Shinwari Lamb/Chicken Karahi

The Shinwaris, are a nomadic Afghan people and those that have moved to Pakistan have succeeded in establishing themselves via their food.

As with any new migrants, familiar food provides much comfort, so the Afghans have opened up small ‘dhabas; (roadside restaurants) on major trunk roads and in some of the cities too. These are not only frequented by truck drivers but are now trendy eating places due to the authenticity of their foods.

One of the many different karahis they made is known as Shinwari karahi, and I have seen it served with a naan steeped in some of the karahi juices and water. It is truly a mouth-watering combination.


  • 500g fresh tomatoes
  • half cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs ghee or 2 tbs butter
  • 1 kg lamb shoulder or chicken with bones cut into pieces
  • 1 tbs fresh garlic paste
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger paste
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • half tsp turmeric
  • one cup plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 2 tsp chillie flakes
  • 1 tbs whole roasted cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed roasted cumin
  • 3 tbs fresh cream (single)
  • 4 tbs fresh sliced coriander
  • 1 tbs finely sliced fresh ginger
  • 3 fresh green chillies slit
  • 1 finely sliced lime
  • 1 tbs ghee/butter 


  1. Boil some water and keep aside.
  2. Take each tomato and using a sharp knife make an X at the opposite side of the stem, put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Leave aside for a minute, using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes and cool. Gently peel off the skin, chop and keep aside.
  3. Heat a wok/karahi, add the ghee/butter and oil, add half the meat pieces, fry on a high heat until meat is brown on both sides, repeat for the other half, remove into a dish.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic to the remaining oil and fry for 2 mins on a medium heat.
  5. Add tomatoes mix well and add the chicken and 1 cup of water, cook covered on medium heat for 5 mins.
  6. Add the salt and turmeric and cook covered on a low heat for 10 mins, add half a cup of water if needed and cook for another 10 mins, if using chicken it will be almost done proceed to stage 7. If using lamb add a cup of water cook covered, on a very low heat for a further 20 mins, or until meat is cooked through.
  7. Add yoghurt, black pepper, chillie flakes and cumin, mix in and stir from time to time on medium/high flame until oil separates from the mixture – bhun stage.
  8. Gently mix in the cream and switch off.
  9. Garnish with the coriander, ginger, green chilies and lime slices.
  10. Finally heat some ghee or butter in a small pan, pour over the karahi to give it a glaze. (optional)


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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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