Skip to Content

Achari Chicken or Indian Chicken Pickle

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.

Achari chicken or chicken pickle served in a kadai with a chapati.

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 hot and sour combination is a favourite of mine. It features in other favourite curry recipes like my pork vindaloo and chicken pathia recipes!

The flavour is incredible and the chicken stays almost unbelievably moist and juicy.

Overhead achari chicken or chicken pickle served in a kadai with a chapati.

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!

Close up achari chicken or chicken pickle served in a kadai.

Serving Suggestions.

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.

I like to add some kachumber salad and a mint raitia, although I skip the cucumber in the raita.

However, it is far more than just a filling for a wrap, achari murgh works fantastically as a main course.

Served with something like Bombay potatoes or aloo methi makes this a glorious slap-up dinner.

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!

Achari chicken or murgh aka chicken pickle garnished with coriander and red onion.

Equipment Used

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.

  • Stovetop.
  • 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.
Achari chicken or murgh aka chicken pickle garnished with coriander and red onion.
Yield: 2 Servings

Achari Chicken or Chicken Pickle Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

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


  1. Slice the chicken thighs into 5cm strips approximately 7-10mm in profile.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, and salt to the chicken, then mix and allow to sit whilst you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cut the onion in half, peel it then slice into half-moon shapes 5mm thick.
  4. Peel the garlic and ginger and pound in a pestle and mortar to form a paste.
  5. Cut the green chilli peppers in half lengthways.
  6. Cut the tomato into 8 wedges, then cut out the seeds and discard them, cut the remaining flesh into a 5-7mm dice.
  7. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat.
  8. When hot add the dried chillies along with the mustard, cumin, pomegranate, fennel and fenugreek seeds.
  9. As soon as the seeds begin to crackle add the curry leaves, and onion and cook for 5 minutes
  10. Add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, stir well then cook for 5 minutes stirring a couple of times.
  11. Add the garlic and ginger paste, tomato paste, green chillies and tomato flesh stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  12. Pour in the vinegar, water and add the jaggery then stir well and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes.
  13. Roughly chop the coriander and stir it through the chicken just before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


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.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Keith Harding

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Hi Brian, I've only just stumbled across your site when searching for a vegetable karahi recipe. The site looks fantastic and I can't wait to start using these recipes, so it's a big 'Hi' and 'thank you' from me. Cheers, Keith Harding

Brian Jones

Monday 5th of February 2024

Glad you have found me Keith, enjoy :)


Friday 8th of January 2021

Hi Brian, I cooked this last night, was really good! used a bit less oil and vinegar, lots of crushed dried birds eye chilli and added spinach at the end. will cook again! thanks, Dan

Brian Jones

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Glad you enjoyed it Dan :)

peter graham

Friday 10th of April 2020

Hi Brian, love the recipe. some advice please. You have onions in the cooking instructions but not the ingredients. I presume however many I use they need to be very finely chopped?

Brian Jones

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

I'm so sorry Peter, I've been playing around with different layouts in my recipes and it would seem I deleted part of this one! Glad you like it, I use slices of onion in this recipe, I have updated the recipe card to hopefully clear everything up :)


Thursday 11th of July 2019

Would love to try this, is it meant for storing for long periods in the fridge? Also is Cider vinegar the same as Apple Cider vinegar?

Brian Jones

Thursday 11th of July 2019

Hey Priya... Originally it was a street food that would have been preserved to some extent by the vinegar. To be perfectly honest I would not treat it that way today and ensure that all chicken is kept refrigerated after being cooked.

As for the vinegar, as I understand it yes they are the same thing. Although this works well with lots of different vinegars, so feel free to experiment :)

Enjoy Brian

Rondo Thomas

Sunday 12th of May 2019

My mum did this growing up. She used to also do this with Fish. She would marinate the fish (firm white fish - monk fish is great) with turmeric, chilli powder & salt (very simple), fry in oil and keep aside. She would make the pickle masala, flake the fish into pieces and mix together. Whatever was left after the family started on it (which wasn't very much), she would put into clean, sterilised bottles and in the fridge. We would then have it on toast or even like a condiment on the side with rice & dhal. Very, very yummy!!!


Thursday 11th of July 2019

Hi Thomas, does your mum use the same pickle masala, would you care to add the recipe here please?

Brian Jones

Monday 13th of May 2019

Holy crap, doing this with fish sounds incredible! Monkfish is a tough find here in rural landlocked Hungary but I think it would work really well with catfish which is in many ways similar and very meaty. Thanks for the inspiration!

Skip to Recipe