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Chicken Karahi / Kadai Chicken (Pakistani Chicken Curry)

 Grab some fluffy Naan! Chicken Karahi (or Kadai Chicken) is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to dig in and savor every last bite!

Grab some Naan, Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite! | This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

What Is Chicken Karahi?

Chicken Karahi (also known as Kadai Chicken) is a chicken curry from Pakistan and Northern India.

It is a very popular dish because it is so quick and easy to prepare.

With just a little chopping and some hands off simmering time, you can have a flavorful curry dinner on the table in 30 minutes!

What Is A Karahi?

Karahi (pronounced kar-ah-hee) is the Hindi name for a two handled, deep cooking vessel that looks like a wok with steeper sides. This vessel, which may also be called a kadai, korai, or kadhi, is used in many Indian and Pakistani kitchens.

A Karahi is a two-handled, deep cooking vessel. |

They can be quite pretty!

Traditionally, kahari vessels are used for frying and making stews. The dishes that are cooked in a karahi are often called by that name as well.

You find this practice of naming the dish after the cooking vessel in many cultures around the world. One of the most well known is a Moroccan tajine.

Since we don’t have a karahi, we used a skillet to make our chicken karahi. You could also use a wok.

Just don’t let the cooking vessel keep you from this tasty dish!

Pakistani Chicken Karahi vs North Indian Chicken Karahi

As with any dish with widespread regional affection, there are many variations to Chicken Karahi based on region or the family cook who is making the dish.

The most notable difference is between the Chicken Kahari is the difference between how they make the dish in Pakistan versus their neighbors in North India.

North Indian Chicken Karahi tends to include onions and green peppers, while Pakistani Chicken Karahi does not.

However, this is by no means a hard and fast rule.

We’re sticking with the Pakistani version today, but if you like onions and green peppers, feel free to experiment with adding them to your curry!

Grab some Naan, Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite! |

What Is In Chicken Karahi Curry?

This chicken curry gets a lot of flavor from the addition of garlic, ginger, cumin, and other spices.

And then there are the chilies.

We add in a combination of fresh green chilies and dry red chilies and chili powder to give flavor and spiciness to this dish.

If you’re not a spice lover, you can always adjust the amount of green chilies if you prefer a milder heat.

(Check our our guide for choosing chilies that suit your heat preference if you need some help.)

Is Karahi curry hot? 

Don’t be scared of the heat in this dish.

Chicken karahi masala (sauce) gets much of its flavor from garlic, ginger, and red chilies.

There are lots of warming spices in this dish, as well as chiles. But, it doesn’t have to be mouth-flaming hot. Choose your chili based on your heat preference.

And, keep in mind that as the dish simmers, the heat will mellow, leaving a wonderful flavor and just a bit of warming heat.

What to serve with Chicken Kahari

This curry is less saucy that other curries (like this Goan fish curry).

Saucy curries are best served with rice to soak up the sauce. But, “dry” curries like this one are great served with flatbread like naan or roti

Yield: 2 - 3 servings

Chicken Karahi (Pakistani Chicken Curry)

Grab some Naan, Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite! |

Grab some Naan

Chicken Karahi is a fragrant Pakistani Chicken Curry that will have you wanting to savor every last bite!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 1/4 tsp dry, ground ginger)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tomatoes, diced (roughly 3 c)
  • 2-4 green chilies, seeded and chopped (Serrano or Jalapeno)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large, non-stick sauté pan with high sides or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 10-20 seconds, until fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the tomatoes, chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and turmeric. Mix well.
  4. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the liquid is mostly absorbed, 20 min. If there is still too much liquid after cooking for 20 minutes, remove the lid and cook, uncovered until it thickens (5-10 min).
  5. Garnish with slices of fresh ginger, sliced chilies, and fresh cilantro.
  6. Serve with warm naan bread or rice.


To make this curry reflect the North Indian version, add 1 diced onion and one diced green pepper to the pan before adding the tomatoes. Sauté the veggies for 2-3 minutes before continuing with the recipe. With the added veggies, the recipe serves 3-4.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522

Did you make this recipe?

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Tuesday 27th of April 2021

I like making my own Masala’s so I used the comment from sujato and adding also Kashmiri dried chilies and Garam Masala (My family loves spicy). It turned out really well. I had a chuckle from the user who doesn’t like the phrase “Naan Bread.” I am an American married to an Indian. I one time told him i was making Murghi chicken. He laughed and told me that i had told him we were having Chicken chicken. Oh well.

Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 28th of April 2021

So glad you enjoyed it Chezi!

A.Rrajani Photographer

Saturday 6th of March 2021


Sarah Ozimek

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Thank you. Enjoy!


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Hiya just wanted to know how much this for how many people?

Sarah Ozimek

Monday 28th of December 2020

Hi Alisha. The recipe serves 2-3 people with rice or naan. Enjoy!


Thursday 16th of January 2020

Hi Sarah. I'm intrigued and would value your opinion. I have always enjoyed the very varied food from the Indian sub-continent and spent a year on a troopship with a North Indian crew. There I was told that the word curry came from the utensil they cook it in - the karahi. My local Indian restaurant spells it karai rather than karahi but their take on a chicken karai is almost identical to your Indian version. A lady I met recently, wjo had just returned from an extensive tour of India, insisted that the word curry originated from the Tamil word kora, meaning sauce. I can see an obvious link between kora and karahi but she was so adamant in her conviction I thought I would check it out. Any thoughts? And many thanks for your recipes. They are invariably good - especially with my personal favourite Peshwari Naan.

Sarah Ozimek

Saturday 18th of January 2020

Hi Graham. We have heard that the word curry comes from the Tamil word 'kari', meaning sauce. However, this particular curry does get its specific name from the cooking vessel, the karahi. It is possible that the crew you were with was speaking of one particular dish, rather than the term 'curry' in general. Glad you enjoy our recipes!


Wednesday 15th of January 2020

Can you please do a Pakistani Biryani (with the layers of flavourful masala)?

I can only find Indian restaurants in my neighborhood, and they don't do the masala layers in their biryani; they just spice the rice... it's delicious & all, but I love getting those forkfuls of creamy, rich masala in the Pakistani biryani! Yum!! ?

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 16th of January 2020

We will put this on our list to look into. It. Sounds delicious!

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