Dhaba Style Chicken Karahi

Named after the wok shaped pot it is cooked in, chicken karahi /kadahi is a quick and easy dish, you will find everywhere in India. Literally everywhere from dhabas to fine restaurants.

‘Dhabas’ are the popular eateries situated on almost all Indian and Pakistani highways, serving wholesome fresh food on 24/7 basis. The food cooked in these is mostly hot  authentic Punjabi food, because dhabas were initially started by Punjabis to feed the travelers and truckers who travel from one region to another. In the matter of hygiene these eateries are not up to the mark and the ambiance is rustic but the menu is extensive, food is simply finger licking good and you will be served large portion for less price.

Chicken karahi is a dry dish made with bone in chicken, but you can go with whatever you have in the fridge. It is prepared in karahi because  the rounded shape of wok allows quick tossing of the ingredients and the food is cooked more evenly without getting burnt.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

One of the most easy and crowd pleasing chicken recipe!


  • 1.25 Kg chicken legs (cut each into 2 or 3 pieces)
  • 3 (275g) tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 (240 g) onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp crushed black peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ginger, julienne
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water


Wash chicken pieces and pat dry using a paper towel. If you prefer you can sear the chicken all over before making the masala, or follow the procedure as I have done.

  1. Heat oil in a kadahi or shallow pan on medium with oil in it.Dhaba-Style-Chicken-Karahi2.jpg
  2. Add cumin and crushed coriander seeds, when oil is hot enough. As soon as the seeds splutter, add onion and saute, about 1 minute.Dhaba-Style-Chicken-Karahi3
  3. Next add garlic. Once the onions start to have golden color, add chicken pieces and cook, stirring from time to time, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.Dhaba-Style-Chicken-Karahi4.jpg
  4. Turn the heat slightly high. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, crushed peppercorn, salt, red chilli powder. Cook, stirring often for 5 minutes, until tomatoes cook down and the masala looks jammy (add a tbsp or two of water to prevent sticking if necessary).
  5. Add water, bring it to boil, cover and simmer till the chicken is fully cooked and the gravy is thick and sticks to the meat.Dhaba-Style-Chicken-Karahi5.jpg
  6. Remove from heat. Before serving garnish with cilantro and ginger julienne.

Serve hot with any flatbread.

Variation: For extra color and to bulk up you can add chopped green and yellow peppers at the end.



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