Authentic Chicken Chargha Recipe

Looking for some proteins with lots of flavors? This Chicken Chargha is one of the most popular traditional Pakistani dishes. It is whole chicken marinated and then steamed for perfect tenderness and a smoky flavor. Later it is fried for crisp.

Chicken is called Chargha in pushto language. In Pakistan Lahori Chargha is very popular which is originated from the city of Lahore in Pakistan. This Lahori chargha recipe is one of the best pakistani whole chicken recipes.

This is a super simple recipe. You just have to marinate the chicken first, then you have to steam it and the final step is to deep fry it to get perfect texture and color.

You can make this rich and delicious chicken chargha to make your events special, this will surely amaze your guests. You can also try our more related recipes like Air Fryer Chicken Kebab Recipe, Easy Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning, Spicy Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Skewers, 20 Crockpot Chicken Recipes You Can’t Afford to Miss.


  1. Authentic Flavor: Our recipe stays true to the traditional techniques and spices used in authentic Chicken Chargha, ensuring an unforgettable taste experience reminiscent of the streets of Lahore.
  2. Simple Ingredients, Big Flavor: With easily accessible ingredients, you can recreate this restaurant-worthy dish in the comfort of your own kitchen, impressing friends and family with minimal effort.
  3. Versatility: Whether it’s a festive gathering or a casual dinner, Chicken Chargha fits the bill, elevating any occasion with its bold flavors and aromatic presence.
  4. Tender Texture: The combination of marinating, steaming, and frying ensures that the chicken remains juicy and tender on the inside while achieving a satisfying crispiness on the outside. Each bite is a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.



1. Whole Chicken: You will need 1 whole chicken, skin-on; cut into pieces it provides the base protein for the dish, ensuring succulent and flavorful meat.

2. Yogurt: You will need 1 cup yogurt to tenderize the chicken while adding a tangy flavor to the marinade.

3. Garlic and Ginger Paste: You will need 2 tbsp each ginger and garlic paste to infuse the chicken with aromatic flavors and enhances its overall taste.

4. Spices: You will need 1 tsp each of spices (Cumin, Coriander, Garam Masala, Chili Powder) which creates the signature flavor profile of Chicken Chargha, balancing warmth and spice.

5. Lemon Juice: You will need juice from 1 lemon to add a hint of acidity to balance the spices and brighten the dish’s flavors.

6. Oil: You will need oil for both marinating the chicken and frying, adding moisture and helping achieve a crispy exterior.

7. Fresh Cilantro and Mint Leaves: You will need Fresh Cilantro and Mint Leaves to garnish the dish, providing freshness and a pop of color.


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

  • In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic paste, ginger paste, spices (cumin, coriander, garam masala, chili powder), and lemon juice.
  • Mix the marinade until well blended and smooth.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are fully coated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 2: Steam the Chicken

  • Place a steamer basket in a large pot filled with water, ensuring the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the basket.
  • Arrange the marinated chicken pieces in the steamer basket, making sure they are not overcrowded.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and steam the chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • Check for doneness by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the chicken; it should run clear with no traces of pink.

Step 3: Fry the Chicken

  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Carefully add the steamed chicken pieces to the hot oil, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Fry the chicken pieces until golden brown and crispy on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes per batch.
  • Use tongs to carefully flip the chicken pieces halfway through the frying process to ensure even browning.
  • Once fried, transfer the chicken chargha to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.


Maintaining the right temperature is key for both steaming and frying the chicken chargha. For steaming, keep the water gently boiling but not vigorously, ensuring a consistent simmer to cook the chicken evenly without making it tough or dry. When frying, preheat the oil to about 350°F (175°C) to achieve the perfect frying temperature. This ensures the chicken cooks quickly and evenly, achieving a crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender. Keep an eye on the oil temperature, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a steady frying temperature throughout.


  • For maximum flavor infusion, marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
  • When steaming the chicken, use a steamer basket to ensure even cooking.
  • To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, insert a knife into the thickest part of the meat. If the juices run clear and there are no traces of pink, it’s ready.
  • Before frying, make sure the oil is hot enough (around 350°F or 175°C).
  • Fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lower the oil temperature and result in soggy chicken.


Leftover Chicken Chargha can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, gently warm in the microwave or oven until heated through.


  1. Mint Chutney: Serve the Chicken Chargha with a side of spicy mint chutney for an extra burst of flavor. The coolness of the mint complements the bold spices of the chicken perfectly.
  2. Yogurt Sauce: A creamy yogurt sauce seasoned with garlic, cumin, and a pinch of salt makes a delicious accompaniment to the Chicken Chargha.
  3. Fresh Salad: Pair the Chicken Chargha with a simple salad of cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice.
  4. Raita: A cooling raita made with yogurt, cucumber, mint, and spices is a traditional accompaniment to spicy dishes like Chicken Chargha. It helps balance out the heat and adds a creamy texture to the meal.


  • Skinless Chicken: If you prefer a lighter version of Chicken Chargha, you can use skinless chicken pieces instead of skin-on.
  • Greek Yogurt: If you don’t have regular yogurt on hand, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute in the marinade. It provides a similar tanginess and creaminess.
  • Ground Spices: If you don’t have whole spices available, you can use ground spices instead. Simply reduce the quantities slightly, as ground spices tend to be more potent.
  • Lime Juice: If you don’t have lemons available, lime juice can be used as a substitute. It provides the same acidity and freshness to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor of the dish.


  1. Transfer the cooked Chicken Chargha to a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro and mint leaves for a pop of color and added freshness.
  2. Serve the Chicken Chargha alongside your favorite sides, such as naan bread, rice, or roti, to soak up the flavorful juices and create a complete meal.
  3. Present the Chicken Chargha family-style, allowing everyone to dig in and serve themselves.
  4. For a festive occasion or gathering, arrange the Chicken Chargha on a large sharing platter surrounded by fresh lemon wedges, sliced onions, and tomatoes for guests to customize their servings according to their preferences.
  5. Serve the Chicken Chargha hot and fresh from the frying pan to ensure the crispy exterior and juicy interior are at their peak. Top of Form


Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

Yes, boneless chicken can be used, but the cooking time may vary. Adjust accordingly to ensure it’s fully cooked.

Can I bake the chicken instead of frying it?

While frying adds a crispy texture, you can bake the marinated chicken in a preheated oven at 375°F for approximately 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.

What can I substitute for yogurt?

Sour cream or buttermilk can be used as substitutes for yogurt in the marinade. They provide a similar tanginess and help tenderize the chicken.

Is Chicken Chargha spicy?

The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference by reducing or increasing the amount of chili powder in the marinade. It typically has a medium level of spice.

Can I marinate the chicken for longer than overnight?

While overnight marination yields the best results, you can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours for even more flavor infusion. Just be sure to keep it refrigerated.

Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe?

It’s recommended to use fresh chicken for optimal flavor and texture. However, if using frozen chicken, ensure it’s fully thawed before marinating to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat evenly.

Chicken Chargha

Indulge in the rich flavors of Chicken Chargha, a classic Pakistani dish that tantalizes the taste buds with its aromatic spices and tender meat. This recipe combines traditional marinating, steaming, and frying techniques to create a dish that's sure to impress.
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 350 kcal


  • Large bowl
  • Steamer basket
  • Deep frying pan


  • 1 whole chicken, skin-on, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, garam masala, and chili powder
  • Oil for frying
  • Fresh cilantro and mint leaves for garnish
  • 1 lemon juice


  • Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
    In a large bowl, combine yogurt, garlic paste, ginger paste, spices, and lemon juice.
    Mix until well blended and smooth.
    Add chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring they are fully coated.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Step 2: Steam the Chicken
    Could you place a steamer basket in a pot filled with water, making sure water doesn't touch the bottom of the basket?
    Arrange marinated chicken pieces in the steamer basket.
    Cover the pot and steam chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.
    Check for doneness by inserting a knife; juices should run clear.
  • Step 3: Fry the Chicken
    Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Carefully add steamed chicken pieces to hot oil, working in batches.
    Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes per batch.
    Transfer fried chicken toa paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.


  • For maximum flavor, marinate chicken overnight.
  • Use a steamer basket to ensure even steaming.
  • Fry chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Nutritional Information per Serving:
  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Fiber: 1g


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