Pakistani Achari Murgh or chicken with pickle spices the subcontinent’s favorite food that is popular among the people for years. It is a delicious meal with classic “Achar” (pickle) flavors. The mustard oil, pickle spices, and yogurt deliver this plain chicken recipe a blast of spicy and zesty flavors.
Achar (pickle) is a South Asian herb, local to Pakistan, India and the subcontinent. Prepared from a variety of natural fruits and vegetables processed with oil and pickle spices, it is a versatile spice that works with just about everything. Be it daal chawal (rice and lentils) or plain parathas, add some Achar, and make any meal spicy.
While pickles are fruits and vegetables processed in oil and spices, Pakistani Achari Murgh is not a herb or a pickle. It is a curry that originates its title from the spices used in preparing this dish. These spices are also used in preparing pickles, therefore the English name Chicken with pickle spices.
For most of the people, what’s most important in the dish other than the pickling spices and the flavor of the recipe is – stuffed long green chilies. Yes, the green chilies are filled with pickling spices. Adding stuffed green chilies to the chicken curry gives a delicious flavor and is much tempting to eat.
Spices for Pickle
Pickle spices are a combination of various spices that have a zest profile of their own. All the spices blended, bring out a different variety of tastes that is very special to traditional Pakistani and Indian food culture alike.
The pickle mix is comprised of the following spices:
- Cumin Seeds (Zeera)
- Yellow Mustard Seeds (Rai)
- Fenugreek Seeds (Methi dana)
- Black Cumin Seeds (Kalonji)
- Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
- Coriander Seeds (Sabut Dhania)
Pakistani Achari Murgh
Here is the complete recipe for chicken with pickling spice. Follow the procedure step by step to get the ultimate results.
For Chicken in Pickle Spice / Achari Murgh
- 2 lbs (1 KG) Chicken, bone-in, skinless, cut into medium-sized slices
- 2 medium Onions, sliced
- 3 Tomatoes, skinned and chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic paste
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Salt (as per taste)
- 1/4 cup Yogurt
- 5-6 Green Chilies
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tbsp Pickle Spice Mix (Achari Masala)
- 1/4 cup Mustard Oil (or cooking oil/ghee)
- 1 cup Water
- Corriander for garnish
Pickle Spice Mix/ Achari Masala
- 1 tbsp Pickling Spice
- 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds (zeera)
- 1 tsp Nigella Seeds (Kalongi)
- 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds (methi dana)
- 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds (saunf)
- 3 Dried whole Red Chilies
- In a pot dry roast all ingredients (except for Nigella seeds and yellow mustard seed) of the pickle spice mix for about 1 minute over medium heat.
- Now, slightly grind the roasted spices into a spice mix. Add nigella seeds and Fenugreek seeds to the ready spice mix. Keep out until needed for use.
- Make Green chilies: Take 2 tbsp of pickling spice mix and add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to it. Cut the green chilies, de-seed and fill them with the cooked pickling spice mix with lemon juice. Keep aside until needed.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot heat the mustard oil. Add the chopped onions and fry till the color gets pale and slightly golden. Now add the chicken and ginger and garlic paste to the pot and cook the chicken until it changes in color.
- Now add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and 2 tbsp of the pickle spice mix (or more, according to taste). Stir it properly so that chicken is equally painted with the spices.
- Add the sliced tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Mix it thoroughly and cover the pot. Allow the chicken to cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes
- Once the chicken is browned, fluffy and soft, at this stage add yogurt and stir. Mindful not to break it. Furthermore, add the filled green chilies and proceed to cook on low heat with the lid on for an extra 5 to 7 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, the curry would be lessened. At this stage do a taste test, balance salt or spices if required.
- Dish out, garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with hot buttered naan, chapati or rice.