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Indian Chicken Karahi

What's The Big Idea?

I think the name karahi derives from the two-handled wok-like pan that this dish is traditionally cooked in, but I'm not sure, so if anyone does know the answer, please get in touch.

I also think that this dish - or this version of it - is probably southern Indian in its origins, but again, I'm not totally sure. What I do know is that it's a personal favourite, but that you don't have to use chicken; prawns or lamb will work just a well. Serve with basmati rice and an ice-cold Indian beer!

Remember to allow time for marination.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1½lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, very finely chopped or grated
  • 6-8 dried curry leaves
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons creamed coconut *
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
* Creamed Coconut is bought in a solid block, and you simply cut off as much as you need, and store the rest in the refrigerator.

What To Do

  • Crush the cardamoms, cloves and chillies in a pestle and mortar (or you can use a coffee grinder if you have one)
  • Mix these with the salt, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric and vinegar to form a paste
  • Rub this paste into the chicken, place in a glass or pyrex bowl, cover and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for a couple of hours
  • Heat the ghee or oil in a wok and fry the onion for 5 minutes
  • Add the garlic, ginger and curry leaves and fry for a further 3 minutes
  • Add the chicken and its marinade to the wok and continue frying for 5 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer
  • Add the creamed coconut, and stir until it has dissolved. Add more water if needed
  • Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through
  • Sir in the lime juice and fresh coriander, and serve

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