What is Charsi Karahi, and How to Make it at Home?

Charsi Karahi is a popular dish in Pakistan, particularly in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. It is made by cooking small pieces of chicken with various spices and herbs in a karahi, a type of wok commonly used in South Asian cuisine.

The term “Charsi” is a slang term that refers to someone who is a drug addict or user, but in the context of this dish, it is used to describe the flavorful and addictively delicious taste of the chicken karahi. 

The dish is famous for its bright color and more authentic flavor, which is achieved through the use of ingredients such as whole tomatoes, green chilies, and salt only.

The meat is typically cooked over high heat, which helps to sear the meat and create a slightly charred flavor. The dish is often served with naan bread or rice and garnished with fresh coriander leaves and lemon wedges.

Why is it Called “Charsi Karahi?”

The dish is called “Charsi Chicken Karahi” because the word “Charsi” in Urdu and Pashto language means a drug addict or a person who is addicted to drugs. The dish has become popular in the city of Peshawar, which is known for its famous drug markets. 

It is believed that the name “Charsi Chicken Karahi” was coined by drug addicts who used to hang out in the area where the dish was first served. 

The dish gained popularity among drug addicts due to its spicy and flavorful taste, and soon became known as “Charsi Chicken Karahi” or “the chicken karahi loved by drug addicts.” However, the dish has nothing to do with drugs, and the name is used only because of its association with the drug-addicted community of Peshawar.

What are the Main Ingredients Used in Charsi Karahi?

Cahrsi karahi has few ingredients. The main ingredients used in Charsi Karahi include:

  1. Goat or lamb meat (sometimes chicken or beef is used as a variation)
  2. Whole Tomatoes
  3. Green chilies
  4. Salt
  5. Oil or ghee (clarified butter)

No spices are used in this dish. Ghee and whole tomatoes are used generously. The dish is often served with naan or roti bread.

What Type of Meat is used in Charsi Karahi?

Charsi Karahi is typically made with tender and juicy pieces of goat or lamb meat, which are marinated in a blend of spices and then cooked in a karahi (a type of wok) with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green chilies. The dish is often garnished with fresh coriander and served with naan or roti bread. Some variations of Charsi Karahi may also use chicken or beef as the main meat ingredient.

How Can You Make Charsi Chicken Karahi at Home?

Making Charsi Chicken Karai is petty easy. You can make it in any wok or a pot. Just saute tomatoes and chicken in ghee/oil with some salt and add green chilies in the end. You can follow this easy demonstration here.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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