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overhead shot of spoon dipped in kadai chicken in cast iron skillet

Chicken Karahi

This kadai chicken is a traditional Pakistani dish that is loaded with fresh ginger, garlic and spices.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Pakistani
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 268kcal
Author Ryan Beck


  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2" chunks
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 whole Thai green chilis
  • 3 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Heat ghee in large Dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches of two or three so you don't overcrowd the pan. Cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Add chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add ginger, garlic and whole green chilis and cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and spices and cook for an additional minute. Add chicken back to skillet.
  • Bring to simmer then cook for 15 minutes. Once slightly reduced, stir in yogurt and simmer for another 2-3 minutes to thicken. Garnish with green chilis, cilantro and ginger.


  • Use fresh tomatoes. They cook down quickly, making a rich and rustic sauce.
  • If you like more spice, slice some chilis with the seeds.
  • You can replace the paprika with kashmiri red chilli if you can find it. Paprika works fine however.
  • Never cover the skillet/pan when simmering if you want to be traditional. It is considered a sin to cook karahi with a lid on!
  • You know the chicken is cooked when it reaches 165°F with an instant-read thermometer or if you cut into the chicken and the juices run clear and there is no pink. Honestly, I always just cut the chicken to see when it is done. If it isn’t just cook slightly longer.
  • Leftovers will store well in the fridge for 2-3 days in an air-tight container or be frozen for 3 months.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g