You know how you feel when you keep meaning to call someone back, someone you really want to see/speak to, but somehow it doesn’t happen and then you run into them somewhere and are awkward and embarrassed? Well that’s how I feel right about now! I have been around though – there is this fun craft the girls I did this winter and my equally fun chat with Devina of My Little Pudding. At least I come bearing gifts – there is this delicious quick Chicken Karahi Qeema, and for those of you who don’t know her, an introduction to the talented Pakistani blogger Fatima from Fatima Cooks. I have been an admirer of hers for quite some time and was browsing her blog for dinner inspiration when I saw her Chicken Karahi Qeema recipe and I was sold. Frankly she had me at the no chopping onions bit. FYI when in my forgetful state I have thrown in a little onion it hasn’t been as good. Just sayin’
A “karahi” for those of you who are wondering is basically a wok. It allows the food you are cooking to cook faster and gives it greater flavor than what would happen if you were to use a smaller pot. If you do not have a wok then use a larger saute pan for optimal results. What makes a Karahi of any kind tasty is the caramelising of tomatoes and that requires surface area (and sadly, oil). You can definitely dial it back, but the flavor will be mellower. My favourite thing to do is to just drain it out in the end by tilting the wok and pressing back on the ground beef with a slotted spoon.
Serve the qeema with your flatbread of choice, some achar or pickled onions and raita. For a fun picnic lunch you can also roll it into a paratha and add your condiments of choice!
Chicken Karahi Qeema
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 tsp kalonji/ nigella seeds
- 1 tbsp ground garlic
- 1 tbsp ground ginger minced is better if possible + a 1.5 inch piece cut into matchsticks for garnish
- 4-5 to matoes finely diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-2.5 tsp red chilli powder
- 1.5 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- green chillies 3-6 sliced lengthwise
- handful of chopped cilantro
- a squeeze of lemon juice optional
- Heat oil in a wok and add the nigella seeds
- When they start to splutter then add the minced/ground ginger and garlic
- Add the ground chicken and the spices and cook on high stirring frequently until the chicken is nicely browned (this is chicken though so it wont get dark like beef does)
- Add the tomatoes, mix well. For quicker cooking cover the dish for a few minutes, this will soften the tomatoes
- Uncover the dish and cook on high until the 'masala' becomes dry and the oil starts to rise. If this is not happening at all you may need to add more oil.
- Add the garam masala, stir, check for seasoning.
- Turn off the flame. Garnish with the chillies, ginger, and cilantro. squeeze over a little lemon juice if using.
Tip: Minced ginger is much better in this dish than ground, but if you are using ground try to make your own. Store bought ones usually have a lot of vinegar in them! If mincing is too much work then simply grate the ginger!