Authentic Pakistani Cuisine: Simple Vinegar Broast Chicken

My landlady Nasreen’s Sindhi Biryani Recipe went over well, so here’s the next one in the series: a simple vinegar roast. In Pakistan and North India this dish may be called “roast” or “broast.” It is commonly found at local fast food restaurants. English speakers may be surprised, but the dish is actually fried on the stove-top and not roasted in the oven. Where the name came from, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe some of the British soldiers who ate it were confused as to how it was cooked!

In Pakistan, when you buy meat cuts you buy them by the name of the dish they are used for, and not by the part of the chicken, cow or other animal. In the United States, we are used to buying chicken thighs, wings, breasts, etc. In Pakistan you need to know if you want handi cut (boneless chunks), karahi cut (smaller pieces on the bone), breast fillet, drumstick, biryani cut (whole chicken in small pieces), or roast (whole chicken in large pieces). This recipe really only works well with “roast” cut chicken. In other parts of the world, I’d suggest using the whole chicken cut into four or five large pieces, or a combination of thigh and wing/breast combination pieces.


– 1 whole chicken – roast cut (or substitute as mentioned above)
– 1 tsp salt
*1 tsp red chili powder (mirch)
*2 tbsp red chili sauce
-3 tbsp vinegar
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp black pepper
-1 cup oil


Cut down on or delete the * items if you don’t want your chicken as hot and spicy as the South Asians like it.

1. Add dry spices (salt, coriander, pepper, chili powder) and vinegar, chili sauce, and soy sauce to the chicken and mix by hand. Make sure the chicken is covered.
2. Poke the chicken gently with a fork about 10 times in different places.
3. Let marinate for up to 2 hours. Alternatively you can just cook it right away, but the flavors won’t be as strong.
4. Add 3 tbsp oil to large, deep pot and let heat.
5. Add chicken and cook covered for 5 minutes on high heat.
6. Stir the chicken to make sure all parts are getting the heat. Then add the rest of the 1 cup of oil. Turn down the heat immediately and let it simmer.
7. Simmer for 25 minutes. The water will come out of the chicken and make the dish very liquid-like. Continue cooking covered until only a small amount of liquid remains. Roast is supposed to be a dry dish, but the chicken should soak up all that moisture.
8. As soon as the liquid has been reduced, remove the chicken from the heat and serve. Goes great piled over fresh French fries.

When I make this dish myself, I don’t add mirch (red chili powder) and I do add 1 tbsp of extra soy sauce. I cut down the red chili sauce from 3 tbsp to 2 tbsp, and that seems to be the right amount of spice for me. My husband dislikes coriander, but he didn’t even notice the ground coriander powder in the dish, so it was a success. When I was to indulge in spicy, succulent chicken, this is a dish that I’ll certainly turn to again.

10 Comments on “Authentic Pakistani Cuisine: Simple Vinegar Broast Chicken

    • Unless you count french fries as veg (like they apparently do in American high schools), Pakistani cuisine is not too big on vegetable dishes. I’ve only seen broast served with fries, rice and bread. I’d serve it with okra (ladyfinger), a chickpea/tomato/onion mix with Pakistani spices or saag (tasty spinach dish).

  1. I am a Pakistani living in America and this made me remember home. Thank you for visiting my country and sharing your experience with us. Also, thank you so much for this recipe. It is really easy and I am going to make it just now for dinner :)

    Take care and I will follow your blog from now on!

    • Thanks Madiha! Nasreen’s broast recipe is pretty simple. Let me know how it turns out!

  2. I stumbled upon your site the other day while googling the cost of stitching shalwar kameez, as my sis in law is going tomorrow and I have sent her with 20 unstitched suits to make for me!! This is my third time on your blog since. I had more time today so I thought i’d check out the rest and just love it! You have some great life experiences and your right on with everything you talk about that happens in pakistan.

    It’s great to hear about your travels, and I wish you continued success inshAllah:)

    Saira C.
    a Canadian born, american resident –pakistani!

    BTW….are you still living in pakistan?

    • Saira! So glad you found the blog. I moved back to the US last year for grad school after spending three years in Lahore.

  3. i am glad to read your recipies nd experence nd very hapy that you mad good imag of our country by shearing your enxperence my famly also live in u.s. bt me nd my 3 bro.nd sis live hrer bcoz of imigeration process.. i realy want 2 aprecate you

  4. Hi Heather ,
    I am pakistani sindhi living in Calgary Canada, I appreciate your love for food.
    My wife makes one of the best sindhi biryani, After boiling (60 or 70% coocked) basmati rice she takes them out and spread them in big pan or piece of clothe she also use some yougart which gives very yummy taste to biryani.

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