Karhai Chicken

I have just rustled this up for tea and it only took about 15 minutes! including making the curry paste! luckily I had all the ingredients in my spice cupboard. If you made a large batch of the curry paste and save it you could make it in 10 minutes easily.

This comes from the book – “Curry Nation” by Madhur Jaffrey. I took this book out of the library as there is no more room in my house for recipe books and magazines! This way i get to pick the best recipes out of loads of books and put them on here for future reference which is part of the reason for my blog! This curry felt all wrong as soon as I started  – it went against everything I have ever learnt about making a curry but I trusted the author and what a curry it was! A few tweaks next time and this will probably be my favourite curry recipe.


For the curry paste ( Basaar mix)- this will make around 100g of curry paste. The recipe only calls for one tablespoon.

50g Chilli powder
25g Paprika
2 tsp Tumeric
1 1/2 Tsp ground Corriander
1 1/2 Tsp ground Cumin
1 1/4 Tsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp ground Fenugreek
1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek leaves (Methi)
1/8 teaspoon Asafoetida
4 teaspoons of Mustard oil (I used olive)

Mix all these ingredients in a bowl and drizzle in the oil and rub the oil into the spice powders. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. You could even freeze small blocks for future curries.

Karhai Ingredients

2 medium tomatoes blended
1 tomato – quartered
500g Skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks. Breast if you must.
1 medium Onion – chopped finely
3 tablespoons grated Ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoons grated Garlic ( Or you could just use the frozen blocks for both ginger and garlic)
3 Tablespoons Yoghurt or creme fraiche
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of the Basaar Curry paste.
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander
4 Tablespoons olive oil.

Mix together the raw chicken, blended tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, yoghurt, asafoetida and salt and put into a dry, cold, large wok – preferably about 9 inches in diameter and then turn the pan on to the highest heat setting you can get.

Cook the chicken stirring continually for about 5 minutes then add the Basaar paste, coriander and cumin and stir for a further minute.

Pour in the oil last, incorporate and cover for 1 minute then stir in the tomatoes. Stir for a few more minutes until the oil has pooled on the surface.

I did add a bit more salt a knob of butter and a splash of white wine vinegar at the end for a bit of a tangier, richer taste though. Try it first and see what you think!


The book says ” This curry is made in an almost upside down manner: the oil is added after the ingredients are practically cooked. This technique relies on a very high cooking heat to dry off the cooking liquids leaving the oil to brown the meat and seasonings.



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