Chicken Karahi – the best and easy recipe in Pakistani style

/ / / Chicken Karahi – the best and easy recipe in Pakistani style
Chicken Karahi Pakistani style in a white bowl with coriander leaves garnish

Chicken Karahi

Chicken karahi literally means chicken curry dish that is cooked in a Karahi/ Kadai/ Kadhai/ frying pan/ wok. It’s typically a dry-curry with a thick sauce.

So the dish doesn’t have soupy like curry sauce, and it’s best enjoyed with roti/ chapati, naan bread, pita bread or flatbreads. But really, you can have this tasty chicken curry with plain white Basmati rice if you wish. I do that every so often.

As for the taste, Chicken Karahi has well-balanced spices with moderate chilli heat. But of course, you can always adjust to your personal likings. 

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Pakistani chicken karahi with overlay text

Key ingredients


Ideally, you use chicken with bones. Because chicken releases lots of water that it can break the poultry meat quickly. So if you use boneless chicken, chances are the poultry will go very soft and tender while your curry will still be very runny like a soup.

And if you use chicken with bones, somehow the bones will try to absorb the water at the same time they try to hold the meat ?.

I usually use a baby chicken that weighs about 800 gr/ 28.22 oz, skinless and cut in 8 pieces. 


Onion gives a natural sweetness to the dish. For this recipe, I use either 2 medium onions or 1 big onion.

As a general rule, I would use brown onion (yellow onion) in most of my cooking. Especially my Pakistani dishes. But sometimes I run out of them and have the red onions instead. So I do use red onions once in a while. 

I don’t really find a difference in the food taste. So don’t worry if you can only use red onions. Your Chicken Karahi will still taste delish.

Ginger and garlic

These two herbs are a must in almost all Pakistani savoury dishes. I use ginger garlic so often that I often buy in bulk, mince them and freeze them in cubes. Or, sometimes I use the mincer to make freshly crushed ginger and garlic.

Spices for Chicken Karahi

I must admit that I love Pakistani curries because they don’t put too many different spices in a dish. So all the spices are well-balanced and work well together with other ingredients such as tomatoes or yoghurt to give enough aroma and flavour. This is what makes a good curry, in my opinion.

After more than 15 years cooking all sorts of Pakistani cuisines, I can say that some basic spices will almost always go in their curries. There are whole/ ground cumin seeds, whole/ ground coriander seeds, chilli powder, and turmeric powder.

And you need these basic spices for Chicken Karahi plus some extras such as ground black pepper.



Needless to say that fresh tomatoes are the best to use in cooking. However, sometimes we run out of fresh ones that tinned tomatoes will be an ideal option. In that case, you can use half a can of tinned tomatoes for this recipe. That is about 200 gr/ 7.05 oz.


Like it or not, we must admit that Indian and Pakistani cooking uses a lot of fat such as oil or ghee in their dishes. Although it admittedly makes the curries taste yummy. But when you eat curry regularly like 4-5 times in a week, surely you would want to think about your overall healthy diet, wouldn’t you?

Therefore I now take great care in how much oil I put in my curries. As for the oil type, I use either rapeseed oil or sunflower oil.

And now, ever since my husband is on a special diet as a part of his cancer fight, I try to use organic rapeseed oil or organic sunflower oil.

a white bowl of Pakistani chicken karahi

The simple method to make the best Chicken Karahi

There are many types of Indian/ Pakistani chicken curries. And the name of each dish varies according to the method, just like this Chicken Karahi. It’s the curry made with chicken that is cooked in a karahi frying pan/ wok that is also called Kadai/ kadhai

chicken pieces and all spices and herbs in a wok
cooking chicken pieces with a lid on
cooking chicken karahi
almost cooked chicken curry with some juices
chicken karahi with less juice
dry chicken karahi in a wok

And this is the easiest curry that you’ll ever make. Because all you do is literally dump all the ingredients, except oil, in the karahi/ wok and just slow cook it. 

When your chicken is cooked, and the sauce liquid is almost gone, then you add in the oil. 

After that, you only need to further cook for about 5 minutes. Or, until the oil is mixed with the sauce but some separate at the edges. 

Related posts

Thank you for reading this recipe. I hope you’re now thinking of trying it. When you do, share what your opinion is about your chicken karahi and the picture of your creation. It will be awesome. You can tag me @soyummyrecipesbydevy if you share your cooking on IG or Pinterest.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check out my other recipes that may interest you.

Thank you and all the best.

The recipe of Chicken Karahi Pakistani style

Yield: 6

Chicken Karahi

Chicken Karahi in a white bowl

Chicken Karahi is a flavourful chicken curry dish that is so easy to make. This recipe uses Pakistani style karahi with simple spices that give you well-balanced aroma and taste. Just delicious.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 800 gr/ 28.22 oz chicken (one baby chicken), cut in small pieces.
  • 2 medium onions, chopped.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • ½ inch ginger, minced.
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander.
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 200 gr/ 7.05 oz tomatoes (fresh or tinned).
  • ⅓ cup/ 80 ml/ 2.82 oz cooking oil.
  • 3 whole green bird’s eye chillies (optional)


  1. Get your karahi/ Kadai/ kadhai/ frying pan ready. Put the chicken, onion, ginger, garlic, all the spices, salt and tomatoes in the pan. Give them a good stir until all chicken pieces are covered with spices. Then cook at medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Take care and keep stirring the meat so it won’t get burned at the bottom of the pan.
  2. When the chicken is cooked but still firm, turn the heat down and slow-cook it with a lid on. It takes about 30-40 minutes for the chicken to become tender and the masala (spice mix) to get thickened. 
  3. Once most of the liquid evaporates, add the whole chillies (if using) and pour in the oil. Stir well and cook further for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is shiny with a bit of oil separated at the edges.


  • Traditionally, chicken karahi is made a little dry and enjoyed with flatbreads such as roti/ chapati, naan bread or pitta bread. But you can always leave it a bit runny with extra sauce if that’s what you prefer. 
  • Some chicken releases more water. So you may have to adjust the heat to medium-high so the curry sauce will evaporate quicker. 
  • If you have little children to feed, you may want to swap the chilli powder with paprika powder so that your curry will be less spicy.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 446Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 125mgSodium 495mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 33g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

Did you try the recipe?

Share how you like the recipe in the comments below and show a picture of your creation

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  1. Sounds so delicious – I can’t wait to give this recipe a try! I’ll pick up the ingredients this week. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you. Hope you like your chicken karahi.

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