One of the best thing about the array of spices in a Pakistani kitchen is the magic they can create when combined in different ways. What is even more magical than that is when by mixing a few things together you can create so much flavour that you don't need to do much else. Achar Chicken is a great example of a dish that combines magic and ease.
How to Make Achar Chicken
Making Achar Chicken is pretty straightforward
Step One: Combine Spices (or use a store bought mix). Coriander and Anise seeds will need a quick grind.
Step Two: Stuff half the mix into green chillies that are partially slit with a little lemon juices
Step Three: Saute curry leaves, a little garlic and ginger paste then add your spices, chicken, saute.
Step Four: Add your tomato puree, yogurt and simmer till done then dry it up to your liking
Step Five: Add tomato paste, put your green chilies on top and let your Achar Chicken simmer on the lowest heat for a few minutes.
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- 1 lb boneless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes (see notes for bone in)
- Juice of one Lemon
- 5-6 green chilies for stuffing - pakistani, shishito, anything large enough to stuff
- 3-4 tbsp Achar Masala (recipe below or use storebought)
- 4 tomatoes, finely chopped or pureed (approx 1 ¼ cup)
- 3 tbsp yogurt, whipped
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp tomato paste (optional, see notes)
- Oil for cooking
- 1 tbsp saunf/ anise coarsely grind, a few seconds in the spice grinder or some good grinds in a mortar and pestle
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds coarsely grind, a few seconds in the spice grinder or some good grinds in a mortar and pestle (can do this with the saunf)
- ¾ tsp chili flakes
- ¾ tsp chilli powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- ½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
Combine the achar masala.
Cut a small slit into your green chilies making sure not to cut them open entirely. Stuff half the achar masala into your green chilies with your lemon juice. If you have masala left over that's just fine - you can just add it to the chicken later
Heat 3-4 tbsp of oil in a saute pan that has a lid on medium heat
Add your cry leaves and as soon as they sizzle add your ginger garlic pastes, achar masala (including what's left from stuffing chilies), chicken
Give it a good stir to coat evenly - saute for about a minute
Take the pan off the heat, add your tomato puree/ chopped tomatoes and yogurt, mix well and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
Cover and simmer on low till the chicken is tender and oil rises to the top.
Crank up the heat to saute the mix down to your desired consistency then adjust seasoning
Add your tomato paste, mix, top with stuffed green chilies and let cook covered on low heat for 5-6 minutes.
For bone in chicken use the equivalent of 2lbs or roughly 1kg, add two more tomatoes for a saucier dish (optional) and it'll cook the same way.
In season tomatoes have a nice robust color and tang, in the absence of them a little tomato paste goes a long way.