Achari Chicken Curry

4.43 from 7 votes

Achari Chicken Curry is a North Indian-style curry flavored with pickling spices (achar masala). It goes great with Indian bread or rice dishes. Make it in a pan over the stovetop or in an instant pot.

Here are some more chicken curry recipes that you may like: Coconut Curry Chicken, Chicken Masala Curry, Kadai Chicken, and Chicken Angara.

Achari chicken curry served in a bowl.
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Sometimes, when unsure what to cook for meals, I stand before my pantry and try to get some inspiration. I am sure many of you must be using this strategy.

On one such occasion, I found a bottle of my homemade achari masala powder and decided to use it to make something interesting. And that’s how this achari chicken was made.

Imagine a chicken curry with spicy, tangy, and slightly bitter pickle-like flavors. It’s a whole package which you don’t want to miss!

About Achari Chicken Curry

Achar in Hindi means pickle.

Achari Chicken Curry (Achari Murgh), as the name describes it well, is an aromatic, tangy, and flavorful North Indian curry with the delectable flavors of Indian pickling spices.

Indian pickles are very different from their US cousins. They are loaded with spices and oil and pack a punch.

The recipe uses spices, which are also used to make an achaar. The base of this curry is tomato and yogurt.

I like to cook this curry in a pan over the stovetop, but you can also make it in an instant pot or a traditional pressure cooker.

I make this recipe in my 3-quart instant pot or a large pan. If doubling the recipe, use a bigger (6-qt) instant pot or a bigger pan. The cooking time in the instant pot will remain the same, but it will slightly increase if you cook it in a pan.

Like most Indian curries, this one also tastes the best the next day. So, try to plan to make it in advance.

Ingredients

You will get all the ingredients to make chicken achari in Indian grocery stores.

Chicken – I generally use skinless bone-in chicken to make curries, as the bones give the curry a lovely flavor.

If you don’t like chicken with bones, you can also use boneless chicken breasts or thighs. The cooking time will be reduced as the boneless chicken pieces cook much faster than the bone-in pieces.

Oil – This curry tastes best when made in mustard oil.

You can use any cooking oil to make this curry if you don’t have mustard oil.

Whole Spices – You will need some whole spices used to make achaar (pickle). These spices are fenugreek seeds (methi dana), fennel seeds (saunf), brown mustard seeds (sarson), cumin seeds (jeera), and nigella seeds (kalonji, onion seeds).

When added to hot oil, these spices release earthy, nutty, and slightly bitter flavors. Do not overdo the spices; otherwise, the curry will become bitter.

If you don’t have one or two spices, skip adding them.

Achari Masala PowderAchari Masala Powder is a spice mix used to make Indian pickles. You can make a big batch of this achari spice mix at home and keep using it in your recipes.

You can also buy this masala if you are on a time crunch.

Masala From Ready Pickle – In addition to the dry achari masala spice mix, I recommend adding some already prepared achaar masala from your mango pickle to enhance the taste of this curry.

I have used the achaar masala from my Rajasthani aam ka achar recipe. You can use any homemade pickles, though. Store-bought pickles also work well.

Yogurt (Dahi, Curd), Onions, and Tomato Paste make the curry base. You can also use canned tomato puree or homemade pureed tomatoes.

Other Ingredients – You will also need ginger-garlic paste, salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, all-purpose flour (maida), lime juice (or lemon juice), and cilantro (fresh coriander leaves).

Adding some flour to the yogurt prevents it from curdling while cooking and makes the curry creamier.

You can also add some cubed bell peppers to this curry.

How To Make Achari Chicken

Stovetop Recipe

Heat 5 tablespoon of mustard oil (or any other cooking oil) in a large heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat.

Oil heating in a pan.

Add the following ingredients once the oil is hot, and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.

  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds
Whole spices added to hot oil.

Add 2 cups of thinly sliced onions and cook until they turn slightly brown (6-8 minutes). Stir frequently at regular intervals.

Onions added to the pan.
Onins cooked until lightly browned.

Add 2 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and cook until onions turn golden brown (4-5 minutes).

Giger garlic paste added to the pan.
Onions cooked until golden brown.

Rinse 2 pounds (1 kg) of bone-in chicken (cut into 1 and ½-inch pieces) and add them to the pan. Cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes.

Chicken added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Add the following ingredients and mix everything well.

  • ¼ cup tomato paste (or ½ cup canned tomato puree or 1 cup homemade pureed tomatoes)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon achari masala spice mix
  • ½ cup of water

Cook for 4-5 mins, stirring frequently.

Tomato paste, achari masala and salt added to the pan.
Chicken cooked for sometime.

Add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder and 1 cup yogurt whisked with 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour to the pan and mix well.

Yogurt whisked with flour and chili powder added to the pan.
Mixed well.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender and the oil separates on the sides of the pan. It will take 40-45 minutes for the chicken to cook perfectly.

Stir a few times while cooking.

Pan covered with a lid.

Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 tablespoon of masala from the ready-made pickle. I generally use the masala from the ready mango pickle. Mix everything well.

Lime juice and pickle masala added to the pan.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Chicken Achari is ready. Garnish the curry with chopped cilantro. I also like to garnish it with ginger juliennes and slit green chilies.

Serve hot with phulka or steamed rice.

Ready achari chicken curry garnished with cilantro.

Instant Pot Recipe

Press the SAUTE button of the instant pot and add 5 tablespoon mustard oil to it.

Follow the steps until adding yogurt.

Close the instant pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.

Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 6 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE.

Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure manually by moving the valve to the venting position. Use a kitchen cloth or a spoon to move the valve to avoid steam burn.

Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 tablespoon of masala from the ready-made pickle. I generally use the masala from the ready mango pickle. Mix everything well.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Instant Pot Achari Chicken is ready. Garnish the curry with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with phulka or steamed rice.

Traditional Pressure Cooker Recipe

Follow the recipe until the yogurt is added over high heat.

Close the cooker’s lid and pressure cook the chicken for 2 whistles on high heat. Remove the cooker from heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 tablespoon of masala from the ready-made pickle. I generally use the masala from the ready mango pickle. Mix everything well.

Check for salt and add more if needed.

Garnish achari chicken with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with phulka or steamed rice.

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Achari Chicken Curry is a North Indian-style curry flavored with pickling spices (achar masala). It goes great with Indian bread or rice dishes. Make it in a pan over the stovetop or in an instant pot.
4.43 from 7 votes

Achari Chicken Curry Recipe (Chicken With Pickling Spices)

Achari Chicken Curry is a North Indian-style curry flavored with pickling spices (achar masala). It goes great with Indian bread or rice dishes. Make it in a pan over the stovetop or in an instant pot.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces and rinsed)
  • 5 tablespoons mustard oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • ½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds (sarson)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji, onion seeds)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (or ½ cup canned tomato puree or 1 cup pureed fresh tomatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons achari masala spice mix
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (dahi)
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon masala from pickle (I generally use the masala from the ready mango pickle.)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) (for garnishing)
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Instructions 

  • Heat mustard oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and nigella seeds, and let them crackle for 3-4 seconds.
  • Add onions and cook until they turn slightly brown (6-8 minutes). Stir frequently at regular intervals.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and cook until onions turn golden brown (4-5 minutes).
  • Rinse chicken pieces and add them to the pan. Cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Add tomato paste, salt, and achari masala spice mix along with ½ cup of water and mix everything well. Cook for 4-5 mins, stirring frequently.
  • Add Kashmiri red chili powder and yogurt whisked with all-purpose flour to the pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender. It will take 40-45 minutes for the chicken to cook perfectly. Stir a few times while cooking.
  • Add lime juice and masala from the ready-made pickle. I generally use the masala from the ready mango pickle. Mix everything well.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Achari chicken is ready. Garnish the curry with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with phulka or steamed rice.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

You can also use boneless chicken breast or thighs if you don’t like chicken with bones. Reduce the cooking time as the boneless chicken pieces cook much faster.
Instant pot and traditional stovetop pressure cooker recipe is mentioned in the post.

Nutrition

Calories: 408kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 137mg, Sodium: 1455mg, Potassium: 737mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 498IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 119mg, Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today and used all the ingredients as mentioned step by step and my dish turned out so delicious. I also marinated the chicken in the same achari masala. Everyone loved it. Thank you ! I will definitely make it again

  2. Hello from the UK. We made this and absolutely loved its tangy flavour. Delicious. Possibly the best home-made curry we have ever eaten. We are now trying other recipes from your fantastic website! Thank you.