Achari Murgh(Chicken in Pickle masala)

This is one of the best ‘different’ chicken recipes I had made in a while. I am always on the lookout for something outside of my realm – which is South Indian style chicken curry. I have always been wanting to try this recipe and I finally got to doing it this week. There are several different variations of this recipe, this is my adaptation of Achari chicken and I must admit, although skeptical at first about how it would turn out, it is an awesome tasting chicken curry and also a very easy one.

1 1/2 lbs bone in chicken thighs, skin removed, washed and cut into medium size pieces
1/2 – 3/4 cup yogurt(just enough to marinate the chicken)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder(or more if you like it spicy)
4 green chillies
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
3 roma tomatoes, pureed
cilantro, for garnish
salt to taste

Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt along with the turmeric powder, salt and 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, slit the 4 green chillies and soak the slit chillies in the lemon juice.

Dry roast 1 tsp each of mustard, cumin, fennel and nigella seeds along with 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds. Let cool and grind this to a fine powder. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wide bottomed pan(yes you need 2 tbsp oil for this, coss it is spicy like a pickle.. :). Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of mustard, cumin, fennel and nigella seeds in the hot oil. Add the sliced onion and saute until the onion is caramelized, golden brown and turns slightly crispy. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and saute until the oil separates. At this point, add the marinated chicken into the pan. Set the heat to mediium-high. Don’t stir. Let the chicken sear in the oil. When one side is brown, turn the pieces around so that the other side browns as well. Add the ground pickle powder, coriander powder and chilli powder. Coat the seared chicken and add in the pureed tomatoes. Let cook until the masala is completely cooked and oil floats on top. Check for seasoning, add salt if required and top with the lemon juice soaked green chillies. Bring to a simmer, top with the cilantro and serve either with pulav, rice or roti.

Verdict:The picklish aroma with the spicy chicken curry is super enticing, not to mention the flavor from the toasted nigella seeds. Its sort of a mild fragrant onion curry. If you have been meaning to explore nigella seeds and its flavor, this might be a perfect dish for that.

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