This food street inspired white chicken karhai will leave those desi taste buds drooling for more

Published: January 25, 2017

As soon as the dish was placed in front of me, I jumped at it. PHOTO: ARHAMA SIDDIQA.

As we know, Lahore is well known for its gastronomic treats, and is considered one of the culinary titans of Pakistan. I recently had the chance to visit the city and the famous food street.

Upon entering the street, my mouth automatically started watering. The atmosphere was thick with steam, oil, and smoke from the countless karhais loaded with chicken and marinated kebabs on the charcoal grills. Watching the chef add green chillies to the wok was nothing short of torture. But it was one well worth waiting for.

As soon as the dish was placed in front of me, I jumped at it. It was just me and the chicken karhai, and that’s all my brain comprehended. For me, the chicken karhai is food street’s star attraction.

Hence, I decided to go desi this time around and post a well-loved recipe, but one not on the traditional lines. Chicken white karhai is a recipe for people who don’t like tomatoes or onions in their food. But this recipe won’t let you feel that something is missing and will absolutely tantalise those desi taste buds. It tastes absolutely delicious with hot naan or tandoori roti… or rognhi naan (yes, I am obsessed).

Chicken white karhai is a recipe for people who don’t like tomatoes or onions in their food.


Chicken – 1 kg (16 pieces)

Green chillies ground – 1 tsp

Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp

Salt – 1½ tsp

Crushed and roasted cumin – 1½ tsp

Black pepper – 1 tsp (coarsely crushed)

Lemon juice – ¼ cup

All spice – ½ tsp

Green chillies – 6 (chopped)

Ginger Julienne – 2 tbsp

Fresh cream – 4 tbsp

Oil – ½ cup

Yogurt – ½ cup


1. Heat oil in a wok. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for a few minutes until it turns golden brown in colour.

2. Add the chicken pieces and fry for five minutes. Next, add salt, crushed black pepper, crushed cumin and yogurt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is tender.

3. In the end, add the cream, all spice and lemon juice. Mix well and cook until you see the oil floating on top.

For me, at least chicken karhai is Food Street’s star attraction.

All photos: Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Hamsid

    oh I agree , Lahore has a LOT of places ! , what do you mean by weight? and I hope that the picture does justice to the recipe this time =pRecommend

  • Parvez

    Yup, the picture was good ……. oily, gooey but did look tasty.
    By weight means …….2 kg of mutton kerhai, 1 kg of Lahori fish … went something like that …. get the idea ?Recommend

  • twister286

    karhai is sold by weight in most street-side outlets. It refers to the weight of the meat in the dish.Recommend

  • Hamsid

    haha chalo goodRecommend