chicken karahi

Chicken karahi | Chicken Kadai

Pakistani Chicken Karahi

Chicken karahi is a Pakistani dish also known as “chicken kadai“. It has a rich taste of spice fusion with a tomatoey base and nice juicy tender meat. It is very famous in South Asia.

This is a recipe for street-style chicken karahi, which is a basic karahi recipe. Other karahi, such as butter chicken karahi ( makhni chicken karahi), black pepper chicken karahi, and white chicken karahi, are also delicious. Each region has its own unique flavor of karahi with its own spices and cooking styles.

chicken karahi

About the Karahi

The chicken karahi dish is named so because it was originally prepared in a heavy, usually cast-iron skillet that is rounder and has a flatter base like a wok called karahi. The way in which it is cooked makes it special, mostly on an open fire. Chicken is stir-fried or cooked with spices, tomatoey base, and yoghurt on high heat with a thick base pan, which adds a unique flavor to chicken.

 Chicken Karahi Ingredients

The ingredients of chicken karahi are very basic, but the way it is cooked makes it special.

Chicken-I use chicken with bones. You can use boneless chicken as well, but chicken with bone adds more flavor.

Tomatoes-chicken karahi requires soft red fresh tomatoes. In street style, tomatoes are cut in half and simply placed in the karahi. They become softened easily while cooking, and you can remove their skin easily.

Onion-I use one medium-sized onion paste. But many versions of karahi don’t have onion, especially restaurant-style karahi, don’t usually add onion. You can skip it too.

Ghee-I use ghee because the authentic chicken karahi recipe includes ghee, but if you want to keep it healthier, you can use oil as well. You can also use an oil and butter mixture as a substitute for ghee.

Ginger garlic paste-It is very important in chicken marination because it removes the smell from the chicken and adds a unique flavor to it. Ginger is very important in South Asian dishes. It is also used for garnish. Add thin, long ginger strip for garnish.

Yogurt- Yogurt makes this karahi perfect by making a nice gravy and adding a sour agent to it.

Spices- Basic spices like turmeric powder, chili powder, chili flakes, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, black pepper, garam masala (it is basically a blend of many spices). You can make it at home very easily by grounding spices Check out this recipe for garam masala.

Green chilies- This is also a key ingredient, and it adds aroma to karahi. For karahi, green chili paste adds in, while for garnish, add chopped green chilis. The fresh chopped green chili in the garnish makes this recipe special.

Cilantro-Cilantro adds at the end of almost every gravy dish in South Asia. It makes chicken karahi more aromatic and appetizing.

How to Make Chicken Karahi

Marinate chicken with ginger, garlic, and green chili paste and spices such as turmeric powder, chili powder, salt, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Leave it for 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, make onion paste and cut tomatoes in half. For marinating the chicken, you can also boil ginger and garlic. It’s also good if you don’t like garlic paste.

Pakistani chicken karahi

In a deep, thick-based pan such as a wok or an iron cast pan, add the marinated chicken along with onion paste and tomatoes. Cover the pan with lid and let it cook for 15 minutes on medium to low heat. You can skip the onion.

After 15 minutes, open the lid. You will see that the tomatoes are tender. You can easily remove their skin. Remove the skin of tomatoes with the help of tongs.

chicken karahi

Cook it for 3-4 minutes on high heat with ghee. Continuously stir the chicken so that it doesn’t burn. You will see that ghee starts separating. It is a sign of perfect cooking, which is called bunahi.

Add yoghurt and lower the flame. Cook chicken with natural yoghurt on a low flame for a few minutes. Beat the yoghurt well before adding in the karahi. Use natural, fresh yoghurt in it. After adding the yogurt, stir it continuously, otherwise the yoghurt starts curdling up.

Again, raise the flame and add chili flakes and black pepper. Cook it with constant stirring until the ghee is separated.

Finally, add green chilies, cilantro, and garam masala. And turn the flame off.

chicken karahi


Serve karahi with ginger, cilantro, and green chilies.

best chicken karahi

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chicken karahi

Chicken Karahi

Chicken karahi, often named as kadai chicken, is a dish from the Indian subcontinent. It is well-known in North Indian and Pakistani cuisine for its fiery flavor. This is a recipe for chicken karahi in the street style. (Dhaba Murgh Karahi).
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 people


  • 1 kg Chicken
  • 3 tbsp ginger garlic and green chili paste
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt according to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 40 grams Ghee
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tbsp ginger (cut into strips) for garnish
  • 4 medium chopped green chilis for garnish


  • Marinate the chicken with ginger, garlic, and green chili paste along with salt, cumin, turmeric, red chili, and coriander powder. Leave it for 15 minutes.
  • In a deep thick-base pan, add the marinated chicken along with tomatoes (cut into two halves) and onion paste. Cook it for 15 minutes with the lid on the pan on medium-low heat.
  • The tomatoes will be tender. Remove its skin and add ghee to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes on high heat.
  • Stir the chicken frequently to prevent it from burning. Ghee will start to separate, which is an indication of proper cooking, or bunahi. 
  • Lower the heat and stir in the yoghurt. Cook chicken in natural yoghurt for a short period of time. After thoroughly beating the yoghurt, add the karahi. Use organic, fresh yoghurt in it. 
  • Increase the heat once more and add the pepper and chilli flakes. Cook it while stirring constantly until the ghee separates. Add the cilantro, green chilies, and garam masala last. Switch off the flame after that. 
  • Garnish karahi with ginger, cilantro, and green chilies.
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