How to Cook Pakistani Kunna as If You were a True Chef?

By July 12, 2020Cooking, Indian, Pakistani, Recipes

Pakistani KunnaKunna is a Pakistani dish with its origin in the city of Chiniot in Punjab. The original recipe contains a few ingredients including lamb meat, green chilies, garlic, ginger, and onion. You can prepare it in a pot made of clay, ‘Matka’, or in a pressure cooker or other large pot.
Simply place the pot in soil, and put woods and coal on top of it to create flame or bonfire like affect.

Kunna is famous for its distinct aroma. The fragrance of all the spices diffuses well while cooking the dish. The cooking process brings out an earthy flavor, which is different from other curries like mutton gravy or nihari. The dish is slow-cooked for four to six hours, and the flavor comes out best when cooked with lamb meat. Some people enjoy Kunna cooked in beef or chicken also, but I feel, it lacks the required texture.

My grandmother’s recipe included covering the clay pot with its lid and then sealing the sides of the top with a sealant made by mixing flour with little water. This helps to preserve the aroma and keeps the steam inside the pot, allowing the meat to tenderize well. This recipe of the lamb Kunna is authentic and has been passed down in my family over the generations. I have broken down the recipe in a step by step process to make it easy for you.

What is The Ideal Accompaniment for Pakistani Kunna?

You can serve Pakistani Kunna with several types of traditional pita bread including black fennel seed naan, garlic naan, plain naan or roti. Kunna is a delicious savory menu item, perfect both for lunch and dinner. It is a special dish at weddings or other large gatherings so people can enjoy the delicacy in the company of family and friends. You can try Kunna in all the seasons but like other meat dishes, it is more common in winters in winters and can be complemented with other vegetable dishes or rice on the menu.

However, Kunna is a complete meal in itself and if you are preparing it for a small family you do not need to add other dishes to the menu. This dish is rich in proteins and has good fats but should be eaten in moderation if you are high in cholesterol.
The selection of meat is a very important step in preparing a flavorful Kunna dish. Make sure the meat you select for Kunna is lean meat and does not have more than 10% fat portion in it. The ideal meat for Kunna is the lamb shank, which should be cut in large pieces with bones.

If you live in a house that has a back lawn, it’s a good idea to plan cooking the Kunna dish by digging a 12-inch-deep hole in the sand. It is an ideal party dish for people who enjoy cooking outdoors but may require a bit of patience. If you cannot cook outdoors, I still promise you great flavors as long as you stick closely to my recipe.

Can I Make Kunna from Other Meats?

Lamb shank is the most popular and traditional meat use to cook Kunna. But with an increase in its demand and individual choices of people, it is prepared with beef and chicken too. The taste and texture of the Kunna dish vary with the different types of meat.

Pakistani Kunna Recipe

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


  • Clay Pot
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 Kilo gram Lamb shank (cut in large pieces)
  • 1 Cup oil

Whole Spices:

  • 1 tsp Black Cumin
  • 6-8 Black pepper
  • 4 cloves
  • 1-inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Large Cardamom
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 tbsp Ginger paste
  • 4-5 round red chilis

Ground Spices:

  • 1 tbsp Green chili
  • 1& ½ tbsp Ginger
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp white cummin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


  • 1/2 cup Wheat flour
  • 1 tb spoon Butter
  • Water as required
  • Ginger cut as julienne
  • Lemon cut as wedges


  • In a large pot heat the oil and add sliced onions. Fry the onions, white cummins, and green chili till they turn brown.
  • Now add ginger and meat pieces and fry for 2- 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add the remaining spices including red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and mix the ingredients well.
  • Add 5 glasses of water to the meat and spices and cover with a lid and allow to cook for 1 hour on medium flame. Try not to disturb the cooking process by uncovering the lid again and again.
  • Check the meat tenderness after 1 hour and if you feel it'shard, let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until meat is really soft and easily breakable.
  • Add 1/ 2 cup wheat flour dissolved in water to the gravy while stirring and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon a few times and add more meat stock if required, the consistency of the gravy should not be very runny or very thick.
  • Serve the Kunna is a clay pot or else in a 6-inch-deep bowl to allow for the meat pieces to sit easily.
  • Garnish the dish with green coriander, chopped green chilis, lemon, and julienne cut ginger.
  • Dress up the dish with a tablespoon of butter.
  • Indulge in the savory delight with pita bread of your choice.
Keyword Kunna Recipe, Pakistani Kunna Recipe


Fareha is a Canadian chef, cookbook author, and food blogger with a focus on Indian and Pakistani culinary arts. Her enthusiasm and affection for desi foods has propelled her to discover new Pakistani and Indian dishes.

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