Achari chicken is oftentimes a street food in Punjab, I use thighs, cook them in pickled spices, it is hot, sour & all sorts of moreish!
It is a thick “curry” that is perfect with paratha or chapati but it also makes for a stunning filling for a sandwich or baguette.
Indian Inspired Chicken in Pickle Spices
This achari chicken recipe has been here for a long old time and it is one of my favourite recipes.
I cook it all of the time and as a result, it gets revisited every couple of years. It is a “sister” recipe to my achar gosht recipe and uses chicken rather than lamb.
All of the marinating goes out the window which means that this almost dry achari murgh curry is quicker to both prepare and cook than the lamb version.
The whole dish takes between half an hour and 45 minutes to cook and prepare.
This version is loosely based on the Punjabi variant of achari chicken, but as with all of my recipes, it is far from “authentic” to anything other than me.
The flavour is incredible and the chicken stays almost unbelievably moist and juicy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an alternative to malt vinegar?
There is nothing quite like the flavour of malt vinegar, but you could use either cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
If I were using these I would increase the jaggery just a little to try and replace some of the almost caramel like malt flavour from the vinegar.
What is jaggery?
Jaggery is unrefined sugar commonly used across the Indian sub continent along with other areas of the world.
It is often sold in a solid block and has a flavour that is part way between treacle and caramel. You could replace with dark brown sugar if you can’t or do not want to fill your cupboard!
Can this be made in advance?
Yes, and it improves with time too! Stick this in the fridge for a day or two then gently reheat and the flavours really intensify.
Do I have to cook this in a wok?
No, you could use a frying pan, but make it a fairly large one.
Can I use chicken breast?
Yes, but it does not pack the same amount of flavour as chicken thighs.
Can I reduce or increase the chilli?
Absolutely, yes! Tolerance to chilli is incredibly personal, you should use whatever chillies fit within your comfort levels. Eating this achari chicken is meant to be a joy, not a challenge!
As far as I am concerned achari chicken is my dream filling for a wrap. I don’t even care what it is wrapped in, chapati, paratha or a plain old tortilla so long as it has chicken pickle I’m a happy boy.
However, it is far more than just a filling for a wrap, achari murgh works fantastically as a main course.
Of course, you could serve this with rice too, this delicious pilau rice would be perfect.
You could even scale this recipe up and use this murgh achari to replace the chicken element in my chicken tikka biriyani recipe!
Don’t forget the poppadoms for the full British Indian curry house experience!
I only mention specific brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Mixing and prep bowls.
- Serving and stirring spoons.
- Pestle and mortar.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Hot, sour and slightly sweet, achari chicken or chicken pickle is a relatively dry curry that is delicious, easy and fairly quick to cook.
- 300g (12 oz) Chicken Thighs
- ¼ Tsp Cumin
- ¼ Tsp Coriander
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Very Large (300g) Onion
- 25 g (Thumb sized piece) Ginger
- 8 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Whole Green Chilli Peppers
- 1 Medium (100-125g) Tomato
- 75ml (1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp) Ground Nut Oil
- 6 Dried Red Chilli Peppers
- ½ Tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
- ½ Tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
- ½ Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- ½ Tsp Onion Seeds
- 1 Tsp Dried Pomegranate Seeds
- 6 Curry Leaves
- 1-2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 3-4 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Jaggery
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Water
- 1 Large Bunch of Coriander
- Slice the chicken thighs into 5cm strips approximately 7-10mm in profile.
- Add the cumin, coriander, and salt to the chicken, then mix and allow to sit whilst you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Cut the onion in half, peel it then slice into half-moon shapes 5mm thick.
- Peel the garlic and ginger and pound in a pestle and mortar to form a paste.
- Cut the green chilli peppers in half lengthways.
- Cut the tomato into 8 wedges, then cut out the seeds and discard them, cut the remaining flesh into a 5-7mm dice.
- Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat.
- When hot add the dried chillies along with the mustard, cumin, pomegranate, fennel and fenugreek seeds.
- As soon as the seeds begin to crackle add the curry leaves, and onion and cook for 5 minutes
- Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, stir well then cook for 5 minutes stirring a couple of times.
- Add the garlic and ginger paste, tomato paste, green chillies and tomato flesh stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the vinegar, water and add the jaggery then stir well and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes.
- Roughly chop the coriander and stir it through the chicken just before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 758Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 958mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 7gSugar: 37gProtein: 47g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.