Lahori Chargha
Lahori Chargha
5 from 9 votes
Dive into the culinary journey of Lahori chargha, a delectable offering from the heart of Pakistan. Uncover the rich flavours and traditional cooking technique that turns an ordinary chicken into a feast for the senses. A thrilling ride for your taste buds is just a recipe away!
Lahori Chargha

I present to you the magnificent Lahori Chargha, a true testament to Pakistan’s rich culinary heritage. It’s a dish that not only captivates your senses with its distinctive aroma and taste but also lures you into a fascinating journey of its history and variations. 

As the name suggests, Lahori Chargha hails from Lahore, a city known for its vibrant food culture. The age-old recipe passed down through generations, is a quintessential Lahori delight that stands out amongst the multitude of dishes in Pakistani cuisine.

Historically, this dish was enjoyed by royalty and common folks alike, relishing the spiced, steam-cooked, and deep-fried chicken during festive occasions. 

On the scale of difficulty, I’d place Lahori Chargha as a medium-level task. The recipe might seem intimidating at first glance but fear not. All it requires is a bit of patience, love for cooking, and the right blend of spices. In return, you’re rewarded with a dish that’s truly a feast for the senses. 

The beauty of Lahori Chargha lies in its versatility. While the traditional recipe uses a whole chicken marinated in a blend of spices, there’s room for variation. You can experiment with different types of poultry or adjust the spice level to suit your preference.  

Just remember, no matter what tweaks you make, the essence of Lahori Chargha lies in its technique: a slow, steam-cooking process followed by a quick deep fry to achieve that crispy exterior and succulent interior. 

Not only is Lahori Chargha a flavourful delight, but it also carries a symbolic value. With its rich colours, the dish epitomizes the lively and colourful spirit of Lahore and its people. Every bite of the crispy, spiced chicken takes you on a sensory journey to the bustling food streets of the city. 

The use of a variety of spices like garam masala, cumin, and turmeric not only enhances the flavour but also contributes to the dish’s health benefits. Each spice brings a unique therapeutic property, making Lahori Chargha not just a treat to the palate but also a wholesome meal. 

Cooking Lahori Chargha is like unfolding a gastronomic tale, steeped in history and tradition.  

It’s not just about the destination – the crispy, juicy chicken that awaits – it’s also about the journey: the meticulous preparation, the anticipation as the chicken cooks, and the satisfaction of presenting a dish that’s more than just a meal; it’s a cultural experience. So, ready to embark on this culinary adventure? Let’s dive right in! 

What Ingredients to Use & Why: 

As we set out on this flavourful journey, it’s important to understand the ingredients that make Lahori Chargha a culinary masterpiece. Each ingredient used in this recipe is a cornerstone that builds the foundation of this rich and aromatic dish. 

Chicken Whole: The star of our show is undoubtedly the whole chicken. In this recipe, we use a whole chicken, which is marinated and then cooked to perfection.  

Its wholesome, meaty flavour works as a canvas, absorbing all the deliciousness from the marinade and transforming it into a dish of gastronomic wonder. If you can’t find a whole chicken, feel free to use chicken parts like thighs or breasts, but remember, a whole chicken will give you the most authentic Lahori Chargha experience. 

Yoghurt: Yoghurt plays a key role in tenderizing the chicken and allowing the spices to penetrate deep into the meat, enhancing its flavour. The acidity in yoghurt breaks down the protein in the chicken, making it softer and juicier.  

While yoghurt is the traditional choice, you can substitute it with buttermilk or a non-dairy yoghurt for a dairy-free alternative. 

Ginger Paste, Garlic Paste, and Green Chilli Paste: These three elements form the backbone of many South Asian dishes, Lahori Chargha being no exception. They infuse the chicken with an aromatic intensity that’s hard to resist.  

If you want to switch things up, you can use fresh, finely chopped ginger, garlic, and green chillies instead. 

Spices: This medley of spices is what gives Lahori Chargha its characteristic taste. Each spice plays its part – salt enhances the overall flavours, black pepper adds a hint of heat, garam masala infuses a warming depth, cumin lends an earthy note, Kashmiri chilli provides colour and mild heat, and turmeric imparts a subtle, earthy aroma and yellow tint.  

Feel free to tweak the spice levels to match your palate. If you don’t have Kashmiri chilli, you can substitute it with paprika. 

Lemon Juice: The tangy hit from the lemon juice cuts through the richness of the spices and balances the overall flavour profile. It also aids in tenderizing the chicken. In case you’re out of lemons, vinegar or even lime juice can serve as a good alternative. 

Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent, helping the marinade adhere better to the chicken. They also contribute to the crispy exterior when the chicken is fried. In case of egg allergies, you could use a cornstarch-water slurry as an alternative. 

Oil: Last but not least, oil ensures a golden, crispy finish when frying the chicken. While the recipe calls for any generic cooking oil, you could also use ghee (clarified butter) for a richer flavour. 

Each ingredient in Lahori Chargha plays its role to perfection, contributing to a symphony of flavours that make this dish a truly exceptional culinary experience.  

Understanding these ingredients and their purpose allows you to appreciate the dish even more and gives you the flexibility to tweak the recipe as per your preferences. So now that we’re well-versed with our flavour warriors, let’s set the stage for them to perform! 

Mastering the Art of Lahori Chargha 

Getting the Lahori Chargha just right can be a thrilling yet challenging endeavour. When I embarked on my journey to master this quintessential Lahori dish, I realized it’s not just about following a recipe. It’s about embracing the art of Pakistani cooking and giving due respect to its traditional techniques. 

One of the key things that sets Lahori Chargha apart from your regular chicken dish is the cooking method. The process of steaming followed by deep frying might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but trust me, it’s this unique method that makes Lahori Chargha a gastronomic delight.  

The steaming ensures the chicken is cooked to perfection from the inside, with all the flavours from the marinade seeping deep into the meat. The deep frying, on the other hand, gives the dish its iconic crispiness that contrasts wonderfully with the succulent interior. 

An important tip I’d like to share is to always marinate the chicken overnight, if possible. The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the better it absorbs the flavours, resulting in a more delectable Lahori Chargha.  

Also, when frying the chicken, make sure the oil is heated properly. A hot, quick fry will ensure the chicken remains juicy inside while achieving a crispy exterior. 

While mastering Lahori Chargha can be a culinary adventure in itself, remember that the joy of cooking lies in the journey and not just the destination. So put on your apron, gather your spices, and let’s immerse ourselves in the delightful world of Pakistani cuisine. 

Adapting Lahori Chargha to Dietary Preferences 

I’m often asked if this dish can be adapted to cater to different dietary preferences. The answer is a resounding yes! One of the wonderful aspects of cooking is the freedom to experiment and adapt recipes to suit individual preferences and dietary needs. 

For those who prefer less spicy food, feel free to adjust the quantity of green chilli paste and black pepper. The dish will still maintain its flavour integrity even with reduced spice levels.  

Similarly, for individuals with dairy restrictions, the yoghurt in the marinade can be replaced with non-dairy yoghurt or a squeeze of lemon juice. Remember, the objective of the yoghurt is to tenderize the chicken, so any ingredient with a similar property will do the trick. 

For those following a gluten-free diet, Lahori Chargha naturally checks off your list. There’s no gluten-containing ingredient in the traditional recipe. However, be careful with spice blends like garam masala or cumin powder.  

While they’re typically gluten-free, some brands may have cross-contamination. Always check the label or make your spice blends at home to be on the safe side. 

Finally, if you’re a vegetarian and feeling left out, fret not! You can replace the chicken with whole cauliflower or tofu to create your version of Lahori Chargha. The cooking process remains the same, and you can enjoy the flavours of this delicious dish in your unique style. 

Lahori Chargha is more than just a recipe; it’s a celebration of flavours and cooking techniques. By adapting it to suit your dietary preferences, you make this celebration inclusive, proving that good food truly has no boundaries! 

Delving into the Flavour Profile of Lahori Chargha 

When I first tasted Lahori Chargha, it was an explosion of flavours that left me yearning for more.  

The more I cooked and explored this dish, the more I discovered its intricate flavour profile. Lahori Chargha is not just a spicy chicken dish; it’s a culinary masterpiece that brings together a multitude of tastes that please the palate. 

The first flavour note that strikes when you bite into Lahori Chargha is the distinct tanginess derived from the yoghurt and lemon juice. This tanginess, coupled with the heat from the green chilli paste, Kashmiri chilli, and black pepper, creates a perfect harmony of tastes.  

The aromatic trio of ginger, garlic, and green chilli paste offers a deep and robust flavour that’s essential to Lahori Chargha. 

The spices play a crucial role in defining the flavour of this dish. The heat and colour from the Kashmiri chilli, the earthy hint from the cumin and turmeric, and the warmth from the garam masala – each spice contributes uniquely to the dish, creating a flavour profile that is bold and dynamic. 

Lahori Chargha is a dish of layers – each bite reveals a new flavour, each ingredient adds depth, and every flavour profile is a nod to the rich culinary tradition it belongs to. And that’s the beauty of Lahori Chargha – a recipe that tells a flavourful story in each bite! 

Discovering the Perfect Side Dishes for Lahori Chargha 

Choosing the perfect side dish for Lahori Chargha can truly elevate your dining experience. When I serve Lahori Chargha, I like to accompany it with dishes that complement its rich, spicy flavours. 

My go-to side dish is a serving of fluffy basmati rice. The mild flavour of basmati rice serves as a perfect base to soak up the robust flavours of Lahori Chargha.  

If you’re a fan of bread, consider serving it with a side of naan. The soft, fluffy naan is perfect for wrapping around a piece of chargha and enjoying it as a filling meal. 

To cut through the richness of the dish, a side salad is also a great choice. A simple salad with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and a squeeze of lemon can balance out the heavy flavours and add a refreshing crunch to your meal. Raita (yoghurt-based side dish) with cucumber or boondi (fried gram flour balls) can also be an excellent companion to Lahori Chargha. 

Lastly, don’t forget a sweet end to your meal. A traditional Pakistani dessert like Kheer (rice pudding) or Gulab Jamun can be the perfect end to your Lahori Chargha feast. 

In essence, the perfect side dish for Lahori Chargha depends on your palate and preferences. Try different combinations, and who knows, you might stumble upon a pairing that becomes your new favourite! 

Exploring the Health Benefits of Lahori Chargha 

I find it’s not just the taste that makes it a favourite, but also the surprising health benefits it offers. After all, there’s something incredibly satisfying about enjoying a delicious meal that’s also nutritious. 

Chicken, the main ingredient in Lahori Chargha, is an excellent source of lean protein. This helps in muscle building and promotes satiety, which is crucial for weight management.  

Moreover, chicken also provides a good amount of essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B6, Niacin, and Selenium that contribute to overall health. 

The spices used in Lahori Chargha are also health powerhouses. Turmeric, for example, contains curcumin, a compound with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, cumin aids in digestion and boosts immunity, and black pepper enhances nutrient absorption. 

Even the yoghurt used in the marinade is beneficial. It’s a source of probiotics, promoting a healthy gut, and is also rich in calcium and protein. However, remember that Lahori Chargha involves deep frying, so it’s crucial to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

Decoding the Spice Mix for Lahori Chargha 

Creating the perfect spice mix for Lahori Chargha can be a fulfilling experience. As I discovered, it’s in this delicate balance of spices that the true flavour of Lahori Chargha comes alive. 

Let’s start with the Kashmiri Chilli, one of the most essential spices in the mix. Its mild heat and vibrant colour make it a beloved ingredient in Pakistani cuisine. It gives Lahori Chargha its distinctive red hue and a subtle spiciness that doesn’t overpower the dish. 

Then comes the Garam Masala, a blend of ground spices, including cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, among others. It’s the garam masala that adds a warming touch to the Lahori Chargha, making it comforting and hearty. 

The addition of Cumin lends an earthy and slightly bitter flavour, balancing the heat and tanginess of other ingredients. The Black Pepper brings a gentle heat, while Turmeric adds a hint of mustardy aroma and a beautiful golden touch. 

Perfecting your Lahori Chargha spice mix might require a bit of trial and error, but don’t worry! The joy lies in this culinary journey, and once you get the balance right, you’ll have a spice mix that transforms a simple chicken into an unforgettable Lahori Chargha. 

Understanding the Role of Marinade in Lahori Chargha 

A crucial step in making the Lahori Chargha is the marination process. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good marinade! It is the secret sauce, quite literally, that can make or break this dish. 

Marinades are the hidden heroes in our kitchens. They impart flavour, tenderize the meat, and act as a protective layer during the cooking process. In the Lahori Chargha recipe, the marinade does all these jobs brilliantly.  

The yoghurt, lemon juice, and spices come together to form a tangy, spicy, and aromatic marinade that seeps into the chicken, leaving it flavourful and tender. 

Yoghurt and lemon juice, with their acidity, tenderize the chicken, breaking down its proteins. This process allows the chicken to absorb the flavours of the marinade better and makes it succulent and juicy when cooked.  

The various spices and pastes ensure that the chicken is flavoured through and through, contributing to the signature taste of Lahori Chargha. 

To get the best results, I always recommend marinating the chicken overnight. This ample time ensures that the flavours are well-infused, and the chicken becomes tender, leading to a perfectly flavoured Lahori Chargha that will leave your taste buds delighted. 

Decoding the Cooking Techniques in Lahori Chargha 

I discovered the crucial role of the cooking techniques in this dish. The process involves two primary methods – steaming and frying, each contributing uniquely to the final result. 

The steaming process is key to cooking the chicken thoroughly while keeping it moist and tender. It allows the marinade to permeate deeply, infusing every bite with flavour. Additionally, steaming ensures that the spices do not get burned, retaining the true essence of the dish. 

Then comes the frying process. This step might seem counterintuitive after steaming, but it’s essential to achieve the classic texture of Lahori Chargha.               

Frying gives the chicken its irresistible crispy exterior, contrasting wonderfully with the juicy, tender inside. It also enhances the flavours of the spices, adding a final punch to the dish. 

So, don’t be intimidated by the two-step cooking process. It’s this very technique that makes Lahori Chargha the unique, delicious dish we all love. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and again to impress your guests and satiate your Lahori Chargha cravings! 

The Role of Lemon Juice in Lahori Chargha 

When I concoct my Lahori Chargha, one ingredient that brings a zesty freshness to this rich dish is the humble lemon juice. It’s not just an afterthought or a garnish; it’s an essential part of the recipe that adds a unique dimension to the dish. 

Lemon juice acts as a natural meat tenderizer, thanks to its acidic properties. It breaks down the protein structure in the chicken, making it more succulent and juicy.  

But it’s not just about the texture; lemon juice also infuses the chicken with its fresh and tangy flavour, counterbalancing the heat from the spices and making the Lahori Chargha more balanced and enjoyable. 

Moreover, lemon juice enhances the flavours of other ingredients, making them more pronounced. It helps lift and brighten the overall taste of Lahori Chargha, leaving you with a satisfying tang after each bite. 

So, don’t forget that squeeze of lemon juice when you’re making Lahori Chargha. It might seem like a small part of the recipe, but its impact is significant, proving that sometimes, it’s the simplest ingredients that make the biggest difference! 

Understanding the Cultural Significance of Lahori Chargha 

I’ve come to appreciate not just its flavours, but also the cultural significance it carries. This dish is more than just a recipe; it’s a testament to the rich cultural and culinary heritage of Lahore, Pakistan. 

Lahori Chargha is a celebratory dish often associated with special occasions and festivities. Families and friends gather together to share a meal of Lahori Chargha, turning it into an expression of camaraderie and shared joy. 

The spices used in Lahori Chargha tell a story of Lahore’s spice markets, where the aroma of freshly ground spices fills the air and forms the heart of many traditional recipes.  

The cooking process of Lahori Chargha – the careful marination, the steaming, the final deep fry – all reflect the culinary traditions and techniques that have been passed down through generations. 

In essence, every bite of Lahori Chargha is a bite into the vibrant culture and tradition of Lahore. It’s not just a dish; it’s a cultural symbol, a delicious representation of Lahori hospitality and culinary prowess. And that, to me, is what makes Lahori Chargha truly special! 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

Oh, you loved the Lahori Chargha? Well, I’ve got more for you to explore in this delightful Pakistani cuisine journey! 

Imagine yourself savouring a bowl of Mutton Yakhani. The tender, succulent mutton gently stewed with aromatic spices and a hearty broth, it’s an indulgence that reminds me of lazy Sunday afternoons with family. 

Let’s not forget the Chicken Biryani, a dish that I absolutely adore. It’s this exquisite one-pot dish layered with marinated chicken, fragrant basmati rice, caramelized onions, and a melange of spices that, trust me, will make your kitchen smell heavenly. 

Then, there’s the Peshawari Chicken, a true celebration of flavours. The chicken is marinated in a rich, spicy yoghurt mix before being pan-fried to perfection. I could have this every week and not get tired of it! 

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, do try the Aloo Gobi. This dish is pure comfort food for me, a simple yet flavoursome concoction of potato and cauliflower, cooked with turmeric, cumin, and coriander. It’s a perfect pair with a hot chapati or naan. 

And to wrap things up, there’s nothing better than a sweet and creamy Rice Kheer. The flavours of cardamom, saffron, and toasted nuts infused with creamy rice are just the perfect end to a Pakistani feast. 

I invite you to try these and experience the vibrant and soul-satisfying flavours of Pakistani cuisine. And remember, I’d love to hear about your cooking adventures in the comments section below. 

Lahori Chargha

Lahori Chargha

by Nabeela Kauser
Dive into the culinary journey of Lahori chargha, a delectable offering from the heart of Pakistan. Uncover the rich flavours and traditional cooking technique that turns an ordinary chicken into a feast for the senses.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 477 kcal


  • 1 Chicken Whole
  • 50 g Yoghurt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Green Chilli Paste
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Oil


  • In a bowl add all the marinade ingredients then mix to combine until a smooth paste forms
  • Add the whole chicken and spread the paste all over the chicken then allow to marinate for at least 1 hour – for best results leave to marinate overnight
  • In a large pot add a steamer rack (or wire rack) in the pot then add the hot water ensuring that the hot water doesn’t touch the steamer
  • Tie the chicken legs together using kitchen twine then add on top of the steamer – the chicken should not be in contact with the water
  • Cover and allow to steam cook for 45 minutes then set aside for 10 minutes to allow it to cool down
  • In the meanwhile, heat up a deep fryer until hot then add the cooled down chicken and fry for 5-6 minutes until crispy
  • Serve with roasted potatoes and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 38gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 754mgPotassium: 441mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 496IUVitamin C: 5mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 55mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chicken, Food, Lahori, Lahori Chargha, Meat, Recipe, Roast Chicken
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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1 year ago

5 stars
love this recipe ! Will surely give it a try

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Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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