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Karahi Gosht

This authentic karahi gosht recipe features mutton or goat cooked in a rich tomato-based curry brimming with fresh ginger, garlic, and chiles. While many modern recipes include onions and yogurt, I stick to the basics with my take on the Pakistani classic comfort meal.  

Karahi gosht in a serving bowl.

What is Karahi Gosht?

Goat karahi is one of my favorite meals to prepare for my family. The dish originates from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, where many karahi recipes feature mutton or goat. However, you can also prepare the dish with chicken, beef, or fish! Fresh tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and chiles deliciously flavor the meal with a rich, concentrated flavor.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Gosht: I tend to use bone-in goat shoulder. Cut the goat meat yourself or ask the butcher to cut it into smaller, boti-size pieces. I usually purchase goat and lamb at local Indian, Arab, Mexican, or Asian markets. Stores like Whole Foods carry both. However, they are often more expensive.
  • Ghee: Ghee develops a deep, nutty flavor for the dish, but mustard oil is a great alternative.
  • Cumin Seed: Toast cumin seeds in ghee to pronounce and enhance their natural flavor.
  • Chiles: Slit green chiles add heat that doesn’t overpower the dish. If you prefer a spicier curry, chop the chiles before adding them.
  • Ginger: Ginger is one of my favorite ingredients in karahi! It flavors the masala and also serves as a tasty garnish.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four garlic cloves, but measure with your heart.
  • Tomato: Fresh tomatoes are the key to making authentic karahi. I use Roma tomatoes since they have less moisture than other varieties. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor to reduce the cooking time (and disguise them for my husband). Most traditional recipes call for cut or diced tomatoes that fry in the pan. You can go this route, but increase the cooking time to give the tomatoes enough time to reduce.
  • Spices: Salt, black pepper, Kashmiri chili powder, ground cumin powder, coriander powder, and kalonji seeds come together to season this dish.
  • Cilantro: Finish the karahi with freshly chopped cilantro.

How to Make Karahi Gosht

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Add the mutton, a little water, and salt to an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Cook at manual high pressure for 30 minutes at a low elevation and 1 hour for those at a higher elevation.

Pressure-cook the goat meat before adding it to the karahi masala.

Step 2: Meanwhile, warm the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Then, add cumin seeds and green chiles and heat until the ingredients sputter.

Cumin seeds and chiles toasting in ghee.

Step 3: Add ginger and garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the raw smell fades.

Garlic and ginger frying in a pan.

Step 4: Stir in the salt, pepper, Kashmiri chili powder, ground cumin, coriander powder, kalonji seeds, and pureed tomatoes.

Tomato curry simmering in a pan.

Step 5: Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Then, remove the pan from heat until the goat finishes cooking.

Tomato curry simmering in a pan.

Step 6: Remove the goat from the Instant Pot and transfer it to the reserved tomato mixture, along with fresh cilantro.

Tip: If the goat is not pull-apart tender, simmer until it reaches the desired tenderness. If the goat is tender, simmer for 10-15 minutes until it combines with the masala.

Goat and cilantro added to tomato curry in a pan.

Can I Make Goat Karahi on the Stovetop?

If you are short on time, use a pressure cooker to speed up the process of tenderizing the goat before adding it to the gravy. However, if you prefer the traditional cooking method, you can still make this karahi recipe by quick-frying the goat and reducing the heat for a slow braise.

  1. Warm the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Add cumin seeds and green chiles.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the goat. Continue frying until the color changes.
  3. Stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add salt, pepper, Kashmiri chili powder, ground cumin powder, coriander powder, kalonji seeds, and tomato puree to the goat. Lower the heat, cover, and gently simmer.
  5. Simmer over medium heat for one hour. Check the goat for tenderness at the one-hour mark by attempting to separate the meat from the bone using a fork. It should easily pull apart; if not, simmer until the goat reaches the desired tenderness.

Expert Tips

  • If you prefer whole spices, you can dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds to draw out their flavor. Then, transfer the seeds to a spice grinder to create a powder.
  • Similar to other dishes like bhuna gosht, karahi involves a cooking process called bhuna (an Urdu word for fried) that calls for cooking over high heat until the ghee or oil separates to create a paste. This technique may not be effective for goat or lamb, as they require a longer cooking time to become tender. That is why I pressure-cook the goat first, followed by a low-heat braise to help the ingredients combine. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, don’t worry – I’ve also included stovetop instructions for slow-cooking bone-in mutton or lamb karahi.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan with goat or lamb because the moisture will take longer to evaporate, no matter how much you bhuna. If you end up with too much liquid in the pan from crowding (tell me how I know this), remove the meat and set it aside; this allows the masala to cook faster. Return the goat once it reduces.

If you enjoy the meal, try one of these Indian favorites!  

Karahi gosht in a serving bowl.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the dish cool and transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag for storage. Karahi gosht freezes for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the meat in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Leftover mutton karahi is even more delicious the next day since the ingredients have had the chance to come together. Warm them on the stovetop and prepare your sides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gosht?

Gosht is a Persian word for meat. In South Asian cuisine, gosht most often refers to goat or lamb, and it is a common ingredient in curries, stewsbiryani, kabobs, paya, and comfort meals like mutton soup.

What is karahi curry made of?

Curry is a Western term given to South Asian dishes that contain gravy, so by that definition, it’s a curry. However, many would agree that karahi is a separate and stand-alone meal. I’m not exaggerating when I say karahi tastes like heaven, even without the yogurt, cream, or cashews that other curries feature.

Why is it called karahi?

The name karahi or ‘kadai’ comes from the wok-like pan it cooks in. While the dish gets its name from the pan, karahi is better known for bite-size cuts of lamb or goat simmering in a richly spiced tomato gravy. 

If you don’t have access to a karahi, there’s no need to worry. Feel free to use a wok or a heavy-bottomed pan like a saute panDutch oven, or a wok.

Is karahi gosht spicy?

Although this goat karahi recipe looks spicy, it’s pretty mild. However, it has an intense flavor from all of the traditional spices. If you prefer a spicier dish, chop the chiles before adding them or increase the amount of Kashmiri chili powder.

More Curry Recipes:

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Karahi gosht in a serving bowl.

Karahi Gosht

Tressa Jamil
Authentic karahi gosht features mutton cooked in a tomato-based curry with ginger, garlic, and chiles for a tasty dinner or special meal for holidays.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 126 kcal
Ingredients
  
For the Gosht:
  • pounds goat meat, bone-in, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
For the Karahi:
For the Garnish:
  • 2 – inch fresh ginger, julienne, for garnish
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish
Instructions
 
  • Add the mutton, a little water, and salt to an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Cook at manual high pressure for 30 minutes at a low elevation and 1 hour for those at a higher elevation.
  • Meanwhile, warm the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Then, add cumin seeds and green chiles and heat until the ingredients sputter.
  • Add ginger and garlic, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the raw smell fades.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, Kashmiri chili powder, ground cumin, coriander powder, kalonji seeds, and pureed tomatoes.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom. Then, remove the pan from heat until the goat finishes cooking.
  • Remove the goat from the Instant Pot and transfer it to the reserved tomato mixture, along with fresh cilantro. If the goat is not pull-apart tender, simmer until it reaches the desired tenderness. If the goat is tender, simmer for 10-15 minutes until it combines with the masala.
  • Garnish with fresh ginger and cilantro, and serve with naan or basmati rice.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • If you prefer whole spices, you can dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds to draw out their flavor. Then, transfer the seeds to a spice grinder to create a powder.
  • Similar to other dishes like bhuna gosht, karahi involves a cooking process called bhuna (an Urdu word for fried) that calls for cooking over high heat until the ghee or oil separates to create a paste. This technique may not be effective for goat or lamb, as they require a longer cooking time to become tender. That is why I pressure-cook the goat first, followed by a low-heat braise to help the ingredients combine. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, don’t worry – I’ve also included stovetop instructions for slow-cooking bone-in mutton or lamb karahi.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan with goat or lamb because the moisture will take longer to evaporate, no matter how much you bhuna. If you end up with too much liquid in the pan from crowding (tell me how I know this), remove the meat and set it aside; this allows the masala to cook faster. Return the goat once it reduces.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 126 kcal | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 12 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g | Cholesterol: 29 mg | Sodium: 2345 mg | Potassium: 239 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 980 IU | Vitamin C: 12 mg | Calcium: 36 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 12 votes (4 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Ravi Patel

Friday 26th of May 2023

Great curry!

Emily Thompson

Friday 26th of May 2023

Oh my goodness, this Karahi Gosht recipe is an absolute delight! The flavors are incredibly rich and the tomato-based curry is bursting with freshness. The combination of fresh ginger, garlic, and green chilies adds a fantastic kick to the dish. I appreciate that this recipe stays true to the traditional roots of Pakistani cuisine by focusing on the basics. It's evident that the flavors have been carefully balanced, resulting in a truly authentic and satisfying dish. I can't wait to make it again and impress my friends and family with this delicious taste of Pakistan!

Sarah J.

Thursday 16th of February 2023

I made the Karahi Gosht recipe last night, and it was incredible! The flavors were so bold and authentic, and it was surprisingly easy to make. I'll definitely be adding this to my regular rotation of dinner recipes.

Bianca

Saturday 16th of July 2022

I was so excited to try this recipe! Pakistani curry sounded so good and it absolutely did not disappoint! It was so delicious

Tressa Jamil

Saturday 16th of July 2022

It's one of our favorites and always hits the spot!

Fede

Thursday 14th of July 2022

I made this few times and was incredibly good.

Tressa Jamil

Thursday 14th of July 2022

I love hearing that it's become a regular part of your rotation.