Chicken Karahi

Chicken Karahi

How can a dish, with such few ingredients, that is so easy to make, be so delicious?!

Named after the wok shaped pot it is cooked in, it is a great answer for a quick fix, crowd pleasing dish. You just can’t go wrong with it. Chicken karahi is the fastest to make, but any kind of karahi is great- lamb, mutton, beef, and I’ve seen some vegetables like potatoes and eggplant cooked in karahi form too.

My go-to chicken karahi recipe is made using canned tomatoes. It takes so many fresh tomatoes that it’s just easier to throw in a can instead. I go through tomatoes so fast that there are just never enough around. But of course, fresh tomatoes will elevate the dish.

Typically, the chicken is cut into smaller pieces than the usual 12 pieces, into 16 or 18 pieces. I just use the usual 12 piece chicken, though. Chicken karahi is not made with boneless chicken.

Oh, I don’t actually make this in a karahi. I use a flat bottomed pot because it takes much longer for all the liquid to evaporate in a karahi, and I just don’t have the time!


  • 1 chicken
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes* + 2 small roma tomatoes** OR 6 fresh tomatoes
  • 4-5 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • Salt to taste (I use about 1 heaped teaspoon)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (optional- I recently started adding this and love it!)
  • ¼ cup oil

*For the gluten free version, please make sure that the canned tomatoes do not contain traces of wheat, as some varieties do.

**For me, 1 can is not enough and 2 are too much, so I use 1 or 2 of fresh tomatoes as well. It offsets the ‘canned’ taste a little too.


  1. Heat the oil on medium high heat.
  2. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor/blender for a few seconds. Keep aside.
  3. Add ginger, garlic and salt to the oil. Give it a couple of stirs and immediately add the chicken. Turn the heat almost to high.
  4. Fry for about 3-5 minutes until it turns golden brown. Do not stir. Turn it over and fry the other side. If your pot is not that wide, then bhoonofy until it turns golden brown and is no longer pink.
  5. Add green chilies and tomatoes to the chicken. Stir them in, bring to a simmer and turn the heat to medium low. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat to medium high, partially uncover the pot and let most of the liquid evaporate.
  7. Remove the lid and carefully give it a few stirs as the rest of the liquid evaporates and the oil runs clear.
  8. Garnish with sliced ginger and cilantro and serve hot with naan.
Chicken karahi step by step

Chicken Karahi Step by Step (Click to enlarge)


WARNING: If you are making 2 chickens, do not add 2 cans of tomatoes to the chicken! By the time all the liquid evaporates, the chicken will have turned to mush! If you are making more than one chicken, then reduce the tomatoes in a separate saucepan.

If you don’t have a food processor or a blender, then don’t worry about it. Canned tomatoes don’t dissolve too easily, so you might be able to see the bits. It doesn’t affect the taste.

Don’t stir too much. The chicken will completely fall apart. There is a lot of water content in the tomatoes and the chicken will be very tender.

Typically, this dish is not served with rice.

Chicken Karahi

Chicken Karachi

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