Karahi is named after the pan in which it was originally cooked – a heavy, often cast-iron pan that is similar to a wok but rounder with a flatter bottom. Traditionally, the meat was stewed and fried in this karahi over an open fire.
Chicken karahi is characterized by its rich tomato base and a fragrant finish of green chillies, coriander and bits of ginger.
- Black pepper
- Garam Masala
- Ghee / oil
- Green chillies
CHICKEN CUTS AND USES OF CHICKEN WITH THE BONE
Traditionally, Karahi is made from sliced whole chicken. One tip for chicken cutlets is to make sure the pieces of chicken are small. This is often called a karahi cut, which is 1 chicken cut into approximately 18 pieces. Basically, try not to use a large chicken (this recipe calls for 2-2.2 lbs) or large pieces.
You can also use boneless chicken, although you will cook the chicken for less time and spend more time sauteing the moisture.
How to Cook
- Heat the oil and fry the chopped onion. Fry the onions until they are slightly golden. Then add the garlic, ginger and green chillies. The onions will color as the aromatics cook.
- Fry the chicken. This technique called “bhunai” roasts the meat and gives it a richer flavor and color. A sprinkling of salt helps layer the flavor here.
- Add tomatoes, spices and salt. The moisture from all the tomatoes will be enough to cook the chicken while still keeping it moist.
- Cover and cook. Allowing the chicken to simmer slowly, covered, results in tender chicken and well-developed flavors. This also helps the tomatoes to decompose well.
- Uncover and stir-fry on high heat to fry the water. Once the chicken gets shiny, once the ghee/oil starts separating, you are done.
Stir in the yogurt. I’ve experimented with adding yogurt before, but found that I like the distinct flavor and consistency it adds when added at the end. After adding the yogurt, continue to cook until the oil starts to leave the sides again.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed pan to high heat and add the ghee and oil. Once hot, add the onions and fry for 5-6 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the garlic, ginger and whole green chillies and saute for about a minute.
- Add the chicken and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté for 5 minutes or until the chicken changes color and stops releasing water. Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin, red chilli and remaining salt and sauté for another minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover and let the chicken cook for 20 minutes, stirring once in between.
- Uncover and increase heat to high. Fry for 10 minutes to finish cooking the chicken and reduce the excess liquid.* You will notice that the chicken will take on a shiny appearance as the ghee/oil starts to separate.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the whipped yogurt and sauté gently for 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. (I usually need an extra 1/8 tsp.) Add freshly ground black pepper and garam masala and stir to combine. Top with green chillies, julienned ginger and coriander. Serve hot with roti, naan, bread or rice.
Finish with freshly ground black pepper and garam masala and stir. Garnish with green chillies, chopped ginger and coriander.
Curries with a lot of sauce (like classic chicken curry) usually go well with both rice and roti, and curries with minimal sauce (like mixed vegetable curry) go well with roti. Since chicken karahi is a ‘dry’ curry, it goes well with Tandoori naan, paratha, roti or other bread.