Vegetable Karahi
Vegetable Karahi
5 from 6 votes
Delve into the world of Pakistani cuisine with the delightful vegetable karahi, an aromatic and colourful dish perfect for a family meal or a special occasion. Made with a mix of fresh veggies, it's an excellent choice for those seeking a nutritious yet flavourful option.
Vegetable Karahi

In the vibrant world of Pakistani cuisine, a standout dish that has grown in popularity over the years is the Vegetable Karahi. It’s a versatile and delightful dish, vibrant with the colours of various vegetables and brimming with a symphony of flavour, courtesy of the numerous spices used. 

The Vegetable Karahi originated from the region of Karahi in Pakistan. Its namesake is a heavy, deep, and circular cooking pot traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asian cuisines.  

This dish was traditionally prepared in this pot, hence the name. In recent years, it’s become a beloved staple not only in its home country but also among food enthusiasts around the world. 

Preparing the Vegetable Karahi is a wonderful culinary journey. It’s a moderate-level recipe, not too difficult but requires a certain amount of culinary understanding.  

Mastery over the heat, the cooking time for each vegetable, and the delicate balance of spices are keys to perfecting this dish. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, though.  

Practice makes perfect, and soon you’ll be whipping up a Vegetable Karahi that’ll make even seasoned chefs proud. This recipe is as much about the process as it is about the final product.  

The aroma of cumin and coriander seeds sizzling in the hot oil, the sputter of onions, ginger, and garlic as they hit the pan, and the beautiful melding of colours as the vegetables cook down are experiences that make cooking the Vegetable Karahi truly enjoyable. 

Despite being a flavourful and heartwarming dish, the Vegetable Karahi is remarkably healthy. It’s chock-full of nutrients thanks to the wide array of vegetables used. This recipe also leans towards being plant-based, which is an added bonus for those conscious about their dietary choices. 

The Vegetable Karahi is a versatile dish, suitable for various occasions. Whether it’s a regular weekday meal or a special celebration, this vegetable-packed recipe will add a touch of exotic flavour to your table.  

It’s also an excellent way to use up any leftover veggies you have lying around in the fridge. 

The Vegetable Karahi is not just a dish; it’s a beautiful blend of culture, history, and flavour. It symbolizes the richness of Pakistani cuisine and the diversity of its culinary landscape. I invite you to explore this delightful dish and experience a bit of Pakistan in every bite. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

Creating the Vegetable Karahi is a delightful journey, and each ingredient used has its own role to play in building the layers of flavour that this dish is known for. 

Potatoes: Potatoes form a crucial part of the Vegetable Karahi. They add a certain heartiness to the dish and help make it filling. Their starchy nature also helps thicken the sauce slightly, lending a beautiful consistency to the dish. 

Bell Peppers: The bell peppers contribute a wonderful crunch and a hint of sweetness that beautifully balances out the heat from the spices. The colourful peppers also add visual appeal to the dish, making it enticing. 

Carrots: Carrots, like bell peppers, add a bit of sweetness to the dish. They also provide a contrasting texture, which makes the Vegetable Karahi more interesting on the palate. 

Onion, Garlic, and Ginger: This trio is the flavour foundation of the Vegetable Karahi. Onions add sweetness and body, garlic brings a subtle pungency, and ginger lends a peppery, slightly sweet taste. These three ingredients, when sautéed together, create a flavourful base that sets the stage for the rest of the dish. 

Tomatoes: Tomatoes provide a tangy note and also help in creating the saucy consistency that the Vegetable Karahi is known for. They also contribute to the beautiful colour of the dish. 

Vegetable Oil: The oil is crucial for sautéing the base ingredients and frying the spices. This process releases the flavour into the oil, which then coats every piece of vegetable, ensuring a well-balanced dish. 

Cumin Seeds and Coriander Seeds: Both cumin and coriander seeds add a deep, warm flavour and a slight citrusy note. They are the backbone of the spice blend in this dish. 

Turmeric Powder and Chili Powder: Turmeric provides a beautiful yellow colour and a subtle earthy flavour, while chilli powder brings the heat, which is a key characteristic of the Vegetable Karahi. 

Salt: Salt is crucial in any dish as it enhances all the other flavours and ties everything together. 

Fresh Coriander Leaves: Fresh coriander or cilantro leaves provide a burst of freshness and a beautiful green colour that contrasts with the rest of the dish. They’re typically used as a garnish and add an extra layer of flavour. 

Exploring Spice Substitutes in Vegetable Karahi 

When I’m cooking a dish like Vegetable Karahi, the blend of spices is absolutely crucial to achieving that authentic flavour. However, I understand that sometimes you might not have all the spices on hand or perhaps you have dietary restrictions to consider. 

For instance, if you’re missing cumin seeds, a good substitute could be ground cumin. It’s much more concentrated, so you’d only need about half the amount compared to the whole seeds. If cumin is not an option at all, caraway seeds or anise seeds can work, although they have a different flavour profiles. 

If you’re out of coriander seeds, you could use ground coriander, though, like cumin, it’s more potent so you’d use less. In a pinch, fennel seeds or caraway seeds could also be used as a substitute. 

As for turmeric powder, it’s a little trickier to replace due to its distinct flavour and colour. If you’re in a bind, you might try a pinch of mild curry powder. Keep in mind, though, that the flavour and colour won’t be quite the same. 

Chilli powder is responsible for the heat in the dish. If you don’t have it, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or even fresh chopped chilli could provide the spiciness. The key is to adjust the amount to your preference, especially if you’re using a hotter alternative like cayenne pepper. 

Remember, while these substitutes can work in a pinch, they may alter the traditional flavour of Vegetable Karahi. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Part of the beauty of cooking is the freedom to experiment and make a dish uniquely your own. 

Making Vegetable Karahi without Garlic and Onion 

I recognize that everyone’s dietary needs and preferences are different. There might be reasons you’d want to prepare Vegetable Karahi without the use of garlic and onion, perhaps due to personal taste or dietary restrictions such as a low FODMAP diet. 

So, let’s explore how to adapt the recipe while still maintaining a depth of flavour. One potential solution is to use substitutes like asafoetida (hing) and green onion tops. Asafoetida has a strong, pungent smell but when cooked, it mellows out and provides a flavour somewhat similar to onions and garlic. 

The green tops of spring onions are low in FODMAPs and can be used in place of regular onions to provide a similar texture. However, keep in mind that their flavour is milder compared to regular onions. 

Another possibility is to increase the quantities of the other spices and ingredients to help compensate for the lack of garlic and onion. A bit more ginger or cumin can help to elevate the flavour in the dish. 

Furthermore, you could add some chilli flakes or additional chilli powder if you like a bit more heat. More diced tomatoes could also help to create a richer sauce. 

while garlic and onion do provide a significant flavour base for Vegetable Karahi, their omission doesn’t mean you can’t still create a delicious dish. With some creative adaptations and tweaks, you can make a Vegetable Karahi that caters to your specific needs and still tastes fantastic. 

Embracing the Veganism of Vegetable Karahi 

When I’m preparing the Vegetable Karahi, I’m often asked if it is suitable for vegans. I’m delighted to share that, yes, Vegetable Karahi is indeed a vegan-friendly dish!  

It is loaded with an array of colourful vegetables and doesn’t contain any animal products, making it a fantastic choice for those following a vegan lifestyle. 

Moreover, the Vegetable Karahi is not just about its vegan-friendly nature, but also the nutrients it brings to the table. With a variety of vegetables, you are getting a good mix of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fibre.  

Plus, the spices used, like turmeric and cumin, have anti-inflammatory properties and other health benefits. 

For those considering this dish, you might wonder about the oil used in the recipe. In this recipe, vegetable oil is used, but feel free to substitute it with your preferred cooking oil. Some people prefer coconut oil for its subtle sweetness and health benefits, or olive oil for its heart-healthy properties. 

I always look for opportunities to make recipes healthier without compromising on flavour, and this Vegetable Karahi fits the bill perfectly.  

The dish is a testament to the fact that vegan food can be just as delicious and satisfying as any other cuisine. It is a celebration of vegetables, a riot of colours, and a symphony of flavour, all packed into one hearty dish. 

The Vegetable Karahi is a versatile recipe that you can tweak according to your preference. Feel free to add more veggies or switch out the spices. Remember, cooking is an art, and you are the artist. So, put on your apron, start experimenting, and whip up your vegan masterpiece. 

Making Vegetable Karahi Ahead and Storing It for Later Use 

One of the questions I frequently receive about the Vegetable Karahi is whether it can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. Absolutely, yes! One of the beauties of this recipe is its flexibility and adaptability. 

If you’re planning a dinner party or just prepping for the week ahead, the Vegetable Karahi can be a lifesaver. Cook the dish following the recipe, let it cool completely, and then transfer it into an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. 

When you’re ready to serve, simply heat it over medium heat on the stove until it’s thoroughly warmed through. You might need to add a little bit of water to bring it back to the right consistency, as the sauce can thicken when refrigerated. 

One note to consider: If you’re planning to make this dish ahead of time, slightly undercook your vegetables. That way, when you reheat the dish, your vegetables won’t become overly soft and will retain some of their crunch. 

The Vegetable Karahi also freezes beautifully. You can portion it into freezer-safe containers and freeze it for up to 2-3 months. To serve, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat on the stove. Again, a little water might be needed to loosen up the sauce. 

Having the Vegetable Karahi prepared and stored in the fridge or freezer can be a real time-saver. On those days when you’re running late or just not in the mood to cook, you can quickly heat it up for a delicious and nutritious meal.  

The convenience and flexibility of this dish make it a staple in my kitchen, and I hope it will become one in yours too. 

Reheating Vegetable Karahi the Right Way 

Reheating food properly is as crucial as cooking it right the first time. The Vegetable Karahi is a dish that holds up well to reheating, retaining its flavour and texture beautifully. But it’s essential to know how to do it right, so you enjoy the dish at its best. 

The stovetop is my preferred method of reheating Vegetable Karahi. This method allows the dish to heat evenly and regain its saucy consistency if it has thickened while being stored.  

Place the Karahi in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If you find it’s too thick, don’t hesitate to add a splash of water. 

You can also reheat Vegetable Karahi in the microwave, which is a great quick option. Put it in a microwave-safe dish, cover it loosely, and heat for a couple of minutes. Be sure to stir halfway through to ensure even heating. 

When reheating, keep in mind not to overdo it. High or prolonged heat can cause the vegetables to become too soft, and some spices may turn bitter. Hence, it’s important to reheat just until it’s hot enough to serve, and not longer. 

Moreover, remember the golden rule of food safety: only reheat once. Repeated heating and cooling can encourage bacterial growth, which is a risk we should never take with our food. 

Enjoying the Vegetable Karahi on the following day can be a delightful experience. The flavour often has time to meld and intensify, making the dish taste even better.  

So next time you cook a big batch of Vegetable Karahi, you can look forward to a quick and delicious meal ready to be enjoyed after a simple reheat. 

Adjusting the Heat Level in Vegetable Karahi 

In my culinary experience, the beauty of cooking lies in its flexibility. One of the questions that often come up when I prepare Vegetable Karahi is how to adjust its heat level. And I’m more than happy to help you tailor this dish to your taste. 

The spiciness in Vegetable Karahi primarily comes from the chilli powder. So, it’s your key player in controlling the heat. If you love a good kick, feel free to add a bit more chilli powder. If you’re a bit heat-averse, cut down on it. Remember, you can always add more later, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there, so it’s safer to start with less and adjust as you go. 

If you’ve reduced the chilli powder but still crave a rich depth of flavour, consider adding smoked paprika. It adds a lovely smokiness and colour to the dish without adding much heat. 

Some people enjoy the layered heat that comes from using fresh chillies in addition to chilli powder. You can deseed the chillies to reduce their heat or use a milder variety. 

On the other hand, if you’ve made your Vegetable Karahi and it turned out too spicy, don’t worry! There are a couple of tricks you can use. One option is to add more vegetables to dilute the heat. Another is to stir in a bit of coconut milk or yoghurt, as dairy helps to counteract the spiciness. 

Adjusting the heat to your liking can make the Vegetable Karahi a dish that you truly enjoy, whether you’re a fan of fiery heat or prefer a milder flavour. After all, the best part about cooking at home is making food that perfectly suits your palate. 

The Perfect Companions for Vegetable Karahi 

One of the joys of serving the Vegetable Karahi is pairing it with the perfect sides that complement its rich, spiced flavour. When I’m asked about what can be served with Vegetable Karahi, it’s always a delight to share the plethora of options available. 

First off, the classic choice is steamed basmati rice. Its mild, slightly nutty flavour and fluffy texture make it an excellent backdrop for the Karahi, allowing the dish’s vibrant flavour to shine through. If you want a bit of a change, you could also try serving it with brown rice or even quinoa for a healthy twist. 

Then we have various Indian breads that make for a fantastic pairing. Naan, roti, or chapati can be used to scoop up the flavourful sauce of the Vegetable Karahi, providing a comforting, filling accompaniment. You might want to try making garlic naan or spiced roti for an extra flavour kick. 

If you’d like to include some protein, consider serving your Vegetable Karahi with a side of lentil dal or a chickpea dish. These dishes are also richly spiced and vegetarian-friendly, making them an excellent match. 

For a lighter side, a simple cucumber and yoghurt raita or a fresh salad can balance the richness of the Vegetable Karahi. These sides add a refreshing contrast, making the whole meal more satisfying. 

Lastly, let’s not forget about pickles and chutneys. Mango pickle, lemon pickle, or mint chutney can add a tangy and sweet element that contrasts beautifully with the Vegetable Karahi. 

Ultimately, choosing the perfect companion for your Vegetable Karahi is about balancing flavour and textures to create a meal that you’ll enjoy. 

Switching Up the Vegetables in Vegetable Karahi 

As a lover of flexibility in the kitchen, I’m often asked about possible variations for the Vegetable Karahi. One of the easiest ways to switch things up and keep this dish exciting is to play around with the choice of vegetables. 

The recipe uses a base of bell peppers, carrots, and potatoes which provides a great balance of sweetness, crunch, and heartiness. However, there’s plenty of room to get creative and add other veggies according to what’s in season or what you have on hand. 

For a green variation, you might want to add green beans, peas, or zucchini. These add a lovely colour contrast and have unique textures that blend well with the Karahi sauce. 

If you’re looking for a bit more substance, try adding cauliflower, broccoli, or eggplant. These vegetables are more robust and absorb the sauce beautifully, adding a burst of flavour to every bite. 

Mushrooms could be a great addition if you’re seeking a meaty texture in your vegetable Karahi. They add a fantastic umami flavour that complements the spices. 

For a sweet twist, try adding sweet potatoes or butternut squash. These vegetables have a natural sweetness that can balance out the heat of the spices. 

Remember, the key to a good Vegetable Karahi is the balance between the flavour of the vegetables and the spices. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different vegetables until you find the combination that you love the most. After all, cooking is about making food that you enjoy. 

Incorporating Protein into Vegetable Karahi 

Being a versatile dish, I often get asked about ways to incorporate protein into Vegetable Karahi. It’s an excellent question, and there are several ways to go about it, depending on your dietary preference. 

For vegetarians, paneer is a fantastic addition. Paneer is an Indian cheese that has a mild flavour and firm texture that holds up well to cooking. Cut it into cubes and add it to the Karahi towards the end of cooking, just in time for it to warm through and soak up some of the sauce’s flavour. 

For those who follow a vegan diet, tofu is an excellent alternative to paneer. Use firm tofu, and you might want to press it before cooking to remove excess moisture. Like paneer, it should be added towards the end of the cooking process. 

Another great vegan option is chickpeas. They’re packed with protein, and their creamy texture pairs wonderfully with the spices of the Karahi. Simply rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, and add them to the dish. 

If you’re a meat-eater and would like to add some meat to your Vegetable Karahi, chicken would be a suitable choice. You can stir-fry the chicken pieces separately, then add them to the Karahi. The cooking time will be longer, as you need to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. 

Adding protein to your Vegetable Karahi is a great way to make it even more satisfying and nutritious. Depending on your preference, you can choose from a variety of protein sources to enhance this already delicious dish. 

Reducing the Prep Time for Vegetable Karahi 

I appreciate the importance of time efficiency in the kitchen. Therefore, when I’m asked about ways to reduce the prep time for Vegetable Karahi, I’m always ready with some handy tips. 

First, consider prepping your vegetables ahead of time. After a long day, chopping vegetables can seem like a daunting task.  

So, whenever I have some free time, I like to chop the veggies I need for the upcoming meals and store them in the fridge. This way, when I’m ready to start cooking, I just need to gather the vegetables and add them to the pan. 

Another time-saving tip is to make use of pre-made spice mixes. While making your spice mix can enhance the flavour of your dish, it can also be time-consuming. Many grocery stores offer pre-made spice mixes that you can use as a shortcut without compromising too much on flavour. 

Lastly, consider investing in a food processor if you don’t already own one. This appliance can significantly cut down the time it takes to chop your vegetables. Just be careful not to over-process, as you want your vegetables to retain some texture. 

While these shortcuts can help you save time, remember that cooking is not just about efficiency. It’s also about the joy of creating something delicious from scratch. So even when you’re short on time, try to enjoy the process. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If the Vegetable Karahi tickled your taste buds, I’ve got some great news for you. I’ve got more where that came from! 

First, allow me to tempt you with the irresistible Vegetable Curry. Similar to our beloved Karahi, this dish infuses a myriad of veggies with a delightful medley of spices.  

But the magic lies in its simmering process, slowly drawing out the flavourful essence of the vegetables. A dish that’s a crowd-pleaser and can effortlessly fit into any meal plan. 

For a spin on our Karahi, have you ever tried Turnip Curry? No? Oh, you’re in for a treat! This recipe has all the familiarity of our Karahi but introduces the unique texture and mildly sweet flavour of turnips. It’s one of those rare delights that keep you coming back for more. 

Aloo Gobi might ring a bell, and rightly so. Like our Karahi, it’s a veggie powerhouse, starring potatoes and cauliflower as the main act. It’s a simple, comforting dish that fills your home with a heartwarming aroma that reminds you of family dinners. 

Did somebody say Tadka Dal? The heavenly combination of lentils and spices cooked together forms a dish that’s rich in protein and flavour, strikingly similar to our Karahi in terms of spice quotient. I can’t help but imagine scooping some with a spoon and feeling the burst of spices in my mouth, can you? 

Let me whisk you away with the enchanting Bhindi Masala. This okra-based recipe will make you forget all about your preconceived notions about this humble vegetable. It’s a must-try if you’re into Indian cuisine. Similar to our Karahi, it’s spiced just right and carries an addictive tang. 

Lastly, the Courgette Curry: a revelation in itself. It gives our Karahi a run for its money with its simple yet exquisite flavour. The courgettes soak up all the wonderful spices, culminating in a mouthwatering dish that’s hard to resist. 

It’s hard to stop when I start talking about food! And trust me, there’s a lot more where this came from. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these recipes. And who knows? You might just stumble upon your new favourite dish in the process! Let’s chat in the comments section. 

Vegetable Karahi

Vegetable Karahi

by Nabeela Kauser
Delve into the world of Pakistani cuisine with the delightful vegetable karahi, an aromatic and colourful dish perfect for a family meal or a special occasion.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 253 kcal


  • 3 Potatoes
  • 2 Bell Peppers 1 green, 1 red
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Coriander
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek leaves
  • 500 ml Water


  • Chop the potatoes, bell peppers, and carrots into bite-sized pieces.
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Dice the tomatoes.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok (karahi) over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Fry for a minute until they start to pop.
  • Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions become translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, until softened.
  • Add the chopped potatoes, bell peppers, and carrots to the pan. Stir well to combine with the onion and spices.
  • Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt to the pan. Stir well to ensure all the vegetables are coated with the spices. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
  • Add the water to the pan. Stir well.
  • Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  • Sprinkle with dried fenugreek and fresh coriander leaves.


This Vegetable Karahi is a flexible dish. You can adjust the amount of water to your preferred consistency.
Add more for a saucier curry, or less for a drier version.
Enjoy this vibrant and healthy dish with your choice of bread or rice.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 637mgPotassium: 1162mgFibre: 8gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 7676IUVitamin C: 121mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Food, Recipe, Spicy, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!
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6 months ago

5 stars
you haven’t listed the tomatoes in the recipe ingresdients

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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