Skip to Content

Chicken Pickle or Achari Chicken

Chicken Pickle or Achari Chicken is an Indian Street food typically served in a Paratha, it is heady with garlic and ginger and has a wonderful astringent backnote.

Portrait close up image of a steaming black bowl of chicken pickle or achari chicken.

Achari Chicken.

My love of spicy food and particularly Indian spicy food is well documented here. I have been obsessed with this chicken pickle recipe for a long old time.

I had never heard of it but came across it in a recipe book by Rik Stein, Rik is pretty much my favourite food writer.

Also known as Achari chicken, chicken pickle is apparently an almost ubiquitous street food in Punjab, India.

The first time I made it I knew I would be making it over and over again.

I messed with the flavour profiles a little and upped the chilli content a lot to please my desire for something with a real punch of heat.

The addition of vinegar in the cooking method makes it reminiscent of two of my favourite curry recipes. Both my pork vindaloo and chicken pathia recipes explore sour elements in curry. It always works a treat!

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

Portrait overhead image of a steaming black bowl of chicken pickle or achari chicken, flour tortilla and shredded lettuce

How To Cook Indian Chicken Pickle.

I have never come across a cooking process quite like the one used in this recipe.

Everything is cooked in quite a lot of oil, in this sense it is almost similar to confit as a cooking method.

Then vinegar is added to the hot oil as a result of that you need to be very careful, ensure you use a large pan!

It is then cooked a little more allowing all the flavours to come together.

The spices are then cooked in the oil after the chicken. It is a very similar technique to the tempering of the spices I utilised in my chicken korma recipe.

It creates a fantastic dressing for the chicken and turns this dish all the way up to 11!

Traditionally this allowed the chicken pickle to be kept for a long time without refrigeration as it was preserved.

An achari chicken wrap using flour tortilla

Serving Suggestions.

As far as I am concerned chicken pickle 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.

Just add some crispy shredded lettuce and you are good to go.

However, it is not just a filling for a wrap or sandwich, it works fantastically well as a main course.

Served with something like Bombay potatoes or even spooned over plain rice and you have a fantastic Indian main.

If you are feeling really adventurous using this to replace the chicken mix in my biriyani recipe is heavenly!

Chicken Pickle or Achari Chicken Recipe
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Pickle or Achari Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

Chicken Pickle is typically served in a paratha, it is heady with garlic and ginger and a wonderful astringent flavour.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (17.5 oz)Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Ginger
  • 15 Cloves Garlic
  • 150 g (5.25 oz) Onion
  • 1/2 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) Cooking Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Asafoetida
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) )Cider Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into strips around 5mm in profile and 5cm long.
  2. Peel and slice the 5 of the cloves of garlic as thinly as possible.
  3. Peel and cut half of the ginger into batons as thinly as you can.
  4. Add the chilli, salt, turmeric ginger and garlic to the chicken and mix thoroughly and allow to marinade for 1 hour.
  5. Cut the onion in half and then peel and slice into 2-3mm thick half-moon shapes.
  6. Mince the remaining garlic cloves and grate the remaining ginger.
  7. Heat the mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds in a dry pan until they become fragrant.
  8. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and mix with the garam masala and set aside.
  9. Heat the oil in a LARGE deep heavy-based pan until hot but not smoking.
  10. Add the onions and cook for 10-15 minutes until a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  11. When cooked remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  12. Into the same oil batch fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes, be careful with hot oil if the chicken is a little wet it will spit.
  13. Remove each batch of chicken and set it aside with the onions.
  14. Add in the asafoetida and the spice mix we set aside in step 6 to the oil.
  15. Then add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  16. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  17. Very carefully pour in the vinegar, if the oil starts to spit it is too hot and allow to cool a little further.
  18. Then add in the chicken and onions we set aside earlier and return to the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 972Total Fat: 72gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 57gCholesterol: 320mgSodium: 1616mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 63g

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!

Portrait close up image of a toasted homemade English crumpet on a white plate in front of a teapot
Previous
Proper Old Fashioned Homemade Crumpets
Overhead portrait image of two bowls of crockpot bean soup in earthenware bowls served with a seeded bread roll
Next
Tomato and Bean Soup, Slow Cooker and Stovetop

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 :)

Priya

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!!!

Priya

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!

Caroline

Thursday 15th of February 2018

Oh wow, it's not one I have heard of either but sounds delicious! I can see your description above of it being a bit like a quick confit with spices, I can definitely see that. And a great filling for sure!

Brian Jones

Thursday 15th of February 2018

It was a new one to me to but I love new techniques and ideas and of course Indian flavours, it really is a great filling for a wrap or sandwich.

Laura

Wednesday 14th of February 2018

Interesting recipe Brian, especially since the chicken does not need to be refrigerated. We like to go for picnics and I love to bring wraps but if the day is too hot I cannot risk to make them with chicken. This sounds the perfect recipe for it, I love Indian flavours

Brian Jones

Wednesday 14th of February 2018

Thanks Laura... It is a very unusual recipe but fabulous big flavours and can totally see the astringent sauce providing a degree of pickling and adding to the shelf life. Not that it ever lasts that long ;)