Jump to the No Tomato Karhai Chicken Recipe
If you had asked me if I had ever had a Karhai Chicken without tomatoes I would have firmly insisted no. And then I did and it all came back to me. Cramming into cars to go to the highly recommended highway restaurant, the charpoys and takhts scattered over large areas, the waiters deftly going by with their hot naans, and the smell, that amazing smell wafting through the air. It is the spices, but more than the spices its charcoal. Really, there is something about that smell that makes you feel like you can almost taste the best tikka in the world or perphaps the best karhai chicken.
Please note that the spice level in this recipe is quite high, but please do feel free to take it down a notch. I personally like the whole my mouth is on fire where is the cold bottle of coke when I need it feeling. But that's just me.
Diya A. Khan a woman of many culinary talents which you can catch on her appearances on Masala TVs Lively Weekends show originally shared this recipe on a Facebook group. It gained enormous popularity and I had to try it. I was a little bit in love. Ok maybe more than a little bit. Fortunately for me she graciously okayed my sharing the recipe here.
Now here are some key notes on cooking Karhai Chicken. Use a large dish, preferably a wok. Traditionally you cook the chicken until the water it releases dries up then add oils and spices or you cook it in generous oil, remove the pieces, make your masala and put the chicken back. Ideally you would make it with bone in chicken. However, since I didn't have the patience to defrost mine (true story) I used boneless chicken and adapted the recipe accordingly. This makes a dry in your face spicy Karahi Chicken, if you want something with a little more gravy then add a little whipped yogurt to it. The koylay ka dum is an absolute must.
Please note you need to heat a coal on a stovetop, not get it ready to barbecue raw chicken on to create that smoky effect. I have a ceramic cooktop and it works just fine 🙂 This is definitely a dish served best when it is hot, but I love the idea of making a delicious wrap with this chicken as well. Chicken breasts is convenient, but capricious. If yours gets tough add a generous splash of water, simmer until tender.
No Tomato Highway Chicken Karhai
- 1 lb Boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces
- 7-10 Green Chillies, sliced
- 1 tbsp Chopped Ginger
- ½ tbsp Chopped Garlic
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Oil/Ghee for Cooking
- Handful of Coriander leaves
- Julienned Ginger for Garnish
- ½ tbsp Coriander powder
- ½ tbsp Red Chilli Flakes
- ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Kasoori Methi
- ½ tbsp Chaat Masala
- ½ tsp Khatai/Raw Mango Powder
- ¼ tsp Black Salt
- ½ tsp Garam Masala Powder
- Dry roast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a pan until darker and aromatic, pulse a few times to coarsely grind. Mix in remaining Karhai Masala ingredients
- Add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies to the oil, cook for 30 seconds and add the chicken pieces, salt and pepper.
- Saute until ALL the pieces have changed color i.e. no longer look raw
- Add a splash of water and cook on medium heat stirring often and when the chicken is almost done (test by breaking a piece) add the Karhai Masala, Lemon Juice and Julienne Ginger (if using) and stir fry for another minute.
- Turn off the stove.
- Cover the dish and heat a piece of coal on the stove top till you can see parts of it changing color. Put a piece of foil in your wok, place the coal on top, add a splash of oil and as soon as smoke billows from it shut the dish for at least five minutes
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with your flatbread of choice
This really looks like an interesting recipe and love all the spices. Pinning for later.
Thanks Jere, I appreciate it!!
Christina Shoemaker says
I love the heat in this dish! I'd definitely enjoy all the spices and can't wait to make it!
Wow, I've never heard of heating coal on the stove top before! Great tip about stopping the chicken getting dry too. It looks like a scrummy dish (and I'm now craving cold coke!)
it's an easy way to get in grilling flavour without putting on the grill!
I think that I will love this with or without tomatoes, sounds very delicious with all the amazing spices that you've added.
thank you so much Diana!!!
I'm with you on the spice factor. Loving the great combination of spices you used in this recipe.
Charu Chhitwal says
I love how this recipe sounds. I personally love that coal smoke effect, and I give it to my Mutton recipe, like a tempering right at the end, and it gives a lovely flavour
Dude, I've made this and it is AMAZING! So so good!
Marie - Not Enough Cinnamon says
I had never heard of chicken karhai before but I love the sound of it. All these spices sound amazing!
Thanks so much Marie!
No tomatoes!!! I am trying this for a dinner party tomorrow 🙂
No piyaz and no tamatar? SOLD! Always on the lookout for highway wali karahi recipes - will try 🙂
Preeya Malik says
Sounds delicious! Chat masala is an interesting addition that I've never tried.
I usually don't put it either but here it works!
I made this yesterday and it was AMAZING! I've never had karahi this good! Thank you Sarah!!!
Yay!!! It is crazy good isn't it? I had a little trouble believing it myself hehehe
Hands down the best karhai I've ever had!
ohmigosh that is AMAZING to hear! thank you!
Tooba Ali says
This recipe has given me serious street cred! It is very simple to make and the results are always masterful. Thanks Sarah
Alright!!!! Absolutely loved hearing that - thank you so much for taking the time to tell me!!!!
Chandra Martinez says
I see to grind coriander seeds in the first step, but then I don’t see them in the recipe. I want to make this tomorrow, can you clarify? Thanks so much for the recipe and idea!!!
Hey Chandra! They are part of the Karhai Masala that gets mixed together! SO excited for you try this!
Faisal Jan Sarhindi says
Its now a family favourite, I do it without that coal steam effect. Used the same recipe with boneless and without... Amazing taste every time. Thanks Sarah!!!
I am so so glad to hear that Faisal!!!