Chicken Lahori Curry (Lahore chicken curry) is one one of the tastiest and most simple curries I cook. It takes its influence from Pakistani Chicken Karahi Curry recipes but retains a unique twist on the classic recipe.
This Chicken Lahori Curry is based on a traditional Pakistani curry, but in my recipe - I switch up the ingredients to create a unique blend of spice and texture in this simple and amazingly tasty dish. It most definitely deserves its spot as one of my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes.
What is Lahori Chicken?
A Pakistani Curry Chicken, this dish gets its name from the capital city of the Punjab region, Lahore. There are countless recipes for Lahori Chicken, featuring different ingredients - some with onion, some without, some with or without tomato and like my recipe, some featuring lentils. I love everything about lentils (chana dal in this instance) and use them in recipes from all around the world. But it’s Indian and Pakistani dishes that I love them the most. If you love lentils too, you just HAVE to sample the delights of my Parippu Dal, My Chicken & Lentil Curry or the sublime Dal Makhani.
What you’ll need
My Lahori Chicken recipe is very light on ingredients for an Indian or Pakistani curry. But don’t imagine for a second that it lacks in flavour. It’s one of the tastiest curries I cook, which is most likely why I’ve been cooking it for almost 20 years! Here’s a run down of the key flavours. There’s a full recipe and video below.
Chicken - Use a whole chicken jointed or like me, chicken thighs for uniform juiciness!
Onion & Garlic - bring a sweetness and depth of flavour
Ghee - the rich, buttery flavour is irresistible and key to the flavour of my chicken lahori.
Lentils - chana dal bring a nutty flavour and help create a creamy texture to curry
Whole Spices - peppercorns, bay leaf, cinnamon and cloves
Ground Spices - turmeric, cayenne pepper and coriander bring their unique flavour and colour.
What is a karahi?
Traditionally, most Pakistani curries are cooked in a karahi, a simple heavyweight pan, much like a wok. You can therefore use a wok or if you don't have one, a deep frying pan or a cast iron casserole pan too.
Step by Step
Making this Pakistani curry chicken is super easy with only a few simple steps:
Cook the lentils in a water with a little turmeric for 40 minutes to ensure they’re soft and golden. Added to the curry later, they’ll breakdown even more and create the creamy texture. You can start the rest of the curry in the meantime and timings should collide just at the right time.
Fry the onion in ghee with the whole spices until browned
Add the chicken and the ground spices with some water and simmer for half the overall cooking time, 20 minutes.
Add the lentils and cook for 20 minutes more.
And that’s it! Your delicious Lahori chicken curry is ready!
I like to serve this curry with either fluffy basmati rice or an array of Indian breads like roti, naan, paratha or kulcha. Being from the northern Indian subcontinent, bread is king, and THIS curry works splendidly with any type of bread. I like to serve alongside a simple kachumber salad or a yoghurt dressing to tame the heat (if I’ve overdone it on the spice)
Chicken Lahori is a great curry to have up your sleeve, a small roll call of ingredients makes for an easy curry to prepare - and THAT flavour will stay with you, so much so you’ll start planning your next batch before you’ve finished your curry!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Chicken Lahori Spicy?
Fairly, this recipe uses cayenne pepper which is pretty fiery. If you want to subdue the spice, use a mild chilli powder instead or omit it completely.
Can I freeze chicken Lahori?
Yes. In fact, chicken Lahori freezes incredibly well, and some would say benefits from it’s time in the freezer. I would agree, it’s intensely delicious reheated in the microwave from frozen.
Add the chana dal and 1/2 tsp of the turmeric to a pan and cover with around 500ml water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until soft. Drain them of half their cooking liquid.
In the meantime, In a large pan, heat the ghee over a moderate heat until hot - then add the bay leaf, peppercorns and cloves and fry briefly before adding the onions. Cook for 5-7 minutes - until golden and soft.
Add the chicken pieces, garlic, cinnamon, salt, coriander powder, cayenne and remaining 1/2 tsp of turmeric and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Add 400-500ml warm water, enough to cover the chicken well. Bring this to the boil, reduce heat and simmer moderately for 20 minutes, partially covered.
Add the lentils in their remaining cooking liquid and cook, uncovered for another 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Lentils can be a little temperamental and absorb differently so, If it's a little thick, add a touch of water. If it's too thin, let it cook for a little longer. You want a fair amount of sauce, but not too watery.Check seasoning and serve with lots of fluffy basmati rice or a pile of hot roti, chapati or naan.