Achari Chicken

Rate this recipe 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Serves 3-4

Achari (sometimes known as achaar or achar) means pickle.  Basically, this is a chicken dish that is made with all the spices one would normally use in an indian pickle.  It is extremely aromatic and delicious, and as is the case with most pickled foods, the flavour improves over time. So this is the perfect 'make-ahead' dish that will taste even better a day or two after it was prepared. It goes well with plain rice or chapatis/parathas.

Ingredients for Chicken Marinade
boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
(this recipe can also be made using one whole skinless chicken (cut into 10 pieces) in place of the boneless chunks)
1/4 tsp.
1/4 tsp.
ginger paste
1/4 tsp.
garlic paste
1/4 tsp.
turmeric powder
1/2 tsp.
chilli powder
1 tsp.
pickle oil/achaar oil
(if you have a jar of mango pickle at home, otherwise use regular oil)
Other Ingredients
onions, chopped
4 tbsp.
1 tbsp.
tomato paste/puree
fresh tomatoes, chopped or grated
1 tsp.
freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp.
garlic paste
2 tbsp.
fresh yoghurt
1 tsp.
(or to taste)
1/2 tsp.
red chilli powder
1/4 tsp.
turmeric powder
green chillies, slit
1/2 tsp.
mustard seeds
1 tsp.
whole cumin seeds
1 tsp.
coriander seeds
1/2 tsp.
fennel seeds
1/2 tsp.
split fenugreek seeds
curry leaves/limro, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon/lime
1 heaped tbsp.
(if you have a jar of mango pickle at home, otherwise omit)

Marinate the chicken cubes in the chicken marinade ingredients for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight. 

Mix the cumin, coriander, fennel and split fenugreek seeds, roast them in a dry pan for a minute or two until they are aromatic, then crush them to a rough powder.

Drizzle some of the oil in a pan, when hot fry the chicken pieces in batches over high heat just to seal the chicken and keep it moist. Do not be tempted to over crowd the pan as that will drop the temperature of the oil and the chicken will release a lot of moisture. Keep the heat high and stir fry the chicken in two batches for about 3 minutes per batch, then remove the cubes into a bowl, cover and set aside. Bear in mind that the chicken will be cooked further in the gravy.

In the same pan, add the rest of the oil then add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the chopped limro/curry leaves followed by the chopped onions. Fry on medium heat until the onions are golden. Then add the ginger and garlic pastes. Stir them in for a few seconds, then add the tomatoes and tomato paste, crushed roasted spices, salt and red chilli powder. Cook until the tomatoes are thick and oil begins to get released from the sides. Then whip the yoghurt and add it in, give it a mix to combine. 

Add the chicken pieces and the slit green chillies, give them a stir then cover and turn down the heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat or until the chicken pieces are tender and cooked. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add in the tablespoon of achaar (if you have it). This will enhance the flavour of the chicken even further but you can leave it out if you do not have pickle. Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if needed. Turn off the heat and allow the dish to sit for about 15 minutes before serving to ensure all the flavours are infused into the chicken. Serve with rice or parathas/chapatis.

Enjoy! :)


tried this today and it tasted amazing as your recipes always do.
So thank you very much

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Can we use Chilli Pickle in place of Mango Pickle?
Secondly, if using mango pickle, do we actually put chunks of mango too inside the gravy?
Thanks a lot!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes you can use chilli pickle (although it might end up being a bit too spicy so adjust the chilli content of the recipe accordingly). I normally don't always add the chunks of mango but you absolutely can do that too, it really adds a depth of flavour to the dish to have a small piece of pickled mango now and then. :)

Thank you for your reply.
I wanted to know if it would be ok to leave out the split fenugreek seeds without compromising on the taste of the finished dish? I havent seen them around here.
Thanks a lot!!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

If you have a ready-made pickle at home then use 2 tbsp of it in the recipe to make up for not having the split fenugreek seeds. They are important in the whole pickle flavour/aroma. :)

Salam fauzia, can I use normal fenugreek seeds instead of split fenugreek? Or is the same? Hmm got confused plz help out....

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, the seeds are normally whole, when the peel is removed and each one split in half they have more flavour.

Well I used the normal fenugreek seeds, the taste was awesome thanks fauzia!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Thanks for the lovely feedback! :)

Looks like a good recipe, willing to try but a quick question: Achar oil? does this mean to add the oil from the achaar jar? or is there a specific oil..?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Thanks, yes from the achaar jar. :)

where is the do pyaaza chicken recipe gone?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I've not yet posted a do pyaza recipe.

ok. i thought I saw it on your website. anyways, will wait for it then

May i omit the fennel seed?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

It does give an extra 'achaari' flavour to this dish, so if possible I would recommend for you to use fennel seeds.

Salaam Fauzia,
Please help me with measurements for 15 people ? I tried it for 2 ppl and it came out really good.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, this recipe serves 3-4, please multiply all the ingredients accordingly to serve 15. :)

Hi Fauzia,
Can the curry leaves be replaced with bay leaves or any others? I am having a hard time finding them at local grocery stores.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, curry leaves tend to have a very distinct flavour that bay leaves doesn't. I would suggest to leave out the curry leaves if you cannot find them easily.

I see tat you call for 'chili powder' for the marinade, and later 'red chili' for the sauce. Is the chili powder for the chicken marinade the standard western chili powder spice mix, or the same cayenne (crushed red pepper) as 'red chili'?
Thanks, I'm looking forward to making this very soon!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Both are the red chilli powder which is a lot like cayenne. Let me know hot it turns out for you! :)

The dish was delicious! I was inspired to make it after visiting a local Indian buffet, and your recipe came out better. Thank you, I'll definitely make it again. I also made rajma, and it was good, but I think that the recipe I used actually had too many different spices in it. I'd be interested to know if you have a rajma recipe that you would like to share, or even just the spices and proportions, as I know the basic method to make it. Thank you!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Thanks for the awesome feedback! Have you had a look through my veggie folder for options of rajma recipes?

One of my favorite foods ever are pickled mangos, so I was very excited to make this. We had fun preparing (and even more fun eating!) this dish which will definitely will be making frequent appearances in our dinner rotation;)

Hey can i omit yogurt? Cant use dairy Because of lactose intolerance

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, yes you can omit the yoghurt. The results may end up a bit thinner in consistency but otherwise it should be just as tasty without the yoghurt.

Made it yesterday with skinless chicken and doubled the recipe. It came out very delicious and tasty. My inlaws loved it. Have a 2 month old newborn and haven't had any time to invest in cooking; this recipe wasn't only quick to make it was also very easy. The only problem that I usually have is with tomatoe's skin being left behind in the curry; no matter how hard I try to cook it; therefore, the curry that I make is not very uniform like your pictures since the pieces of skin are always doing peekaboo. Please advice on how to make sure the skin of tomatoes are cooked properly along with the other ingredients.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, thanks for the awesome feedback! To make sure the tomato skins are not visible, either chop the tomatoes really well or just grate the inside and discard the skins. You could also blend the tomatoes.