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Achari chicken or Achari Murgh is a chicken curry dish cooked in pickling spices. It’s one curry dish that has a piquant flavour and distinguished taste that once you try it, you’ll remember it.
This pickle chicken has a unique creamy flavour from the spicy yoghurt. And it has an exotic fragrance from the whole five spices called Panch Phoran.
The word Achar itself literally means pickle. But you don’t really use any pickles in the dish nor do you have to go through the pickling process to cook the dish.
What it is that the dish has the pickle aroma and taste.
And the recipe from scratch I’m sharing here is the Murgh Achari (= Achari chicken = pickled chicken). God willing, I will share the other Achari dishes one by one.
In essence, there’s not much difference in making this dish from most curries. You just need more variety of spices to create the taste of the pickle.
Like most curries these days, you can get the ready-mixed spices and just follow the instructions to cook this chicken Achari. The only downside is that those shop-bought spices mix tend to be very spicy. And if you reduce the measure, the flavour will be compromised.
Unless you’re okay with hot spicy curries, ready mixed spices are good too. But if you want to have more control over the heat of your dish then this recipe is for you.
It uses more spices
As I mentioned above, you need more varieties of spices for this pickled chicken. So apart from the usual spices of ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and ginger garlic paste, you also need anise seed powder, fenugreek seed powder (Ajwain), fennel seed powder (Saunf), dried-mango powder (Amchoor), and whole five spices (Panch Phoran).
How to make Achari Chicken
The method that I use for my chicken pickle curry is very similar to most curries that I cook. Apart from marinating the poultry before cooking, every other step is pretty much standard.
Firstly, you want to make your spices mix by putting all your spices powder and the salt together. Take a few teaspoons of this spice powder mixture and stir in ¼ cup of natural yoghurt to make the marinade.
Place the chicken pieces in the yoghurt and ensure all are coated well with the spicy yoghurt. Set aside and let it marinate while you get on with other things.
Secondly, you make the masala sauce. Fry the chopped onions on a large cooking pan or a kadhai or a wok until lightly brown, then add in the ginger-garlic paste. You can make the paste by mincing ½ inch of ginger root with 4 cloves of garlic.
Then add the remaining spice powder into your onions. Let it cook further until it releases its intoxicating aroma. Next, you add in the tomatoes and continue cooking until you get a smooth curry sauce. Just make sure you keep checking and mashing the tomatoes. So it doesn’t get burned at the bottom of the pan.
When the oil separates from the edges, put the chicken in the masala sauce. Give it a good stir until the masala covers all the chicken pieces. Cook it at moderate-high heat with the lid on for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
You may have to keep checking and stirring to ensure that nothing gets burned at the bottom of the pan.
Once the chicken is fully cooked (you can tell by its opaque colour), you can add the lightly beaten yoghurt in. And continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Sprinkle the panch Phoran over and leave it cooking until the oil separates from the edges and get the sauce consistency you desire.
Ways to enjoy pickle chicken
Just like any curries, you can always eat your Achari chicken with roti/ chapati, naan bread, pitta bread or flatbread. You can also have it with rice, whether it’s plain Basmati rice or spiced rice dishes such as Biryani or Pilau rice.
And if you’re planning to throw some Pakistani menu on the table, below is the suggestion of a popular menu that often appears on special occasions.
- Chicken tikka (starter).
- Dahi Baray – lentil dumplings in spicy yoghurt (starter).
- Lamb kebabs (starter).
- Vegetable Pilau rice (main).
- Achari chicken (main), or
- Chicken Karahi (main).
- Aloo Gosht – potato and meat curry (main), or
- Lamb Kofta curry – lamb minced meatballs curry (main).
- Aloo Palak – potato and spinach curry (side).
- Chana Aloo – chickpeas and potato curry (side).
- Gajar Ka Halwa – sweet carrots desserts.
I’m so excited that you finished reading this post. I hope you now want to try this recipe. Trust me, it’ll be worthy of your time and effort. If you love spicy food with a bit of fresh sourness in it, then this Achari Chicken will be the one you want to try.
When you try, please share what you think about the recipe in the comments below (leave in a reply box). I really appreciate it.
Finally, don’t forget to check out my other recipes for more food delights from Pakistani cuisines.
- Lauki Gosht: meat curry with bottle gourd.
- Aloo Keema: potato and minced meat curry.
- Keema Matar: minced meat curry with green peas.
- Aubergine curry.
- Halwa Puri – semolina pudding with fried flatbread.
- Khaman Dhokla.
- Kitchari – rice congee with mung bean dal.
- Keema Paratha – flatbread with minced meat stuffing.
Thank you and all the best.