Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Karahi Chicken


As we pulled up to the new market, we had no idea what to expect. The trip was just long enough that the kids fell asleep in the back of the car. There were the usual signs of a Grand Opening - colorful, triangle flags strung across the front of the store...hustle and bustle in the parking lot. There was a young Indian woman dressed in a Sari offering customers cool cups of tea...

My husband and I decided (in the interest of letting sleeping babes lay) I would run into the store to scope it out, while he hung back with the kids. I opened the car door and with a great sense of excitement (curbed only by my own conscience not to get too worked up in case of immense disappointment) ...I entered the market...


Ten minutes later....I approached the window to my husband's side of the car, "wake those little ones up, THIS you need to see..."

There were aisles and aisles of foreign vegetables, spices, nuts, flours, chutneys, Basmati rice and cookware. There were Indian families filling their carts with a sense of knowledge and confidence I so wished I possessed...

Spiky looking gourds, small beans in paper like husks, bark like pods... I wanted to know what everything was and exactly what I would do with it.  Instead, without looking too obvious (or so I thought at the time) I began shadowing people.  I took note of the items they were placing in their baskets ...then I would do the same....


But as we left the market that day and returned was CLEAR we were overwhelmed and ill-prepared. Turns out those spiky "gourd like" things I bought were, Indian Bitter Melons...coined, "the most bitter fruit on earth."  Words online such as, "detest" and "abhor" were just a few choice adjectives people used to described its taste.

In the meantime, I've been scouring my Indian Cookbooks and compiling a list of ingredients I MUST pick up the next time I return to the Market...and then I made this...Karahi Chicken.


No crazy ingredients here ~ this dish that is sometimes simply referred to as, "Chicken with Green Chilies and Ginger" originally reigns from the boarder of Northern India and Pakistan.

If there is only one dish in the entire world that represents a reason we all just need to get is this one

Tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, ginger and fragrant spices come together to make a simple meal full of complex flavors and textures....serve it with naan or any Indian style bread (photographed here is a store bought PARATHA) and your diner's will suspect you ordered out from your favorite Indian Restaurant!!!

Karahi Chicken
completely adapted from Karahi Chicken by English_Rose on

For the Karahi curry sauce:

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large fresh green chilies (or 4 small ones), chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and grated or finely diced
1 14 ounce can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup water

For the chicken:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 in pieces
cilantro leaf, to garnish


For the karahi curry sauce: heat the oil in a medium to large pot, add the onions, garlic and chillies and fry over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are caramelised.

Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt and garam masala and stir. Mix in the ginger and fire roasted tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the water and cook for about 5 minutes or until the oil surfaces. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

For the chicken: heat the oil in a wok or heavy-based frying pan and add the chicken. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown all over. Add the cooked chicken to the pot with the  karahi curry sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with Basmati rice.



StephenC said...

I'm glad to know I am not the only person who "borrows" photos. This dish looks marvelous and I would love to go to that market.

Donna Elick said...

This all sounds fabulous. Oh, and about the melons... I saw them used on Chopped on the Food Network. You have to cook them. Supposedly they are not so bad when cooked. Good luck! How exciting to have an entire Indian market at your disposal.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

I want to shop there. Now. Let's go!!!! OMG can you imagine the fun we'd have? I can. Its a blast :) This dish looks amazing. Green chili, tomato, ginger, delicious. Must make!

So how's the melon?? did you try it yet? That reminds me of a time we went to the Asian market & I bought what I thought was a dragon fruit (it was labled as such but I had my reservations to its validity). It was a smallish orange tomato looking thing w a top similar to an eggplant. With me? Anyway I thought it was a persimmon not a dragon fruit. We tried it. It was horrible. SO astringent, it literally sucked all the moisture out of our mouths. Dragon fruit, indeed. Nope. Turns out I was right, it WAS a persimmon. And an under ripe one at that. Drag! LOL :) I still haven't tried a dragon fruit yet LOL!

Karen said...

This makes me want to run to the nearest Indian food store! It sounds amazing!
I am completely mesmerized by that first is just gorgeous! I feel like I should be able to smell that divine dish right through the screen. Just WOW!

Unknown said...

Kadahi Chicken looks spicy and delicious. Those are nutritious Indian bittermelons... you can stir fry them but before that I would suggest slicing them into salted water and then squeezing out the water from the slices after about 10 mins to get the "bitterness"out. Then go for a stir fry...Yum

Unknown said...

StephenC - I'm not sure I understand...these photos are all my own... ????

Thanks for the advice guys! The store is a bit of a trip but I will be back soon - MY LIST IN HAND!!!

:) Carolyn

Manju said...

the kadai chicken looks soo good!! The bitter melons are a good buy, i know, you mustve read about all the bad things about them, but trust me, if you scoop out the inner soft portion of it and stir fry nice and crisp with some turmeric, salt and cayenne, it tastes awesome!Probably im one of the few folks out here who like this vegetable! Anyway, nice to know you like to try Indian cooking, you are welcome to pop over to my space to check out any recipes! :)

Anonymous said...

We have an Indian market close to us and the first time I went I walked out in a clueless stupor. So called one of my Indian clients and shrieked "help" and she went with me in a few days and cleared things up. Fun stuff and wonderful flavors. Did not see that prickly gord.

kankana said...

Your space is beautiful and so glad to find it :) This chicken dish looks delicious and perfectly made.
I somehow could never like bitter melon but i know it's good for health and my mom use to just chop them and crispy fry these!

Unknown said...

Thanks all for your wonderful comments and the Bitter Melon advice! I did read some recipes for bitter melon online and there are (like you mention) many who LOVE it!

I LOVE INDIAN CUISINE as it is full of amazing flavor and sophistication - so there is sure to be much more to come!

Thank you again, you all make me keep cooking!!! XO Carolyn :)

Nuts about food said...

I always feel a little intimidated when I go to an exotic market. I want to buy everything and have no idea what half of the things are. This dish looks succulent and it helps that to get the result you didn't have to use the strangest, unknown ingredients. And apparently we are lucky there is no bitter melon in it ;o)

Unknown said...

Glad you found such an amazing market. Finds like that are what makes life so much fun :)
The chicken looks and sounds delicious.. can't wait to try it!

Nicole said...

What a beautiful melon. In an ugly way, but interesting that people say it tastes awful! Love the story of this new exciting store. I know very very little about Indian cooking but love the fact that there's a whole cuisine out there to explore!

laurie said...

That sounded like so much fun!I love learning about new and unusual foods.

Magic of Spice said...

Sounds like such an amazing market! And love curry dishes, this one is no exception...gorgeous!

Dogs Danglies said...

Thanks for posting the recipe Carolyn. I live a short distance from Londons curry capital Brick Lane and after a year of thinking about making a curry i took the plunge and made my wifes favourite using this recipe (like previous posters say the photos were so tempting it made me use this recipe). We were pleased with the results for the 1st attempt and it was a success even though I ended up with a kind of Karahi 'stew' instead!! We had a lot of chicken in the freezer so i had to do a lot of guess work with quantities. One mistake i made was to not double up on the chilli as i did with the other ingredients. Another was using the poor tomatoes we get in the UK - the ones where the pulp verges on being white rather than red which made the curry a little more watery than usual.

However what we liked about the dish was the subtle fusion of the spices and also how little salt was used.

Next time i'll follow the recipe to the letter and i'm sure it well end up even better. Thanks Cazza :)