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Pakistani Lamb Karahi

Do you love lamb? How about curry? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’ll love this Lamb Karahi recipe. This dish is popular in Pakistan and India, and it’s a great way to show off your culinary skills. In this blog post, we will discuss the history of the karahi, as well as some recipe tips and ingredient alternatives. So get ready to cook up a storm with this delicious lamb karahi recipe.

Lamb Karahi served in white bowl.

What is the History of Lamb Karahi?

Lamb Karahi is a beloved dish in South Asian cuisine, dating back centuries. Originally known as the qorma-e-gosht, it is said to have originated in the Mughal Empire during the 16th century. It was popularized by Mughlai chefs and made with lamb, yogurt, spices, and ghee. Over the centuries, it evolved and gained regional variations. Today, Lamb Karahi is a popular dish that can be found in all regions of Pakistan and India.

Why I like this recipe

This recipe uses simple cooking skills and readily available ingredients. With the help of the food processor, mincing the aromatics is a cinch. If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, just mince the onion, ginger, garlic and jalapeño by hand, but seriously, consider getting a processor. It makes life so much easier. Another option is to buy already minced garlic and ginger, and you can find onions already diced in the frozen section. I’m not a cooking purist, you do you.

What are the ingredients in Lamb Karahi?

Spices for recipe in glass bowl.

Lamb Karahi is a classic South Asian dish bursting with flavor. The primary ingredients are lamb, fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh ginger garlic paste, yogurt, fresh green chilies, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder.

Lamb is the main protein source in the dish, providing a rich and meaty flavor. Onions provide depth of flavor and texture to the curry sauce although not traditional. If you want to make a traditional OG karahi, omit the onions and use fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes add sweetness and acidity, while yogurt provides creaminess. Lastly, the blend of spices adds an aromatic touch, giving the lamb karahi its distinct flavor.

Lamb Karahi served in white bowl.

What are some Recipe Tips for Making Lamb Karahi?

  • When making this dish, it’s important to use your judgement and adjust the ingredients according to taste. For instance, if you like your lamb karahi spicier, add more chili powder, chilis or cayenne pepper. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of chilis and spices used. This dish is only as spicy as you want it to be.
  • You can also adjust the quantity of lamb and yogurt to get the desired consistency. When cooking, use high-quality lamb to get the best flavor. Don’t skimp on ingredients like yogurt, spices, and ghee either, as they all contribute to the flavor and texture of this dish. You can also experiment with ingredient alternatives like beef or chicken instead of lamb.
  • When adding the yogurt, temper the temperature first by adding a little of the hot sauce from the pot into a small bowl with the yogurt and then add the yogurt to the pot. This step will help prevent the yogurt from separating. If this happens to you, no worries, it’s just as tasty but not as pretty. Full disclosure, I am not great at tempering yogurt so if you have any tips for me, please leave a comment.
  • Another key tip is to not overcook your lamb karahi; lamb should be cooked until it’s tender. Lastly, don’t forget to garnish your Lamb Karahi with freshly chopped cilantro, ginger matchsticks and a squeeze of lime. This will add a burst of flavor to the dish and bring all the flavors together.
  • Serve over fluffy rice or with butter naan.

What are some Ingredient Alternatives for Lamb Karahi?

If lamb isn’t available, you can use any other type of protein such as beef, chicken, or shrimp. For an even heartier meal, try adding potatoes or chickpeas to the curry. If you’re looking for a lighter option, you can substitute lamb with tofu or paneer.

For a vegan option, replace the yogurt with coconut milk and use vegetable oil instead of ghee. You can also swap out the traditional spices for your favorite herbs and seasonings to create a unique flavor.

When cooking Lamb Karahi, use high-quality lamb to get the best flavor. Don’t skimp on ingredients like yogurt, spices, and ghee either, as they all contribute to the flavor and texture of this dish. You can also experiment with ingredient alternatives like beef or chicken instead of lamb.

Lamb Karahi vs. Rogan Josh

Lamb Karahi and Rogan Josh are two popular lamb dishes in South Asian cuisine. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are key differences between the two dishes that set them apart.

The main difference between lamb karahi and rogan josh lies in their overall flavors. Lamb Karahi is cooked in a spicy tomato-based gravy, while Rogan Josh uses an intense blend of spices and yogurt to create its signature flavor. Both are delicious lamb dishes though, so be sure to try both if you’re looking for a lamb feast.

Karahi vs. Kadai vs. Korma

Kadai and Karahi are two popular dishes in South Asian cuisine. Although they may seem similar at first glance, there are key differences between the two dishes that set them apart.

Kadai is a popular North Indian dish that is cooked in an iron wok-like utensil called a kadai. It has a spicy, tomato-based sauce and is usually prepared with lamb, chicken or vegetables. On the other hand, lamb karahi is cooked in an open pan (karahi) and is flavored with yogurt, spices, and ghee.

Karahi and Korma are two popular dishes in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. While they may both be made with lamb, they have a few differences that make them distinct.

Karahi is a type of curry dish that is made by cooking lamb in a thick, spicy sauce. It is typically served with a flat bread, such as naan or paratha, and its ingredients usually include lamb, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and spices. This dish is thought to have originated in the northern regions of India near Delhi.

Korma is a lamb dish that is cooked in a creamy sauce made from ground almonds, yogurt and spices. It is usually served with steamed rice or naan bread, and its ingredients typically include lamb, onions, garlic, ginger and a variety of spices. This dish has been enjoyed for centuries and is thought to have originated in the Moghul court of India.

What is Lamb Curry?

It is hard to talk about any Indian curry without acknowledging the history of the term. For all the deets on this misunderstood term, check out this article from The Atlantic.

Lamb curry, or lamb karahi, is a popular dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent. It typically consists of lamb cooked tomato, peppers and spices such as garam masala and coriander. It is traditionally garnished with chile slices and fresh ginger cut into matchsticks. The result is a delicious blend of savory flavors that is both comforting and flavorful.

The history of lamb karahi is steeped in both culture and cuisine. It has been a popular dish for centuries, particularly among the Mughal rulers who were well known for their love of lamb dishes. In modern times, lamb karahi has become a favorite in many parts of the world, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

If you want to try lamb curry at home, here are some tips to make sure it comes out perfect every time:

– Use lamb shoulder or leg for the best flavor.

– Toast the spices before adding them to the dish, this will bring out their flavors and aromas. Use fresh ginger and garlic.

– If lamb is not available, chicken or beef can be used as a substitute.

– Add in some extra vegetables such as bell peppers, cauliflower and potatoes to bulk up the dish and make it more nutritious.

So now that you know all about Lamb Karahi, why not give it a go yourself? This Lamb Karahi recipe is sure to impress your friends and family, and it’s also a great way to show off your culinary skills. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

How to Make Lamb Karahi

Lamb cooking with onions in large pot.
Brown the lamb and add the minced aromatics.
Pouring spices into pot.
Add the spices, stir frequently.
Adding tomatoes.
Add tomatoes and water.
Curry bubbling in pot.
Simmer 30 minutes.
Yogurt added to curry.
Add yogurt.
Lamb Karahi served in white bowl.
Garnish with ginger and jalapeños, serve over rice.
Lamb Karahi served in white bowl.

Lamb Karahi Recipe

Yield: 8 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

An easier version of a traditional Lamb Karahi, a Pakistani lamb curry.


  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed, avocado)
  • 2 lb lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 inches of ginger root, peeled, cut into matchsticks, divided
  • 1 small jalapeño, more for optional garnish
  • 1 Tbs Kashmiri chili powder, may use Aleppo pepper or paprika
  • 1 Tbs turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of yogurt, full fat
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH - cilantro, ginger matchsticks, jalapeno slices, 1 TBS fenugreek leaves


  1. Heat large dutch oven over medium high heat, add oil and lamb. Brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the lamb is browning, place onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno in a food processor or blender, process until finely chopped.
  3. When lamb is browned, reduce heat to medium, add onion mixture to pot, stir frequently and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add chili powder, turmeric, salt, cumin, black pepper, stir well for one minute.
  5. Add water and tomatoes, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook for another 30 minutes at a low simmer.
  6. After 30 minutes temper the yogurt by adding some of the hot liquid to the yogurt and pour yogurt into pot. Bring up to a simmer, then remove from heat and serve with garnishes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 510Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 342mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 31g

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