Chicken Tikka Karahi – Pakistani Style (Murgh Tikka Kadai)

After moving to Ireland, I have been experimenting with Pakistani cooking a lot. Back home it was all about enjoying Ammi k hath ka khana (food prepared by my mom) but after moving here as we have to do the cooking ourselves so it’s mostly based on the cravings, which have grown stronger for home cooked desi food. I miss Lahori food a lot! (apart from family of course) and the other day I wanted to have Chicken Tikka and Chicken Karahi so bad that I ended up making Chicken Tikka Karahi. This recipe has authentic Pakistani flavors of both Chicken Tikka and Chicken Karahi.

Chicken Karahi is one of the most popular South-Asian dishes and is probably one with unlimited versions as every person has their unique way of making it. From restaurants to road-side dhabbas and home cooks each recipe has it’s own distinct taste and flavor.


Chicken Tikka is another popular dish from South-Asian region, where Tikka means pieces or small chunks. So, Chicken Tikka is small chicken pieces marinated in spices and yogurt, which are then char-grilled giving it a nice smokey flavor. Chicken Tikka is a dish on its own but is also widely used to prepare other popular dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken and now Chicken Tikka Karahi.

The difference between Chicken Tikka Karahi and Chicken Tikka Masala is the cooking technique and the ingredients. While Chicken Tikka is a constant in both the dishes, the cooking method of Chicken Karahi and Chicken Masala is different. 


Chicken Karahi is prepared in a special cooking utensil,  the Karahi (pronounced Ka-ra-hee) a deep cooking vessel with two handles similar to a wok but with slightly steeper sides. So the name Chicken Karahi is after the cooking vessel. There is also another similarity with Chinese style of cooking in a wok that Chicken Karahi is also prepared using stir-fry method. Only a few ingredients are used in it’s preparation, bone-in chicken, tomatoes, garlic and ginger along with simple Pakistani spices. The karahi gets the kick of heat from fresh green chilies and chili flakes. It’s a semi-curry (drier curry) where the masla clings to the chicken pieces making them even more flavorful.

Whereas Chicken Tikka Masala is a boneless chicken curry with a creamy and luscious tomato base infused with spices.


This Chicken Tikka Karahi recipe is a blend of both Chicken Karahi and Chicken Tikka Masala where the Chicken Tikka is taken from chicken tikka masala and is prepared Chicken Karahi style. You get the best of both in this recipe. Serve this lip smacking and awesomely delicious dish with tandoori roti or naan with a side of kachumber salad ( a simple salad made with chopped onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, salt, black pepper and lemon juice).

I hope you’d enjoy this delicious Chicken Tikka Karahi recipe as much as we did.

Here are some other Pakistani recipes for you to try, White Chicken Gravy, Beef Stew

Chicken Tikka Karahi – Pakistani Style (Murgh Tikka Kadai)

Chicken Tikka Karahi – a flavorful blend of the two most popular Pakistani dishes in one. Spicy, char-grilled Chicken Tikka cooked in karahi with fragrant spices, fresh tomatoes and ginger. A bold and spicy dish sizzling with flavors
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 3 people
Calories: 380kcal
Author: Hirra Pervaiz


Chicken Tikka

  • 500 grams Chicken (bone-in)
  • 1 Tbsp Chargha Masala (optional, see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp Chaat Masala
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenurgreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper crushed
  • 1 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Orange food color (optional, see notes)
  • 3 Tbsp Natural Yogurt (beaten)
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee or Oil


  • 2 Tbsp Ghee or Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Paste
  • 3 Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds (roasted and coarsely ground)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds (roasted and coarsely ground)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 2-3 Green chilies (sliced)
  • 1 inch Ginger (julienne)


  • Chopped Coriander
  • Green Chilies chopped
  • lemon juice


Chicken Tikka

  • In a bowl whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and coat well with the marinade. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge
  • Heat ghee or oil in a grill pan or non-stick pan over high heat and place the chicken pieces on it. Don’t over crowd, keep the left over marinade. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the chicken is charred about 5-6 minutes each side. Take out and keep in a bowl until further use

Preparing the Karahi

  • In the karahi heat ghee/oil and butter over medium-high heat, when it melts add ginger and garlic paste.
  • stir frequently not to burn the ginger and garlic, when fragrant and lightly golden add chopped tomatoes along with the salt, red chili powder and turmeric. Mix and add 1/2 cup water
  • When the tomatoes are soft reduce the heat to medium and add in the remaining chicken tikka marinade, mix well. Add coarsely ground cumin, coriander and red chili flakes. Give it a mix
  • Now add the prepared Chicken Tikka along with green chilies and ginger, mix it all and cover the pan for 5 minutes. Let cook on medium heat
  • After 5 minutes, do a taste check and adjust seasoning.


  • Garnish with fresh coriander, green chilies and ginger with a squeeze of lemon juice
  • serve with Tandoori Roti or Naan


If you don’t have Chargha Masala add the following instead: 1 tsp Coriander powder, 1 tsp roasted Cumin powder, 2 Tbsp Ginger and Garlic paste and 1 tsp Salt
If you don’t want to use food color add 1 tsp Paprkia Powder or Kashmiri Red Chili powder
For your pinning pleasure



    very educational. i love (MILD) chicken tikka masala and butter chicken so it's fun to hear about this distant relative.

    Joy at

  • Marcie

    Oh, I've never heard of Chicken Tikka Kirahi. We eat chicken tikka masala a lot so I bet we'd like this one, as well!

  • Adriana Lately

    OMG that looks so delicous. I wouldnt mind trying this recipe

  • Gervin Khan

    Wow, this is my first time hearing about this recipe and from that name itself it looks really delicious. I would love to try this recipe on this coming weekend.

  • Lindsay

    Sounds spicy! I can hardly wait to try thise recipe!

  • Surekha Busa

    Oh! Wooow! This recipe is looks good. It's mouth watering and I wanna grab some piece right now.

  • Catherine Santiago - Jose

    It looks like a delicious dish to prepare on my birthday and I think all of my guest will surely like it.

  • Meli'sVida

    this looks so good! thanks for sharing. I love trying new recipes.

  • Diana Tidswell

    Another great chicken recipe idea, i think i would want to cook this for this coming Christmas eve. Hope i can make it perfect

  • Fairuz Ibrahim

    Wow! Chicken Tikka Karahi sounds delicious. I like the fact that it is spicy and drier than other types of curry. It's interesting to know how the dish got its name from the word 'Karahi' (that's one Pakistani word I learned today). I bet this dish is great with roti or rice. Yummy.

  • Thành Đạt Dương

    Wow! Pakistani style recipe! Even i do not know if it match my taste, this is worth a try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Elizabeth O

    Oh my! The recipe looks so delicious, it makes me wanna eat now. Thanks for sharing!

  • American Travel Geek

    The seasoning on the chicken looks very good. I am a big fan of the spices used in Middle Eastern dishes

  • Foodie

    This is awesome recipe.. i read it today & immediately tried .. hopefully comes out delicious

  • Simon

    OMG came across this recipe today, cooked it today and it’s muscled it’s way into our top 5! Massive punchy flavour, just superb. Thanks for posting this.


      Can I use the Shan chargha 50g mix?? I’m lazy. Thank you from Australia. I love Pakistan food but unsure of some of the ingredients.


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