Chicken Karahi or Kadai is a delicious spicy curry popular in Pakistan and India. It’s made with a curry base consisting of tomatoes and sometimes onion that’s simmered in aromatic South Asian spices. This Chicken Karahi recipe is made in the Instant Pot/Multicooker, yet packed with so much authentic flavor.

Chicken Kadai with cumin coriander and ginger garlic paste

Out of all the Karahis and curries I have on my blog, this is by far my favorite. I have a Stovetop version of this same Karahi already on the blog but recently I made this in the Instant Pot with slight modifications and it was unbelievably good!

Spices I use for My Special Karahi

The spices I use for all my curries are easily available in your local grocery store.

  1. Cumin and Coriander: These give that earthy boost to the curry and essential for Indian and Pakistani cooking. You can also add a tsp of cumin seeds to the oil before starting and let them sputter.
  2. Red chili powder: I use two main types of red chili: regular red chili and Kashmiri red chili. Note that Kashmiri chili is not that spicy and you will need to add more of it to add heat to the curry. Kashmiri red chili is used to give curries a rich deep color. If I don’t specify Kashmiri chili in the ingredients, please know that I’m using regular red chili.
  3. Black pepper: This adds such a peppery boost to the Karahi. Peshawari Karahis are famous for lots of  black pepper.

Chicken Kadai with cumin coriander and ginger garlic paste



  1. Use chicken thighs or whole chicken. Curries need some loving because the tomatoes (and onion if you’re using) need to breakdown and become one or homogenize, which in Urdu is referred to as “ekjaan.” Chicken breast has a short cooking window and not recommended for this recipe.
  2. When pressure cooking, do not add a lot of water. I only make sure that there is about 1/4 cup liquid, enough for the curry to be loose. If you add too much water, you will be left with a lot of liquid that you’ll need to saute to help evaporate at the end.
  3.  For chicken thighs and whole chicken, I pressure cook for only 6 minutes in the Instant Pot/Multicooker and then saute for a few minutes on high to help the water to evaporate.
  4. Always add yogurt after pressure cooking, never before because there is a chance that the yogurt can curdle and split. I talk about the stage of yogurt I prefer more in my other Instant Pot Chicken Karahi recipe.

Chicken Kadai in the Instant pot

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5 from 4 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Kadai

Chicken Karahi is the most popular type of curry in Pakistan and India made with fresh South Asian spices, ginger garlic paste and tomatoes. This Instant Pot recipe is authentic and packed with rich authentic street food flavor!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Chicken Kadai, Chicken Karahi
Servings: 4
Author: Rookie With A Cookie


  • Instant Pot or Multicooker


  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 4 canned tomatoes whole and peeled cans are easily available
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder not kashmiri red chili
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt lightly beaten


  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 1/2 green chili or more for extra heat
  • 1/8 cup water


  • In your Instant Pot, on saute mode ginger and garli paste for a minute then add the chicken pieces and sautee till they're no longer pink.
  • Then add the chutney made by blending the chutney ingredients together and stir for a couple minutes.
  • Next add the tomatoes to the curry, give it a stir and mush down the tomatoes a bit. Then add the spices and mix for a couple minutes.
  • Hit "cancel" on the Instant Pot and put the Kadai on manual pressure on high for 6 minutes, making sure to seal the valve. No additional water will be needed as the chutney is watery already.
  • Quick release once pressure cooking is complete and turn the "saute" mode on again. Continue stirring until the excess water has evaporated and the oil begins to separate.
  • Lastly, turn the Instant Pot on "Low" setting or if using the Multicooker, reduce the temperature to about 220F. Add the beaten yogurt alongwith a couple green chilis and cover with the lid for 8-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with julienned ginger and cilantro and serve with hot naan.


  • Make sure you beat the yogurt before adding and add on low heat to avoid any curdling. The appearance of the curry will look grainy when you add the yogurt but after allowing it to simmer, it should be perfect!
  • If you prefer white meat over dark meat, I recommend allowing the curry to pressure cook and then add chicken breast and cook that on "saute" mode. Chicken breast cannot survive the 6 min pressure cooking time and will dry out.

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James R
James R
7 months ago

5 stars
It doesn’t say when to add the spices? I’m guessing in the oil at the beginning before the chicken?

1 year ago

5 stars
Is the thigh meat with bone or boneless?

Reply to  Rookie With A Cookie
1 year ago

5 stars
To confirm, this was boneless thigh meat?

2 years ago

Made this chicken karahi and it was just the best!! So easy to make, so quick, so flavourful! Everyone in my family loved it and they were literally left licking their plates! Even those that had already had something to eat and were not hungry ended up sitting down and joining in : )

And I didn’t have to cut any onions to make it!

2 years ago

Hi Izza I dont have an IP. Should I follow this recipe if I’m using a regular pressure cooker? I’ve tried opening the stove top karahi link but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Bushra Osmani
Bushra Osmani
2 years ago

5 stars
This was SOOOOOOO good!! The yummiest and easiest karahi I’ve ever made. I will be using this recipe for karahi form now on. The chutney is key! Thank you for sharing! Loved it!!

Welcome To My Food Blog!

I’m Izza, the Rookie behind and in front of the camera. Here, you will find all the delicious recipes I’m whipping up in my cozy apartment in downtown Seattle while juggling my 9-5 in tech.

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