The art of pickling has been around this subcontinent for centuries now. We Indians have a knack for extremely sour and spicy things and this love has translated into imli and amla ka achaar, raw mango achaar, nimbu ka achaar and even mirch ka achaar. Pickles hold a certain nostalgic value to them, given how it was an intricate part of our childhood. As children we used to line up after-school hours to get a taste of achaar. The fairgrounds or melas had stalls selling a thousand varieties of achaar, all of which we had to sample before heading home. The afternoons spent with grandmother who would teach us the various kinds of achaar she's made in her time and encourage us to make some ourselves. There’s something about achaar that makes us giddy and floods back the memories of a simpler time. 

Achaar is served alongside our everyday sabzi-roti and dal-chawal, simply because it adds that overwhelming taste profile to a bland meal making it bearable. Well, what if we tell you that we've brought for you a dish that's an amalgamation of achaar and your everyday chicken curry?

Achari Murgh is a chicken dish that has a spicy tomato base and furthermore the tanginess to the dish is supplemented by yoghurt and lemon juice. The addition of pickling spices packs the dish with flavour bombs so good, that it'll force you to go for seconds even though you're reeling from the effects of the first. Popularly made in Rajasthan, the dish soon spread to other parts of North India where people put their own spin on the dish and have recreated it themselves. But nonetheless, the achaari murgh remains to be one of the cherished chicken     curry recipes of all time and to know how to make it at home, there's an extended recipe below.  

Ingredients:  

  • 800gms chicken, bone-in, cut into medium sized pieces  
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil  
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds  
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds  
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds  
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds  
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds or kalonji  
  • 4 dried whole red chilies, broken in half  
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste  
  • 2 small onions, finely sliced  
  • 1½ tbsp tomato puree  
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder  
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder  
  • 150 ml water  
  • ½ cup of yoghurt, beaten  
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice  
  • 1 tsp salt, or, as per taste  
  • 7-8 sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped  

Method:  

Image Credit: soyummyrecipes.co.uk

-In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat the mustard oil.  

-Add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds. Sauté until they start to sizzle and pop for a couple of minutes.  

-Add the whole red chillies, stirring to make sure they don’t burn.  

-Add the sliced onion and fry until softened and light brown in colour and for about 8-10 mins. 

-To the pan now add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and stir in the tomato puree, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Cook for a couple of minutes till the oil separates to the sides of the pan.  

-Add the chicken pieces cooking on a medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  

-Add the water and bring the curry to a boil, then simmer covered on a low heat cooking for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and succulent, stirring a couple of times.  

-At the final stage, add the yoghurt and cook stirring on a low heat with the lid on for 5-7 minutes.  

-Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with the coriander leaves.  

Serve hot with roomali roti or naan and enjoy!