Afghani Charsi Lamb Karahi

Those of us living in the UK have seen many an influx of different races and creeds, each bringing into Britain their very own personal cuisine, always tried and tested by locals.  At present the Afghanis are making in-roads into the local restaurant scene with their very own specialities, some very similar to Pathan cuisine e.g Chapli kebabs.

The one thing that has really taken off in London is the karahis they make; they are special and different, with names like Afghani karahi, Charsi karahi, kali mirchi (pepper) karahi.

Below is my version of the recipe for Charsi karahi, I am not sure if the name originates from the brothers Charsi or when it was made for a Charsi (drug addict)!! but like any other recipe there are many versions of this.

You can make this with chicken cut into 2 inch pieces, adjust cooking time.

I always dry roast all my spices and then grind them coarsely ready for cooking, if this is not something you do, I suggest you take the dry coriander, whole cumin and whole black pepper pods, roast them on a low heat in a dry frying pan and then grind them in readiness for making this karahi.


  • 2 tbs pure ghee/butter
  • 8 tbs olive or other oil
  • 2lb spring lamb cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tbs fresh crushed ginger
  • 8 finely sliced small green chillies (reduce or omit for mild)
  • 1½lb fresh sliced tomatoes
  • 1 tbs coarsely ground roasted dry coriander
  • 1 tbs coarsely ground roasted whole cumin
  • 1 tbs coarsely crushed black pepper
  • 1 tbs butter/ghee (for tarka)
  • juice of one lime/half a lemon
  • 2 tbs sliced fresh ginger, 4 tbs sliced fresh coriander, lime slices for garnish


  1. Put the ghee/butter and oil into a karahi or an iron wok, add the lamb pieces and salt and fry on high heat, turning over from time to time until meat pieces turn brown.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies, and 2 cups of water, cook covered on low heat for 20-25 mins or until meat is ‘almost’ cooked. Add more water as required.
  3. Add the tomatoes, dry coriander, cumin and black pepper, mix in, cook until tomatoes are assimilated into the mixture.
  4. Bhun well and ensure oil oozes out and all the ingredient are cooked to a pulp.  Add the lime/lemon juice, mix in.
  5. Remove the lamb into a balti/wok, or leave in the pan/wok used for cooking.
  6. Put the remaining tablespoon of ghee/butter into a frying pan, heat until ‘smouldering’, add to the serving dish with the meat – this is called tarka or tampering.
  7. Garnish with the sliced fresh ginger, coriander and lime slices enjoy with fresh chapattis or naans, this is not suitable for eating with rice.




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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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