“I’ve had lot of friends ask me how to make a decent curry during lockdown. And to be honest, a lot of the best curries I make do involve spices and techniques that many would struggle with. However, after digging through my notebooks (and there are many!) I found a recipe that I think is simple to make and tastes amazing.” said Ranvir.
The ‘karahi’ dish is famous in Pakistan. As many of you may know, the word ‘karahi’ refers solely to the cast iron pot that the dish is traditionally cooked and served in.
“This does mean that the dish has been made a little generic in restaurants and takeaways across Britain – which is a shame. Hopefully this recipe will let people sample the real thing and it’s so easy to make, so maybe a lot of you will continue to make it after the lockdown ends!” Ranvir adds.
Chicken Karahi - Ingredients
750g boneless chicken thigh (you can use bone-in chicken if you prefer – I do – if so, increase the weight to 1kg and if you fancy lamb, I would recommend using neck fillets)
6 cloves garlic
1 thumb ginger (paste is fine however the taste will not be as vibrant)
3 medium to large tomatoes
3 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
1 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
4 green cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds (use cumin powder if you don’t have seeds)
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder (this is a medium dish so use less if you want it milder and more if you want it hotter – 2 tsp for ‘madras’ strength; 3 for ‘vindaloo’ strength and 4 for ‘phall’ strength)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (again use powder if you don’t have seeds)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tsp powdered mace or nutmeg (this is a great addition to this dish but if you can’t get it then leave it out)
Small handful of fresh coriander
2-3 green chillies
1 thumb ginger (if you used paste earlier then you can omit this but again the dish won’t be as good!)
Cut the chicken thighs into 1-2” pieces
Peel the garlic and ginger and mash into a paste using a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can do this in a food processor or even just dice the garlic and ginger very finely on a chopping board
Cut the tomatoes in half
Measure all your whole spices onto a small plate and do the same for the powdered spices
Finely chop up the fresh coriander and slice the green chillies length-ways
Cut the 2nd thumb of fresh ginger into juliennes
Heat 2 tbp of oil/ghee in a wok or large saucepan. Add the chicken and fry it for 5-10 mins until it browns slightly
Add the garlic and ginger (not the juliennes) and continue to fry for another 5 mins
Add the halved tomatoes and some salt (1-2tsp). Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for around 15 mins. Once this is done lift off the lid and you should be able to remove the tomato skins easily with some tongs – if they aren’t coming off, recover and leave for another 5 mins before removing the skins. You can throw these skins away.)
Stir/mash the tomatoes in with the chicken – this is the beginning of your sauce!
Now add the whole spices and continue to cook until half the liquid has boiled off – it should be semi-dry by now
Now add another 2 tbsp of veg oil or ghee and the powdered spices – mix it all in and dish should be bubbling away nicely
Add the yoghurt and stir in
Cook for 10-15 mins until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is as thick as you want it – you should be fine when the oil splits out of the sauce
Turn the heat off. Add the butter and stir in
Finally add the fresh coriander, green chillies and julienned ginger
Taste and add salt if you need!
Ranvir’s Top Tips: “I prefer to eat this dish with naan but its equally great with rice. I’m not going to go into the making of naan or rice here but if you are not experienced in making either then just buy some ready-made naans and the pre-made basmati rice that can be heated up in the microwave. It’s simple and easy.
Because this dish is quite rich, I like to eat it with a simple fresh onion salad. It’s really easy to make and I’ve included the ingredients and method below.”
Fresh Onion Salad - Ingredients
1 red onion
Chopped fresh coriander
Chopped green chillies (as few or as many as you want)
1 tbsp vinegar (any will do except balsamic – malt/cider is best)
Salt to taste
Slice the onion and rinse it with cold water – put it in a bowl and then add the coriander, chillies (if you want some heat), the juice of the lemon, the vinegar and salt.