Thursday, 14 June 2012

Karahi Chicken

Mama Pongkey's Karahi Chicken
This post was inspired by some comments in a post by Encik Iskandar of fame:

ShahRose said: Coriander leaves (also known as cilantro) are great in murghi karai, a Pakistani dish.

Encik Iskandar replied: I am not yet familiar with Pakistani cuisine.

Karai... karahi... Karahi Chicken...

Karahi (Urdu for wok) chicken was one of my go-to recipes while I was a student in the UK. I usually had most of the ingredients readily stocked in my kitchen, especially since most of them are flavours I already love: tomatoes, coriander, onion, ginger and garlic. The original recipe was from one of those thick cooking tomes, bought for cheap at a discount book store, most likely this one:

I misplaced this huge book. Yes, how is that possible? Image taken from
Blessed, good memories of love, friendship, neighbourliness surround this dish. But for some reason I hadn't made this dish in a long, long while. Partly because we went low-carb, and any curried dishes just increased my cravings for piping hot, steamed white basmathi rice. But since now I have reintroduced some rice into my diet this dish is a go.

So here I am reconstructing this recipe from the cobwebs of my mind. The dominant flavours are onion, tomato, and coriander. The amounts are approximate/guesstimate, because I don't really measure as I cook. Here it goes:

Mama Pongkey's Karahi Chicken

  • 1 kg chicken, cut into small pieces so it will cook quickly 
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped
  • 4-5 green chillies, sliced in an attractive manner
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the onions properly, this is a key step in most Pakistani and Indian dishes
  • Heat up coconut oil and ghee in a wok (okay I am in the process of replacing my non-stick wok, so I am using a claypot instead. :-P)
  • Add in diced onions, and stir fry these until they are oh-so-slightly burnt. Or brown, if you prefer.
  • Add in ginger-garlic paste, cardamom pods and star anise.
  • When the whole thing starts to be a bit sticky, add in the chicken.
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes when the chicken pieces have browned sufficiently.
  • When the chicken is halfway cooked, add the powdered spices, and stir, stir away! 

  • Add some water, I added about 1 cup, and the bay leaf. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • As a last ditch effort, dump in the chillies, stir for a minute and switch off the heat.
  • Just before serving, garnish with cilantro.
And here is our dinner, served with white rice and chilled raita:

Karahi Chicken with Raita and White Ponni Rice


Autumn Belle said...

Phew, I got to whistle on this dish. It looks very delicious and makes my mouth water.

Mama Pongkey said...

Thank you Autumn Belle :-) I am not actually sure how authentic it is. I did not have any green chillies at hand so I just tossed in some really hot kampung cili padi.

hernyhafiz ^_^ said...

Oh mennn..delicious...marvelous

Mama Pongkey said...

Hehehe thanks Herny. Maybe you can give this a go, although I am not sure if Puteri is used to spicy food?