Choosing a main dish for Pakistan was not an easy task. Technically, there is not a “national dish” for Pakistan. Yet, there are so many wonderful candidates like: daal roti, which is lentils with flat bread, biryani, a spiced, rice dish with meat, (that some say should be the national dish), nihari, a slow cooked stew, usually made with mutton or goat, and aloo gosht, which is a meat, typically mutton, and potato gravy. In the end, I chose a Pakistani, chicken curry dish called chicken karahi which is ubiquitous there.
Karahi is the name of the pot that the dish is cooked in; shaped similar to a wok but with two handles. I only had two serving dishes in the shape of a karahi but you can get an idea of what it looks like. They make for a perfect plating solution.
Pakistani food, like Indian food, is known for its exotic flavors that will excite your senses, as you cook this most fragrant dish. The main spices and flavors in this chicken karahi are: ginger, garlic, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek and garam masala. Garam masala is a spice blend used often in Pakistani and Indian food which can be purchased here, if you can’t find it at your local market. The Pakistani chicken karahi is garnished with fresh coriander, freshly sliced ginger and fresh chilies, that you can adjust for heat, to your liking.
Sometimes yogurt is added into the Pakistani chicken karahi itself, or it can be served with raita, which is a creamy, yogurt sauce flavored with cucumber and mint. It has a cooling effect which works well with the spicy karahi. I decided to mix grated cucumber, mint and yogurt into the green coriander chutney which I made for the Shami kababs (that was the appetizer I made for our Pakistani, International cuisine meal.) It was the ultimate accompaniment.
We served the Pakistani chicken karahi with a kachumber salad. Salad is typically served along side a Pakistani meal, not as a separate course. Be sure to get the recipe here. With our meal we had naan bread, which can be used to scoop up the curry. Remember to eat with only the right hand (this is customary there.)
Did you know that Pakistan makes more than half of the world’s soccer balls? If you would like to learn even more about Pakistan, go to, “Our Journey to Pakistan,” and get even more great, authentic recipes.
If you have ever been to Pakistan, tell me about your favorite Pakistani dish. I would also love to know how this recipe, chicken karahi, worked for you. If you are looking for authentic Karahi serving dish, I love this but there are many choices.
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Please note that this post may contain affiliate links in which I may earn a small commission but does not in any way affect what you pay. I thank you for your support. If you would like to get a cooking Karahi (also called Kadahi) this is one that looks good here .
Chicken Karahi (Pakistani Chicken Curry)
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 1 inch Ginger fresh, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 lb. chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
- 3 tomatoes medium, diced
- 2 green chilies seeded and chopped add to your heat tolerance
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp fenugreek ground
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more if you like heat
- 1/2 tsp turmeric ground
- 2 Tbsp cilantro fresh, chopped
For the raita
- 1/2 cucumber peeled and rough chopped
- 2 Tbsp cilantro fresh
- 1 Tbsp mint fresh
- 1/4 tsp coriander ground
- 1/4 tsp cumin ground
- 1/2 cup yogurt, plain
- salt to taste
- In a karachi or wok heat the oil and ghee over medium high heat.
Add in the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant.
- Add the chicken pieces and cool until cooked on all sides.
- Reduce the heat add in all the other ingredients except the cilantro and mix well.
- Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid has cooked down. It should take about 20 minutes. If you have too much liquid remove the lid and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until thickened
- Serve the Karahi with the cilantro and you can also serve with additional chilies and ginger as well. It is best served hot and with some naan bread and a green coriander chutney or riata.
For the raita
- In a blender or food processor mix together all the ingredients except the yogurt. One well blended stir place in a bowl and stir in the yogurt. Add salt to taste