Mamma’s Homemade Chicken Karahi

Although I’ve been brought up on Indian food I rarely make it. For starters it’s not N’s favourite but also I never thought I could make it as well as my mum so I never bothered. But every few weeks or so I get a random urge to cook something fragrant and full of spice. Or sometimes I am nudged into it as the case was last week! I had just defrosted a couple of chicken breast fillets with a view to making a casserole or a risotto but that very same morning my mum-in-law dropped round some yummy daal (lentils) that she had made. My two choices were to waste the chicken or cook something that went with daal. I normally make tandoori chicken but I had defrosted breast pieces and was worried it  would taste dry if it was oven cooked. A dish with gravy would be better. I happened to drop my dilemma into conversation with my mum and she gave me the inspiration I needed. The recipe below is hers, although if you ever asked her she would say she never cooks to recipes she just does what works! When I was growing up my mum used to tell me cooking was easy. I never believed her but I think she was right. Anyone can cook….but it helps to have a good teacher. Thank you mum! 

Chicken Karahi 
(Serves 2 | total prep and cooking time 30-40 mins plus marinating time) 


– 2 chicken breasts (or equivalent thighs) cut into 1-inch pieces
– marinade (2 tbs yoghurt, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, pinch garam masala, 1/2 tsp tumeric, pinch salt)
– 1 small onion – very finely chopped
– 3-4 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
– 1-2 inch piece of ginger – finely chopped 
– teaspoon finely chopped chilli (optional) 
– cumin seeds (approx 1 heaped teaspoon) 
– coriander powder (1 teaspoon)
– cumin powder (1 teaspoon) 
– tumeric (1/2 teaspoon) 
– 3 tomatoes – chopped 
– 1 tablespoon tomato purée
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander 
– salt to taste 
– water 
– mix the marinade in a large bowl and stir in the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours but overnight is better
– heat a large frying pan and place the chicken and all the marinade in it. Fry it until the marinade dries out and the chicken starts to colour. Set aside 
– heat some oil in a saucepan or sauté pan and add the cumin seeds. Fry until they start to colour
– fry the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli (to make sure they are finely chopped and made into a paste consistency you can do this in a food processor)
– add the dry spices
– add the tomatoes and tomato purée and stir well 
– add the chicken and stir well 
– add coriander, salt and pour in a little bit if water
– cover and cook for 20-30 mins until the chicken is cooked. Add more water if it dries out 

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