achari chicken

Achari Chicken

Updated: August 27, 2022, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Achari Chicken is a North Indian dish made by cooking chicken with pickling spices. “Achaar” is an Hindi term which means pickle. In North Indian cuisine there are a lot of dishes which are made with achari spices or achari masala. These have a wonderful flavor and taste very much different from the usual dishes.

achari chicken

This recipe will give you a very flavorful, delicious, spicy & slightly tangy achari chicken. It goes very well with Indian breads like naan, tandoori roti, paratha or even with phulka (roti). It also goes well with plain basmati rice, jeera rice or ghee rice.

Achari chicken is best eaten during the cold winters as it is the right time to enjoy spicy and hot foods. Many people love to add a bit of pickle to any achari dish. It is optional and you may add or skip it.

But just note that all kinds of pickles are not suitable to use in this dish. I have only liked mango pickle here. I always feel the dish tastes good even without the addition of pickle.

This recipe has been roughly adapted from this achari paneer.

Similar recipes
Chicken Jalfrezi
Methi chicken
Tandoori chicken
Chicken vindaloo
Butter chicken


Mustard oil is used to make any achari dish. However if you do not have it you may replace it with any other cooking oil. But the flavor will not be anywhere close to the authentic achari chicken. As a substitute you can try adding a few tbsps of pickle made with mustard oil.

Achari masala is a blend of pickling spices used in this recipe. Do not alter the quantities of spices as it will alter the taste of the entire dish. Also do not use any ready made or store bought powder for this recipe. The specialty of the dish lies in the fresh ground achari masala.

Roasting spices is optional & can be skipped as the ground spices are sauteed in oil later in the recipe. However if you prefer to make the powder ahead, then you can dry roast and powder. This increases the shelf life of the powder.

Green bell pepper is a secret ingredient which is used in many Indian restaurants especially abroad. I always make mine with it as it enhances the achari flavor in the dish. However I have mentioned it as a optional ingredient here. Please do not use bitter bell peppers.

achari chicken recipe

Tips to use curd

Curd or yogurt is another key ingredient in this recipe. It not only tenderizes the chicken but also adds a flavor & texture to the dish. Please use only fresh homemade thick curd or yogurt. If you are new to cooking then you can follow this homemade thick curd recipe and make your own.

  • Avoid sour yogurt to make achari chicken. I feel it makes the dish too acidic.
  • Using yogurt with low fats or with too much whey in it can curdle while cooking.
  • Always whisk the yogurt well until smooth before adding.
  • Keep the flame extremely low and add the curd to the pan in batches.
  • You can also use greek yogurt that is fresh.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

achari chicken recipe

Achari Chicken Recipe

4.99 from 69 votes
Spicy & tangy chicken cooked with pickling spices like mustard, fennel seeds, methi & red chilies. Serve it with rice, roti or naan.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

Achari masala

  • 4 dried red chilies (less spicy variety)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • ¼ tablespoon mustard seeds (use yellow if you have)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 Pinches fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf)

other ingredients for achari chicken

  • 1 cup onions very finely chopped (2 large)
  • ¾ cup tomatoes chopped or pureed (2 no)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (preferably mustard oil)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp kalonji (onion seeds) (skip if you do not have)
  • 1 pinch mustard (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) (skip if you do not have)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • teaspoon sugar (to balance the flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust as needed)
  • ½ cup curd (dahi or fresh yogurt) (refer notes)
  • ½ cup hot water (use only as needed)
  • ½ kg chicken (preferably bone-in)
  • 1 tablespoon pickle (optional) achar (use any of your choice)

For garnish (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (optional, I do not use)
  • 1 teaspoon shredded ginger



  • Prepare the achari spice powder by adding red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin, mustard, fennel seeds and methi seeds to a spice jar.
  • Make a fine powder set aside.
  • Beat the yogurt well with a whisk until smooth.

How to make achari chicken

  • Heat oil in a pan. If using mustard oil, heat it until smoky hot.
  • Add kalonji seeds & mustard. When they splutter add hing. 
  • Next add onions and saute until golden stirring often.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes away. Reduce the flame and stir in the achari spice powder.
  • Saute until a nice aroma comes out just for 1 to 2 mins. Avoid over frying as it can turn bitter.
  • Pour the tomato puree and saute till the masala thickens. Then add red chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar.
  • Saute on a low heat for 2 to 3 mins until the masala leaves the pan. Take a tablespoon of this masala and mix it with the whisked yogurt.
  • Ensure flame is very low at this stage and add half of the yogurt. Stir well to incorporate it with the onion tomato masala.
  • Add the rest of the yogurt and mix well. Cook until the masala leaves the pan. 
  • Transfer the chicken and saute it for about 3 to 4 mins on a low heat.
  • When the chicken turns pale, cover and cook for about 3 to 5 mins stirring occasionally.
  • By now chicken releases some moisture, based on this add some hot water to make a thick masala. You may need anywhere in between ½ to 1 cup water depending on the chicken. If you prefer your curry to be on the thicker side & not runny you will need only half cup.
  • Cover and cook until the chicken is tender & cooked fully. If using achaar or pickle, stir it at this stage. Taste it and add more salt or sugar at this stage.
  • Add ginger juliennes. Cover & rest the achari chicken for at least 30 mins before serving.
  • If desired squeeze in some lemon juice before serving. Serve with basmati rice, roti or naan.


  • Ensure you use fresh thick yogurt at room temperature. Whisk well before adding it to the pan. 
  • I personally prefer to add half of a large green capsicum to this recipe. I blend it with the tomatoes and use. Capsicum enhances the flavor of the dish. 
  • Avoid using cold water as it can toughen the chicken. 
  • The amount of water to use depends on the chicken. Sometimes chicken releases lot of moisture. Use only as needed.
  • Adjust the consistency of the dish as desired. 

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Achari Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 431 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 100mg33%
Sodium 732mg32%
Potassium 687mg20%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1041IU21%
Vitamin C 78mg95%
Calcium 152mg15%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Achari Chicken

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Added some capsicum to this recipe and it turned out even more tasty! Thanks for this wonderful and easy recipe!

5 stars
Perfect and easy recipe…. turned out amazing!
Thanks so much!

5 stars
Thank you Swasthi. This recipe was another big hit from your website. You are my trusted source for any Indian recipe and this is the first recipe I found on your website without stepwise pictures. But I could make it because your instructions are very clear. Will be making this again. Thank you

Is there a way to incorporate habanero chilies in this recipe? I would love that

5 stars
Amazing recipe. My aunt from Delhi makes the best achari ghost and chicken. I never thought of making it myself because I thought it was very difficult. This recipe exceeded my expectations and the masala is very delicious. I can say this is as good as my aunt’s. Thank you for the recipe

5 stars
Whoa! This chicken was seriously delicious. It was a huge hit at a dinner party last week. I didn’t have kalonji so omitted them and used a lot of mango chutney. It was a blast with naan and basmati rice

5 stars
Hi Swasthi, do you think I could swap this for goat meat? Thank you! Ayesha

5 stars
Great recipe. First time I forgot to add achar and it still tasted good but next time I used mango achar and it was fabulous. I would like to warn others about lemon pickle. It can make your dish bitter and over powering with lemon flavor.

5 stars
Gosh! Love this achari chicken & it’s just incredible! Not too spicy, but definitely perfectly spiced and well balanced. This is better than what I ate in a restaurant in Jaipur.

5 stars
This achari chicken is AMAZINGLY GOOD, must say ADDICTIVELY GOOD. Like every other recipe on this website, this one is delicious. I used aam ka char before finishing but honestly it tasted good even without that in my earlier attempts. Last year I bought a spice grinder and I love this spice blend. I always stock up to use in other dishes as well.

5 stars
I’m pretty new to meat and have been trying many recipes since few months. This is hands down the best and spicy chicken I have made with so many flavors. I am so grateful I have leftovers to eat for another meal. Next time I might add in some boiled potatoes because I love them.

4 stars
Dear Swasthi- I have been following your recipes for some time now, so thank you for them. I’m very bad at following recipes and basically estimate ingredients or even substitute them as needed. I tried out this recipe and it was pretty good. I added amchur as my “extra” ingredient to add a bit of piquancy. There was a bit of bitterness at the end – can you help me figure out what that is due to? I’m thinking too much mustard or methi seeds, not enough saunf, or not enough sugar.

5 stars
If I was 2 use 4 tandoori chickens, 2kg each, how do I adjust the recipe do I multiple everything by 8. Such as 8 tbsp garlic ginger paste, etc which seems a lot. How shall I adjust.

5 stars
This recipe is fantastic. I usually make a large batch of the achari masala powder and use it with pretty much anything. I made achari aloo, fish, chicken and mutton. The spice powder is so fragrant. Thank you for the beautiful recipe

5 stars
This the Best Achari Chicken! I guess its’ all in the ground spices. I followed the recipe exactly and it was an hit with my flatmates. All I did different was to use some chillis which I stuffed with some aam ka achaar pickle. Let them cook on low the last 5 minutes. Thank you. Would love if you can add the stepwise pictures.

5 stars
Take your time, savor the fragrance of these beautiful spices and you will be rewarded with a delightful soul-warming dish that you will want to make again and again. ♥

5 stars
I just made this for lunch today it turned out really well. I didn’t have mustard oil so I used coconut oil and I also forgot the capsicum. ?‍♀️However it is delicious!
I also made your chicken vindaloo over the weekend and it was sooo good. I was eating leftovers till Tuesday. ?
Thank you! So happy I discovered your blog. Will surely attempt more recipes in the future.

5 stars
Loved loved loved this recipe! If I wanted to transfer this recipe into a marinade for raw bone-in chicken to use on the bbq, do you have any suggestions? I’m wondering if I dry roast the spices a bit on a hot pan, then grind em up and mix them into yogurt and toss the chicken in….does that seem like a good idea?

5 stars
Amazing achari chicken. Like the other reader I too used lemon pickle but sweet and hot kind. It also had some ginger slices and green chilies. Turned out amazing. This will be on repeat during the winters.

5 stars
Followed the recipe to the T (capsicum tip included) before inTurned out awesome! Just a minor deviation – I pan fry my standard marination chicken before adding to gravy.

If I am cooking a 1.8kg free range chicken cut into pieces on the bone, do I just multiply the amount accordingly?