Fragrant and delicious Pakistani style Chicken Curry that is made right in the comfort of your home! This is a very popular Pakistani/Indian curry that you have seen on many restaurant menus. The bone in chicken provides the depth of flavor, spices are pretty straightforward. The thick luscious gravy is from onions and lots of tomatoes. There are many different variations across the region, but today I’m sharing how I make this family favorite. Hope you enjoy it!
Traditionally this dish is cooked in a Karahi which is a circular metal cooking vessel. That is where the dish gets the name. This pot is similar to a wok. This type of a curry with a thick sauce will go great with roti or naan.
CHICKEN-I highly recommend that you use a whole cut up chicken. Make sure the pieces are cut small not large. That is where a lot of flavor comes from. Make sure not to cook cold chicken, always let the meat come to room temperature before cooking. This ensures the meat will not be tough.
OIL-In curries I try to use neutral oils like avocado, vegetable or canola oil. Light olive oil works great as well. You also want to make sure you add enough oil since we are using a lot of tomatoes. If towards the end of cooking time you feel like more oil is needed to sauté the onion, tomatoes and spices you can add little bit more. Start with 1/2 cup.
TOMATOES-This is how you get the gravy nice and thick. I have added 5 medium vine tomatoes. But you can use up to 7 to have little more gravy. If you use more than 5 tomatoes add more oil. You want to make sure the tomatoes are ripe and juicy. I have also used little tomato paste. Tomato paste adds a nice color and consistency to the curry. I purred the tomatoes you can finely dice as well.
GINGER/GARLIC-I always prefer to use fresh ginger/garlic paste. There is a difference in flavor when fresh is used.
There should be no need to add extra water because of the amount of water in the tomatoes. But towards end of cooking time if you feel like chicken is sticking to pan you can add little water.
- 1 chicken cut into small pieces (about 2.5-3lbs)
- ½-3/4 cup oil (neutral oil like vegetable, canola or light olive oil)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green chili, chopped
- ½ tsp. red chili flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ inch piece of ginger, crushed
- 6 medium vine tomatoes, diced or purred
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1½ salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tsp. red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. Kashmiri red chili (optional, adds vibrant color)
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 2 tsp. roasted cumin powder
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- For Garnish: ¼ tsp. dry fenugreek leaves, ¼ tsp. black pepper, julienned ginger, fresh chopped cilantro & some fresh lemon juice.
- Have all ingredients ready and measured out.
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add ½ cup of oil. Once the oil is hot add cumin seeds. Let these sizzle for about 10 seconds. Than add onions and green chili. Sauté till light golden brown about 5-6 minutes. Add chili flakes and ginger/garlic and sauté for about 15 seconds.
- Add chicken and let it sear for about 5 minutes, it should get some color on it. Add tomatoes and powder spices, mix well. Keep heat on medium and let it cook for about 15 minutes, stirring in between. If the chicken pieces are large you can give another 10 minutes or so. If you feel like the curry is sticking to pan you can add little water. But there should be enough water from the tomatoes.
- Towards end of cooking time you want to make sure excess water has evaporated and oil is separated. If this has not happened you can add little more oil at this stage and turn up the heat to get reduce excess water.
- Garnish with fenugreek leaves, small bunch of chopped cilantro, just a squeeze of lemon juice, ¼ tsp. black pepper & some julienned ginger.
- Serve hot with naan, roti or rice