it was first made in the days of the British Raj. A little oil was added to a pan and everything was stir fried until cooked through. The meat added to the jalfrezi was always pre-cooked leftovers from the night before.

This is similar to how jalfrezis are cooked at British curry houses, with pre-cooked meat. The difference is that instead of adding water to make the sauce, a base curry sauce is added.

With this chicken jalfrezi karahi, there is no need for a base sauce. The chicken is cooked in a good amount of oil and that oil helps break the ingredients down into a karahi style sauce. It is amazing!

What do you serve chicken jalfrezi 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 jalfrezi 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.

Do you have to use that much oil?

Yes and no. If you want the real deal, you need to use at least 125ml (1/2 cup) oil. The oil helps break down the sauce ingredients until you have that traditional and much loved chicken jalfrezi karahi sauce.

Once the oil has don’t it’s job, however, you could skim it off the top. It is usually not skimmed though. If you really want to use less oil, go ahead and just use a couple of tablespoons. Your chicken jalfrezi karahi will still be delicious. You just might need to add a little water to assist cooking. 

Chicken jalfrezi karahi in step by step photographs.

Ingredients for chicken jalfrezi karahi

Get your ingredients together before starting. It’s easier that way.

Infusing whole spices into the oil in the karahi

Heat the oil in a karahi or wok over a high heat. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, stir in the cumin seeds.

Adding the chopped onions

Quickly add the chopped onions. This will cool the oil down so that you don’t burn the cumin.

Adding the chicken to the hot oil

Add the chicken to the hot oil and stir well to combine with the other ingredients.

Adding the ground spices.

Once the chicken is cooked through, Add the ground spices and stir well to coat the chicken.

Adding the tomatoes to halved tomatoes to the curry

Add the whole tomatoes to the curry and cover the pan. Cook on low for 8 minutes.

Simmering sauce

As the curry simmers and the tomato skins are removed, the sauce will become rich and smooth.

Adding the chopped vegetables to the karahi

Add the bell peppers and red onion petals. Simmer uncovered or cover to cook the veggies through.

The finished Chicken jalfrezi karahi

Simmer the sauce down until you are happy with the consitency. Add the cherry tomatoes to cook lightly just before serving. Season with salt to taste

Chicken jalfrezi karahi

Serve garnished with juilienned ginger and coriander (cilantro).

Finished chicken jalfrezi karahi

Ditg in!

Yield: 4

Chicken Jalfrezi Karahi

Chicken jalfrezi karahi
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 125ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) chicken thighs, on the bone and cut in half
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 – 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 6 tomatoes, halved
  • 3 – 4 green bird’s eye chillies, thinly slice (or to taste)
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and broken into petals
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5cm (2 inches) ginger, julienned
  • 5 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large karahi or wok over a high heat. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle in the hot oil, add the cumin seeds followed immediately by the sliced onions.
  2. Allow the onions to fry for about 7 minutes, stirring often until they are soft and turning a light golden brown. Pour in the chicken and fry for a few minutes or until the exterior is turning white. Then add all the ground spices and stir well to combine.
  3. Add the halved tomatoes and chopped chillies and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 8 minutes.
  4. Lift the lid. You will find that the skin from the tomatoes is beginning to peel off. Peel the skin and remove it when it is easy to do so. You could use tongs to do this as it’s easier than using your hands. You might need to cook a little longer to remove all the skin, smashing the tomatoes into the oil as you do.
  5. Add about 1 tsp salt and stir it in. Cover the pan and continue cooking over a low to medium low for about 8 minutes. Lift the lid again and stir in the bell peppers and red onion. Continue simmering over a medium high heat until the sauce has reduced down to your liking and the bell peppers and onion are just cooked through.
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes to cook though lightly just before serving. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the julienned ginger and chopped coriander (cilantro).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g

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