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Chicken Karahi: Dhaba Style (Wok Chicken: Road-Side Cafe Style)

Chicken Karahi: Dhaba Style (Wok Chicken: Road-Side Cafe Style)

Isn’t it amazing that we try to recreate the magic of dhaba food in our kitchens instead of a five star restaurant food where as dhaba food is actually a representation of home cooked food? Although we all love to indulge in fine dining to pamper ourselves once in a while but rarely we dare to attempt to replicate a complex dish. I am definitely intimidated by the finesse those chefs bring to a dish with their expertise and I am fully aware of my set of cooking  skills (and severe lack of patience and zero attention to details!) that is why I see no point in investing myself in a guaranteed failed project. So for a complete luxurious experience I would rather go to a place that offers it (or wait for them to reopen their services for now) rather than challenging myself.

Our highway or road side food has it’s own culture. Everything is simple, from the ambiance, to the table setting, to crockery, to serving style and of course to the menu they offer. Obviously people who stop by for food are there for food only and don’t have time to focus on color scheme or aesthetic sense of the place so they add such finish to everyday food that people keep coming back to them solely for the taste. That Chanay Ke Daal (Split Gram Lentil) recipe that I shared along with Anday (Egg) Wala Burger (Street Style/ Desi Burger) and Karachi Highway Style Wok Chicken are classic examples of road side and street food. Oh and how can I miss 3 Highway Style Chai Lattes while they represent and highlight what is so dear to us Pakistanis!

Wok chicken or Chicken Karahi represents the pot it is cooked in and it is served in a wok/ karahi at dhabas/road side stalls or cafes. The shape of the wok helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly as it is shaped in such a way that it gets heated equally from all sides. If we look at the ingredients and spices it seems to be an ordinary dish from desi standards but here is the truth, my friends. There are a few tips and tricks that add oomph to ordinary and elevate the taste from “that is good” to “Holy Moly this is awesome!!” Let’s stay home and bring the taste of dhaba food in our kitchens with this karahi 🙂

Chicken Karahi: Dhaba Style

Stay home, stay safe and create the magic of dhaba food with this delicious all time favorite chicken karahi.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword Chicken Karahi, dhaba chicken karahi, Dhaba style chicken karahi
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Author Heenie


  • 1200 gm chicken, skinless, cut in 16 pieces, washed and cleaned ( a little over a kg )
  • ¾ tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into four pieces
  • ¾ cup ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • tbsp tomato puree
  • 6 tbsp yogurt/dahi
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • tsp white cumin, slightly crushed
  • tsp salt
  • 2-3 medium green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • fresh cilantro/coriander for garnish


  1. Put chicken in a wok and turn on the flame to medium.

  2. Add tumeric, red chilli powder and chopped tomato.

  3. Cover the wok and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Stir once during this time. No water or oil required. Chicken will release it's water.

  4. Uncover the wok and check if tomato has softened.

  5. Add ginger paste and garlic paste. Stir, cover the wok and cook for another minute.

  6. Take the lid off and take out softened tomato pieces out and add ghee/oil. Blend tomato in a small blender with a little water.

  7. Pour in blended tomato along with tomato puree into the wok.

  8. Mix yogurt and cream and add to the wok. Stir well.

  9. Keep the wok uncover and let everything cook for about 3-4 minutes or until well combined and ghee is separated from the gravy.

  10. Add white cumin and salt. Stir well.

  11. At this point, check seasoning and see if gravy is enough. If you prefer drier karahi, cook a little longer till reduced or if you prefer add a splash of water to adjust.

  12. Sprinkle garam masala and green chillies.

  13. Serve hot with fresh chopped coriander.

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