Chicken Ginger

14th August. Fluttering flags, endless patriotic songs, skits in school, shalwar qameez for even the most ‘burger’ of us. Those are my memories of Pakistan’s Independence Day. And they are happy memories. When I look back at my life, my parent’s lives, and my grandparents’ lives, I realize that we are so fortunate to be able to carve out the lives we had in the country my family chose. I am proud to be from Pakistan and my hope is that as my girls get older they too will be proud of their Pakistani heritage. If nothing, I really hope they like Chicken Ginger 😉

This recipe for Chicken Ginger came to me from a scanned newspaper clipping I found on the web a long time ago. It claims to be a copycat of the famous Chicken Ginger from Usmania which is one of Karachis older family restaurants. The fare is mostly Pakistani and mostly delicious, but when we would go there – usually with a large group of people – this Chicken Ginger is what everyone reaches for first.

Chicken Ginger

I have not been to Usmania in a long time now, but I still think fondly of those happy times when in the midst of companionable laughter I would scoop up the chicken ginger with some hot naan straight into my mouth and relish the pungent taste of the fiery tomato based masala. This recipe brings back all those feelings and for that I will continue to make it over and over again.

Some of the ingredients, namely the soy sauce and ketchup, are admittedly a little odd, but when I skip them this dish seems incomplete so please try not to. Also my tolerance for sliced green chillies is a little low so I am happy with 2, but usually put 4 for my far braver husband and in laws.

Azadi Mubarak to my fellow Pakistanis, stay safe Pakistan.

Chicken Ginger
Serves 4

1 lb boneless chicken (use more for bone in)
Tomatoes 3-4 (chopped)
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1 heaped tsp garlic paste
1 heaped tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Coriander Powder
½ tsp Soy Sauce
¼ cup oil
2 tbsp butter
3-4 sliced Green Chillies
¼ cup julienned ginger – approx 2 inch piece
1 tbsp ketchup
½ tsp Garam Masala
½ cup yogurt
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Slice your chicken into 1 inch strips and set aside. Now whisk your yogurt and leave it out near the stove to come to room temperature. Get your fresh ingredients ready and put a pan – a wok or karhai works best – on medium high heat.


Add your chicken, ginger paste, garlic paste, and tomatoes to the pan. Cook until the water dries up. If you have cut your boneless chicken into small pieces then it will be cooked through by now. If not add a little water and let it cook.

Then add the soy sauce, salt, red chillies, black pepper, turmeric, butter, and oil. Cook until the masala turns out a bright red hue and the oil rises above it.

Now it is time to gently mix in the yoghurt, green chillies, ketchup, chopped ginger (reserving some for garnish) and garam masala. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. You can have this over rice (add water to the finished dish to thin out the gravy) or bread. I like it best with bread.

Chicken Ginger



42 thoughts on “Chicken Ginger

    • That would be delicious – I would cook it a little differently though just because shrimp overcooks so quickly. Here’s how (I think) – season the shrimp w salt and a pinch of turmeric and then when the masala is cooked all the way through add the shrimp with the ginger, yoghurt, etc. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  1. OMG…for even the most “Burger” of us 🙂 I never knew of the term “burger” until I got married….I thought it was hilarious…

    I have a recipe for ginger chicken which is okay. For some reason when my mom makes the same recipe it turns out awesome. I’m going to try your version soon. I wasn’t using ketchup or soy sauce so that is probably where I was going wrong.

    • hahaha I was actually going to go into the burger vs bun kabab thing (I am clearly a bun kabab in a burger world lol) but decided to skip it.

      the original recipe calls for ajinomoto but I find soy sauce works well. let me know how it goes

      • Asiya it is essentially a burger with more desi condiments – hari chutney, imli ki chutney etc. You get two kinds – one made with a meat kabab in the chapli or shami style and another made with chana daal cooked and made into patties. Ever since I had typhoid in my teens there was an embargo on my street food consumption so I actually haven’t had one in aeons

  2. Sarahhhhhhhh! LOL at the “burger”! I also didn’t know what a burger was until I got married hehe.
    Sooo this looks flipping phenomenal and I cannot wait to try this! Also, have you been to the Usmania is Chicago? They have this amazing dish called Frontier Chicken and Frontier Chicken Rice. I’ve been trying to hunt down a recipe for ages, but can never seem to find it. Do you think you can come up with a copycat? 😉

    • frontier who what where?!?! no I haven’t. like most decent Karachiites I use all my Chicago eating out on Sabri Nihari. lol jk I didn’t know there was an Usmania there!

      • Sabri Nihari has a frontier chicken, as well! Usmania’s is better…you can actually taste the flavors instead of just spiciness. I found my way to your blog because I was looking up a copycat frontier chicken recipe like how Usmania does it. None of the very few recipes online are at all similar to it. 😦

      • well I am glad you came here, even if by mistake hehe I am off to Karachi in a few weeks and I will try this frontier chicken and get back to you!

  3. I do not eat chicken. So i missed this post of yours!! 😦 My bad! But just now read through and i agree, the memories associated with celebrating Independence day is so special! (Belated) Happy Independence Day to you too my Pakistani blogger friend 🙂

  4. Perfect recipe for Azaadi. I can feel you Sarah how it feel to be far away from the land where we grow up. I do badly miss my old city at every Occasions to count. Your chicken look tempting, I’ve never been to usmania. Where’s it btw?

    • There are two I believe, the one I have been to is close to China Town in Clifton. One day we should get together and celebrate 🙂

  5. Lovely captures Sarah , well can’t say anything about dish as I don’t eat chicken….well said about the great day and memories are what remains throughout…..happy independence day (belated) to you my friend…

  6. This looks so lovely and tempting to try. Mentioning good old times always bring tears to my eyes, so I can very much relate to what you feel. What really breaks my heart is that mu kids will not share the same memories and experiences as I am, but anyways they sure will have their own.

    • I hear you Amira, I feel some things will be so utterly foreign (no pun intended) for my kids. They will never get the joys of playing in monsoon rains and then coming inside for garam pakoras but I try my best to create other memories similar to those ones … of course then people think I am crazy for letting my daughter get wet in the rain!

  7. This sounds quite droolicious to me….the zing from ginger and taste of chicken….wow…..Will try this soon….

    Better late than never….Thank you for participating in Global Ramadan Event – Joy From Fasting To Feasting – VII…..

  8. Pingback: Top 5s of 2014 | Flour & Spice

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