Does the word pickle immediately make your taste buds go into overdrive and do you find your mouth watering? If it doesn’t, I wonder what that says about you eh! Well, my mouth certainly waters thinking about pickles. The word ‘achar’ means pickle, and this Achari chicken recipe is such an explosion of flavours. All the pickling spices in a delicious thick yogurt based curr. This is the perfect dish you’d want to have on your dinner table, specially on a cold night alongside hot fresh rotis.
Achari Chicken is synonymous with North Indian cooking and is a firm favourite on all the Indian restaurant menus. But don’t worry, this dish is easy enough to conjure up at home, once you’ve got all the ingredients. My recipe packs in all the flavours and is very authentic in taste and flavour. This recipe does work best with mustard oil. The mustard oil goes well with the pickling spices and also helps preserve the curry for longer. This holds true in the hotter parts of North India like Rajasthan ( think Lal (red) Maas and Safed (white) Maas curries oozing with oil, spices and salt – the perfect ingredients to store curries for long). If you’re like me and find mustard oil too pungent, feel free to use vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
Pickle you say?
Think of all these warm spices put together.- fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds all roasted together with dried red whole chillies. Just writing about these makes my mouth water. When combined with sautéed onions in a yogurt based thick curry, the chicken absorbs all these warm flavours from the spices and the flavour profiles just get elevated to a different level. You could also make this curry vegetarian by switching the chicken for vegetables of your choice, I tend to use cauliflower florets, carrots, red/green peppers, baby corn and green peas. Swap the yogurt for a vegan substitute to make it vegan. Both a vegetable Achari curry or a Vegan Achari curry sound divine and pack in all the punch from the pickling spices.
Think of all these warm spices put together. Fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds all roasted together with dried red whole chillies. Just writing about these makes my mouth water. The yogurt adds the acidity and thickens the curry, while it absorbs all the delicious pickling spices. The flavour profiles just get elevated to a different level. You’re a vegetarian or vegan, fret not! You could easily swap the chicken for vegetables of your choice. I tend to use cauliflower florets, carrots, red/green peppers, baby corn and green peas. Switch the yogurt for a vegan substitute to make it vegan. Be it a vegetarian or vegan curry, this Achari recipe packs in all the punch from the pickling spices.
Like most curries, you’ll notice that the curry gets more flavourful the next day. So if you want to make a curry one day in advance, this Achari chicken recipe will be the perfect candidate. Serve this with warm rotis and a cool cucumber raita.