After moving to Ireland, I have been experimenting with Pakistani cooking a lot. Back home it was all about enjoying Ammi k hath ka khana (food prepared by my mom) but after moving here as we have to do the cooking ourselves so it’s mostly based on the cravings, which have grown stronger for home cooked desi food. I miss Lahori food a lot! (apart from family of course) and the other day I wanted to have Chicken Tikka and Chicken Karahi so bad that I ended up making Chicken Tikka Karahi. This recipe has authentic Pakistani flavors of both Chicken Tikka and Chicken Karahi.
Chicken Karahi is one of the most popular South-Asian dishes and is probably one with unlimited versions as every person has their unique way of making it. From restaurants to road-side dhabbas and home cooks each recipe has it’s own distinct taste and flavor.
Chicken Tikka is another popular dish from South-Asian region, where Tikka means pieces or small chunks. So, Chicken Tikka is small chicken pieces marinated in spices and yogurt, which are then char-grilled giving it a nice smokey flavor. Chicken Tikka is a dish on its own but is also widely used to prepare other popular dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken and now Chicken Tikka Karahi.
The difference between Chicken Tikka Karahi and Chicken Tikka Masala is the cooking technique and the ingredients. While Chicken Tikka is a constant in both the dishes, the cooking method of Chicken Karahi and Chicken Masala is different.
Chicken Karahi is prepared in a special cooking utensil, the Karahi (pronounced Ka-ra-hee) a deep cooking vessel with two handles similar to a wok but with slightly steeper sides. So the name Chicken Karahi is after the cooking vessel. There is also another similarity with Chinese style of cooking in a wok that Chicken Karahi is also prepared using stir-fry method. Only a few ingredients are used in it’s preparation, bone-in chicken, tomatoes, garlic and ginger along with simple Pakistani spices. The karahi gets the kick of heat from fresh green chilies and chili flakes. It’s a semi-curry (drier curry) where the masla clings to the chicken pieces making them even more flavorful.
Whereas Chicken Tikka Masala is a boneless chicken curry with a creamy and luscious tomato base infused with spices.
This Chicken Tikka Karahi recipe is a blend of both Chicken Karahi and Chicken Tikka Masala where the Chicken Tikka is taken from chicken tikka masala and is prepared Chicken Karahi style. You get the best of both in this recipe. Serve this lip smacking and awesomely delicious dish with tandoori roti or naan with a side of kachumber salad ( a simple salad made with chopped onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, salt, black pepper and lemon juice).
I hope you’d enjoy this delicious Chicken Tikka Karahi recipe as much as we did.
Chicken Tikka Karahi – Pakistani Style (Murgh Tikka Kadai)
- 500 grams Chicken (bone-in)
- 1 Tbsp Chargha Masala (optional, see notes)
- 1/2 tsp Chaat Masala
- 1 tsp Dried Fenurgreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Red Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper crushed
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
- 1/4 tsp Orange food color (optional, see notes)
- 3 Tbsp Natural Yogurt (beaten)
- 1 Tbsp Ghee or Oil
- 2 Tbsp Ghee or Oil
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
- 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Paste
- 3 Tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds (roasted and coarsely ground)
- 1/2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds (roasted and coarsely ground)
- 1/2 Tbsp Red Chili Flakes
- 2-3 Green chilies (sliced)
- 1 inch Ginger (julienne)
- Chopped Coriander
- Green Chilies chopped
- lemon juice
- In a bowl whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and coat well with the marinade. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge
- Heat ghee or oil in a grill pan or non-stick pan over high heat and place the chicken pieces on it. Don’t over crowd, keep the left over marinade. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the chicken is charred about 5-6 minutes each side. Take out and keep in a bowl until further use
Preparing the Karahi
- In the karahi heat ghee/oil and butter over medium-high heat, when it melts add ginger and garlic paste.
- stir frequently not to burn the ginger and garlic, when fragrant and lightly golden add chopped tomatoes along with the salt, red chili powder and turmeric. Mix and add 1/2 cup water
- When the tomatoes are soft reduce the heat to medium and add in the remaining chicken tikka marinade, mix well. Add coarsely ground cumin, coriander and red chili flakes. Give it a mix
- Now add the prepared Chicken Tikka along with green chilies and ginger, mix it all and cover the pan for 5 minutes. Let cook on medium heat
- After 5 minutes, do a taste check and adjust seasoning.
- Garnish with fresh coriander, green chilies and ginger with a squeeze of lemon juice
- serve with Tandoori Roti or Naan