This Achari Chicken Recipe is packed full of flavour. Achari Chicken means Pickled Chicken. The Chicken itself isn't pickled. In this recipe pickling spices are used to create the same depth of flavour, warmth and tangy flavours that you would get in a traditional Achar (Pickles).
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds.
Once you hear the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the Onions and Red Chillies. Cook for 10 - 15 minutes till golden brown.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute before adding the chicken.
Cook for 5 minutes until golden, then add the tomatoes, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the water, bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover and cook for 25 minutes. Check at the midway point and add more water if needed.
Remove the lid and turn the heat up. Cook on high for 5 minutes before lowering the heat right down and adding whisked yoghurt. (See notes).
Add green chilies. Cook for 2 minutes on high until the oil seperates out to the side.
Stir in lemon juice. Garnish with Coriander. Taste and adjust Salt if needed.
Chicken - I prefer to use skinless bone in chicken drumsticks/thighs in this recipe.
Boneless Chicken - To use boneless Chicken, cut into 2 inch pieces and cook for 2 minutes after adding to the onions. You also don't need to add water. Simmer for 10 minutes at the end or just till cooked through.
Whole Spices- It is easy to over fry these. If you do do this, they will become bitter so go easy and once the mustard seeds pop, move on to the next step.
Plain Yoghurt - Adding cold Yoghurt to a hot curry means there is a risk of curdling. To avoid this, take the Yoghurt out of the fridge at the beginning if the cooking time. I use a tip from my Mother in law here. In a small bowl mix a ladleful of the curry with the Yoghurt and whisk together before adding it back to the curry and whisking it all together. This warms the yoghurt up and means the curry won't curdle. Add it in slowly too.
Toppings - Adding a squeeze of Lemon and a scattering of Coriander elevates this dish.
Store Brought Pickling Spice - You can use store brought Achari Masala (also called Achar na Sambo). This means you won't have to add each individual spice yourself.
Using Achari Stuffed Chillies - You can add stuffed Chillies into the recipe. Slit down the middle and stuff them with a few of the Pickling spices mentioned above and Lemon Juice. The Pickling Spices need to be toasted first and then ground.
This Chicken keeps well for up to 3 days covered in the fridge.
It also freezes well in an air tight container for up to 3 months.