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Easy Chicken Karahi Recipe

This authentic recipe for Pakistani Chicken Karahi, is cooked in spices and tomato gravy, and is full of flavor! This is the original recipe, with detailed tips and tricks to make the best karahi!
Course Lunch/Dinner, Main
Cuisine Pakistani/Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 292kcal


  • Karahi


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 kg bone-in chicken (I had my butcher cut up the chicken into 14 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 6-7 large tomatoes (roughly chopped into chunks)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro/coriander (finely chopped)
  • 1 green chilli (for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (optional)


  • In a large, heavy bottomed wok or pot heat the oil and add the chicken pieces.
  • Saute the chicken pieces for a few minutes (2-3 minutes) until the chicken changes color. Then add the garlic and ginger paste, and saute the chicken for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Now add the spices (red chilli powder, turmeric and salt) and saute on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes or until the oil separates from the chicken. Keep stirring the chicken frequently during this step. 
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir. Then lower the heat to medium low, and cover the pot until the tomatoes have softened. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Stir the chicken a few times during this time, ensuring that the chicken doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the tomatoes have softened, take off the lid and cook on high heat until the oil separates once again. This will take about 5-7 minutes depending on the heat of the stove. The key is to cook the chicken on high heat, while constantly stirring, until you see the oil separating.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro / coriander and green chilli. Sprinkle over cracked black pepper, if using. Serve with naan or white rice. Enjoy!


  1. Oil: The quantity of oil can be increased up to 1/2 cup, which will help in faster searing (bhunnai) of the karahi. 
  2. Chicken: Authentic chicken karahi uses smaller pieces of bone-in chicken. I had my butcher chop a whole chicken into 14 pieces. You can also use boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this recipe. I highly recommend using boneless chicken thighs as they have more flavor and don't dry out as quickly as chicken breast. 
  3. Ginger & Garlic: Use fresh, jarred or make some with my recipe for Ginger Garlic Paste to store in the fridge for whenever you want to make Pakistani and Indian recipes. 
  4. Tomatoes: Use fresh, juicy and ripe tomatoes for this recipe, as it's the key ingredient here. You can also puree the tomatoes for faster cooking, or even use canned crushed tomatoes. 
  5. Green chillies: I like to use serrano or Thai chillies, but you can use any of your choice. 
  6. Black pepper: This is optional, but I highly recommend it, as it adds that extra kick and flavor to the recipe. 


Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 492mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1301IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg