Chicken Karahi (Lahori version)
A week ago, when we were at the garden store hunting for herbs to grow this season, bright sunlight soaked my kid’s hair as he hopped & jumped amidst the plants I was choosing, I reached out & gently ruffled his hair playfully & said, “Did you know, I had the same hair color as yours, when I was younger ?”He smiled & teasingly said, “Whatever happened, now Amma? ?” “Well …” I said winking at him “wisdom took over” grin emoticon grin emoticon So this morning, when I rushed to my busy hair colorist, I was determined to get as close to being “reborn” again.
My mind was racing, I needed to fix a good lunch before I leave for the appointment, yet I’d love to come home to a spicy aroma filled home on a cold Sunday afternoon, so I searched high & low in my pantry for a quick fix solve it all kinda spice…that’s when my eyes fell on this packet I had bought a few months ago from the Pakistani store which had this lovely aroma coming from indoors.
Stepping inside the store & talking to the owner, I was introduced to this dish from Lahore(Lahore is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab ) called the Lahori Chicken Karahi, which was believed to be its star culinary attraction.”Karahi” is the name given to a round steel wok which is used in cooking most of Asian dishes ( the idea behind it is that the heat is distributed evenly , so the food gets well cooked all around).The owner walked around the aisle picked a pack of Karahi powder (Spice Mix) & gave it to me & said,” Try this once & you will understand why I talk so much about our food”.Standing at the cultural crossroads,I took a second to decide, then accepted it gratefully , promising to try it one day & left after paying him.That day was today, I wanted to make something spicy , quick & easy on a cold weekend morning,& this dish did all of it & turned out delicious.
This dish is typically eaten with soft tandoori naan ( a kind of flat bread) to mop up that unctuous juice of the karahi spiced oil running away from the tomatoes, it can also be had a side dish with rice . Enjoy, this culinary delight coming from the land of gastronomic treats.
Chicken ( leg or thigh pieces) -6-8
Onions- 1 big
Green chilies- 6-8 ( slit lengthwise)
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Karahi Powder *- 3 tbsp ( depending on the spice level you can add more or less)
* I used the ready made packet of the spice mix, which basically consists of red chili powder, cumin powder, dried coriander powder, salt,cinnamon, cardamom & black pepper powdered fine, adjust the spice level of ingredients to your preference)
Oil- 2 tbsp (for frying)
Lemon juice – 2tsp
1. Heat a Karahi ( wok) on medium after adding oil to it.When the oil becomes warm add the green chillies &the onions & sauté till golden brown.
2.Add the ginger garlic paste & stir till the raw smell disappears.
3.Now add the tomatoes which are thinly sliced or pureed & let it cook , till the tomatoes turn soft.
4.Now add the chicken pieces gently into the mix after adding the turmeric powder & mix the ingredients well .
5.To this add the Karahi mix & gently stir them all together , so the the chicken is sufficiently coated with the powder mix.Cover with lid & allow it to cook in it’s own steam, chicken lets out water as it cooks, so there is no need to add additional water.
6.Sprinkle lemon juice on top & add salt if required , cook it for a few more minutes until the chicken is completely cooked & is soaked in the aromatic juices.Serve hot with roti, naan or rice.