Karhi Pakora

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Pronounced: karr-hee ; also known as Kadhi Pakora

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What is Karhi?

Karhi is a warm and comforting winter delicacy with nurturing qualities. Karhi is a dish with shared history that is influenced by different ethnicities across the subcontinent. Karha is an Urdu/Punjabi word which means cooked to perfection “achay sey paka hua”. This might be the reason why the dish was named karhi because the yogurt and besan (gram flour) based curry is slow cooked to perfection.

How to eat karhi?

  • Mostly, karhi is enjoyed with simple boiled rice or zeera rice.
  • As the Punjabi Karhi has thick consistency it can be easily scooped up with roti or naan (flatbread).
  • It is can also be served as a soup and eaten directly with a spoon.

Why you should try this?

  • It is THE coziest and lighthearted meal for winters
  • The beautiful mustard yellow color of karhi is extremely inviting, hard to resist.
  • It is light on stomach and rich with nutritional values.

Karhi & Me

I never liked eating karhi as a child or even as an adult, until I got married. The first time I had karhi was during my university life. My dear friend “A” invited us close friends to her house and cooked lunch for after skipping the classes. To my surprise, she made karhi chawal and shami kebabs. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I had it silently without expressing my dislike for the dish. Everyone was so happy and praising her for making the best comfort food ever. To be fair, it was cooked really well and I actually enjoyed having it too.

The second time I had it was with my inlaws when I made it myself for the first time with the instructions of my beloved ami saas (may her soul rest in peace).  After explaining the whole process, she said to me, “Bana lou ge na?”. I laughed and said, “Jee Amiii” and I did. She loved it. It was a huge accomplishment for me back then. Not just ami approved it, I loved it myself – me being a picky eater, who never had karhi all her life made the perfect karhi.

I am sharing with you the same recipe that I learnt from my ami saas 7 years ago. Nothing beats comfort meals that fill your home with majestic aromas in winters. Here is Karhi Pakora from my ami saas’s Kitchen to yours.

Karhi Pakora

Fatima Ali
This is a Punjabi Karhi Pakora served with boiled rice. It is a thick winter favorite. Karhi is aromatically spiced with tartiness to it. The crispy dunked potato onions pakoras makes it stand out among all karhis.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Pakistanicuisine


For the Pakoras

  • Onions - 1 large, thinly sliced
  • Potatoes - 2 large, thinly julianne cut
  • Besan - ½ to ⅔ cup
  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Carom seeds( Ajwain ) - 1 tablespoon
  • Red chili flakes - 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
  • Corinader seeds ( dhaniya ) - 1 teaspoon, roasted and grinded
  • Cumin (zeera) -1 teaspoon, roasted and grinded
  • Fresh Coriander leaves - 2 tablespoons
  • Ghee or olive oil - 1 tablespoon
  • Water - ¼ cup to as required
  • Oil for Frying

For Besan Karhi

  • Besan - 1 cup
  • Yogurt - 1 Kilo
  • Water - 2 Litre

For the Karhi Masala

  • Mustard Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Ghee - 1/4 cup
  • Onion - 2 Large
  • Fresh Garlic and Ginger Paste - 1 tablespoon
  • Rai Dana (Black Mustard Seeds) - 1 teaspoon
  • Methi Dana (Dry Fenugreek Seeds) - 1 teaspoon
  • Saroun ( Yellow Mustard Seeds) - 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • Red whole chillies - 4 to 6
  • Salt - 1.5 tablespoons, adjust at end if required
  • Turmeric - 2 teaspoons, heaped
  • Red chili powder - 2 teaspoons
  • Corinader powder - 1 teaspoon

For the Tarka

  • Ghee - 3 tablespoons
  • Whole Red Chillies - 5
  • Garlic - 5 cloves, finely chopped
  • Curry Leaves - 8 - 10
  • Fresh Corinader Leaves for garnish


  • Take a mixing bowl add all the pakora ingredients and mix well. Adding little waterat a time; make a thick sticky batter. Don’t add too much water as it will resultin softer pakoras.
  • In a karahi, heat oil for frying the pakoras. Add the pakora batter and cookevenly from all sides. Fry the pakoras in hot oil on medium high flame. Drainon kitchen towel and set aside.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat ghee and mustard oil on medium flame.
  • Once nicely hot, add thinly sliced onions. Sautee until slightly brown. Remove theonions and puree them in a blender.
  • In the same oil, splutter cumin, fenugreek, both yellow & black mustard seeds and red whole chilies, followed by ginger garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes or tillraw smell goes off.
  • Add the onion puree back into the spices, sautee well on medium flame.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder. Mix well and cook again until masala “ek jan hu jaye” is completely bhounfied and oil comes on top.
  • In a separate bowl, sieve besan. Add room temperature yogurt in it. Whisk or blendwell making sure there are no lumps.
  • Add the prepared besan and yogurt mix into the prepared masala, mix it well.
  • Bring the karhi to boil keeping the flame medium high. Stir continuously making sureit doesn’t stick to the pan or spilt or curdle.
  • Add 2 litres of water to the karhi and let it simmer on medium slow flame for 2-3 hours.Longer it cooks on slow heat richer and tastier it gets.
  • Maintain a thin pouring consistency of the karhi. If it gets too thick, add more water.
  • After 2 hrs, oil (tari) has come on top of karhi, showing all signs that it wasnicely cooked with the right pouring consistency.  
  • Turnthe heat off and stir in freshly chopped coriander leaves as garnish.
  • Add pakoras 15 mins before serving the karhi. The pakoras will absorb the karhiflavors as they are dunked into it. Don’t cook the karhi after adding pakorasthey will turn too soft.
  • Heat ghee in a fry pan over medium flame to prepare tarka.
  • Add chopped garlic cloves, once slightly crisp and brown add curry leaves. When theybegin to crackle, add cumin and whole red chilies, stir fry until roasted. Pour the sizzling tarka on the prepared Karhi Pakora.
  • Serve hot with fluffy zeera rice or boiled rice with pickle. It can be equally enjoyed with roti.
Keyword BesanandYogurtCurry, Karhi, KarhiChawal, KarhiPakora, PunjabiKadhiPakora, Punjabikarhi, PunjabiKarhiPakora, vegetariansamosa, Wintermeals
By |2022-06-22T23:44:23-04:00December 16th, 2020|Pakistani Cuisine|0 Comments

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