Pakistani Chicken Salan | Authentic Chicken Curry Recipe

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Chicken Salan or chicken curry always reflect the bygone era; the authentic taste and color always take me back to nostalgia. I truly and utterly respect this traditional dish because so many memories are attached to it. 

Pakistani Chicken Salan

After the Aloo Gosht curry, this Pakistani chicken curry is my best buddy. As I start making this dish, I reminisce about the happy times before the marriage. However, I’m now a mother of three, but still, this recipe is truly near to my heart. 

The chicken Salan is not about making an authentic chicken curry recipe; it’s about maintaining and restoring the traditional tastes. To be honest, I didn’t alter any step in this recipe, and it’s a true memorabilia of my grandmother. 

Today, I will share the steps my grandmother taught me to take to make this traditional chicken curry recipe. This is so much easier than Chicken Karahi or Chicken Achari; there is no need for any fluffy spices or hard-to-find ingredients; just basic ingredients are required to craft this dish. 

chicken curry

Why Will You Love This Chicken Shorba Recipe?

  • Authentic Taste: This recipe captures the authentic flavors that reflect paste memories. The color, hues, taste, and softness of chicken bites all offer the best experience. 
  • Palatable Dish: This ‘chicken ka Salan’ is so palatable, unlike the other chicken recipes. After eating it, you will feel that you have eaten a real chicken curry. It’s such a hearty, substantial, and filling delight that eliminate your hunger instantly. 
  • So Much Comfortable: This traditional chicken gravy always feels soul soothing, relaxes your taste buds, and gives you a feeling of comfort to your palates. 
  • Easy Chicken Recipe: Ahh! The one thing that I like about this recipe is its simplicity. After the Chicken Peshawari Karahi this is a super easy recipe to whip up. And it doesn’t require much spices, ingredients, and time. So if you’re a student or novice cook, Chicken Salan is a breeze recipe for you.

The Reality Of Chicken Salan Recipe?

Commonly, the chicken Salan/shorba has a thin consistency with a blast of flavor. Unlike the chicken korma, we don’t add yogurt or too many onions to make it creamy. 

The Salan has a more robust taste, and it is so delicious. The red hues come from paprika chili and red chili spice, which makes it an overpowering dish. Chicken Salan or chicken curry is a true South Asian cuisine that is liked by every individual in Pakistan and India and is often made on dawat, at wedding ceremonies, or other formal functions. 


  • Chicken: This chicken is a key ingredient, a mix of boneless and bone-in chicken from the breast, thighs, wings, and breast, can be used in the chicken curry. But make sure to use the smaller pieces. 
  • Onion & Tomatoes: I typically use small wedges of tomatoes and minced slices of onions. Both these ingredients bring a savory taste to the short. You can also use the food processor to mince the onions because floating onions on gravy seems weird. 
  • Garlic Ginger Paste: I’ve used the finely minced paste of garlic and ginger. I used mortar and pestle to make a paste, but you can also get the paste through the food processor. I also add a green chili in the paste to make it more zesty. 
  • Potatoes: Potatoes are optional, but I’m adding two small potatoes for a more pleasant and sophisticated texture. You know, soft potatoes feel more relaxing with a bite of naan. 
  • Ground Spices: As I’ve told you earlier, you don’t need a huge list of masala for this authentic chicken curry. Just turmeric powder, red chili powder, paprika, dry coriander powder, and salt are enough for it. Also you don’t need any garam masala for this recipe.
  • Cooking Oil: You need almost half or 1/3 cup of oil to sauté onions. I’m using general cooking oil, a blend of soybean, canola, and sunflower. 
  • Garnishing: For garnishing, I’m using cumin seeds, cilantro, and some green chilies. You can also add a thin layer of oil to the dish to make it more cherished.

Let’s Make This Classic chicken Curry

  1. Sauté The Onions: Add the onion to the heated oil. Here, you must keep the onions golden and not too dark brown. After that, add the garlic and ginger paste and stir to get the dark brown onions. Keep the flame medium during this process. 
brown onions
add garlic and ginger
  1. Add Tomatoes: Next, add the tomato wedges. Here, I’m adding a few drops of water to deglaze them. Stir it, and close the lid for one minute so that tomatoes release moisture and become soft. 
add tomatoes in curry
  1. Blend The Spices: Let’s infuse an authentic taste in the gravy. Add all the ground spices and a splash of water to prevent it from burning. Simmer it for 2 minutes on a low flame.  
Blend The Spices
  1. Add Chicken & Potatoes: Then, add the chicken pieces to the gravy and mix it well so that the spices perfectly stick with the chicken. Once the chicken pieces are immersed in the gravy, add the potatoes and stir them well for one minute. Keep the flame medium during the process.   
adding chicken and potatoes
  1. Add Water: Now it’s time to deglaze our main ingredients. To do this, simply add two cups of water to the stew. Two cups are the maximum limit for 700 grams of chicken; you can further adjust the gravy consistency according to your desire. Now let it simmer for 20 minutes on a low flame. 
adding water
  1. Stir Occasionally: During this 20-minute interval, stir the salan occasionally, and close the lid for some time to get the perfectly soft and decomposed chicken. This also ensures that everything is mixed perfectly.
  1. Garnishing: Lastly, sprinkle the cilantro, some fresh green chilies, and cumin seeds on the chicken Salan, start Anise, and now it’s ready to serve. Enjoy!
authentic chicken curry

Nabeela Pro Tip

  • People often ask me how I can make the chicken curry dark or reddish. So, the simple answer is to use Paprika powder (Red Kashmiri Mirch). This will make the chicken Salan more tangy; you can adjust the heat according to your Tate. 
  • Potatoes will make your curry more pleasant and savory. Use 1″ to 1.5″ potato cubes in the curry. You can also go for the peas to enhance the texture. 
  • Another consideration to bear in mind is the consistency of gravy. Neither use too much water to ruin the flavor nor the modest amount. I prefer to add 1.5 to 2 glasses of water for 700 grams of chicken. If you’re cooking 1 kg, then stick with 2 glasses. The thickness and gloopy chicken shorba look weird. 
  • Drizzle the pickle oil on the finished dish to give it a more tangy look.


You can refrigerate or freeze chicken Salan for 2 – 3 days. If you want to savor it again, just reheat it on a stovetop and stir it thoroughly. Avoid using a microwave oven because, after the freezing, the ingredients sit at the bottom, requiring constant stirring to blend everything seamlessly.

To double the recipe, simply 2x all the ingredients except the water. Too much water ruins the consistency of curry and dilutes all the flavors. A simple rule of thumb is to use 1.5 glasses of water for 1 Kg of chicken. Likewise, if you have taken 2 kg of chicken, use three glasses of water. 

The two main ingredients of the Paprika chili and red chili powder make the curry zesty. So, to amp up the heat/spice of the gravy, simply raise the amount of both these spices. I’m adding some green chilies at the end for a fiery taste. 

Simply simmer the Salan uncovered to thicken up the curry, in this way the moisture from the curry will evaporate, naturally thickening the sauce. You can also amp up tomato sauce to make gravy savory and thick. 

If you have poured extra water into the curry and are now considering reducing it, don’t worry. Just raise the heat to speed up the evaporation process. Also, simmer the salmon uncovered to evaporate extra water from the curry. You can also adjust the other ingredients, like spices and tomatoes, to balance the consistency of chicken shorba.

Variations And Additions Of ‘Chicken ka Salan’

pakistani chicken curry

The traditional Chicken curry is not so versatile, which means you can’t add yogurt, cream, coconut milk, or any such ingredient. All these things disregard this cuisine’s traditional value and change the authenticity and real taste. 

But you can add some veggies to make it more nutritious and elevate the texture. To make it more flavorsome and palatable, you can add the following; 

  • Chickpeas
  • Potatoes (Just like I used in this recipe)
  • Peas
  • Lemon juice (To make it tart)
  • Mint (for refreshing touch)

How Do You Serve This Pakistani Chicken Salan?

Traditionally, Chicken salan is a soupy recipe. Eating it with naans or roti is always the best bet. You can pair it with white rice or any other rice to make it more substantial. Don’t forget to serve a bowl of Rita or mint chutney with it.  

Other Chicken Recipes

chicken curry

Pakistani Chicken Salan

Chicken Salan or chicken curry always reflect the bygone era; the authentic taste and color always take me back to nostalgia. I truly and utterly respect this traditional dish because so many memories are attached to it. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 5


  • 700 gram Chicken 
  • 2 Onions
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 2 Potatoes
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Paprika chili powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Dry coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Dry Fenugreek 
  • Cilantro


  • Sauté Onions: Cook onions in oil until golden, not too dark. Add garlic and ginger paste and stir until onions turn dark brown. Keep the flame medium.
  • Add Tomatoes: Add tomato wedges and a few drops of water to soften the tomatoes. Stir, and cover the lid for 1 min.
  • Blend Spices: Add ground spices with a splash of water. Simmer for 2 mins on low.
  • Add Chicken & Potatoes: Mix chicken in gravy and add potatoes. Stir for 1 min.
  • Add Water: Deglaze by adding 2 cups of water. Simmer for 20 mins on low. Stir occasionally, and cover the lid to make the chicken soft and juicy.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle cilantro, green chilies, cumin seeds. Serve and enjoy!


Keyword Authentic chicken salan, Chicken Curry, Chicken Salan, Pakistani chicken salan
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