Achaari Murg – Chicken Curry with Pickling Spices

Achari Murg/Achari Murg Recipe

Cooked with fragrant spices used in Indian pickles, Achaari Murg is one of the most delectable of all North Indian dishes. (Achaar=Pickles, Murg/Murgh=Chicken). A chicken curry with a heart beat, the kind that will liven your spirits up!

Indian pickles consists of numerous fruits and vegetables, (chili peppers, garlic, lemon/lime, mango, vegetables like carrots, cauliflowers, bitter melon, eggplants etc) and  sometimes  even meat and shrimp which are more popular in the southern parts of the country. The pickles in India, unlike the idea of pickles in the America, are loaded with spices and are preserved in oil. They are lip smacking good and an exotic way to liven up any meals. The pickles in India come in wide variety of flavors;  so a pickle from the Northern parts of Indian will taste very different from the one in the Southern regions. The Achari Murg is a not a pickle and it is not preserved, but derives its name from the fact that it is cooked with all the spices used to make a North Indian pickle.

This dish is usually cooked in pure mustard oil as most of the North Indian pickles uses mustard oil. The mustard oil gives the dish a very strong and typical taste and flavor, but if you do not have it at hand do not refrain yourself from making this. It will be milder than the traditional; besides the spices used will add up to the flavor.

Below are the pretty, vibrant spices we are going to be using for this recipe.

Achari Murg Spices/achari murg recipe

Achaari Murg – Chicken Curry with Pickling Spices

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  1. 3 lbs skinless chicken on bone, cut into pieces (use any part – thigh, drumstick, breast etc)
  2. 1/2 cup yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup mustard oil + 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola or sunflower oil)  – [may be substituted with all mustard oil or all vegetable/sunflower/canola]
  4. 4-5 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced into half moons
  5. 3 inch ginger, grated/made into a paste
  6. 12-16  cloves of garlic, mashed & minced/made into a paste
  7. 1.5 cups tomato paste + 1 cup water (combine paste and water and set aside) or about 6 fresh tomatoes, grated
  8. Salt
  9. Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chopped – for garnish (Optional)

Dry spices:

  1. 10 whole dry red chillies (or adjust amount as per your taste)
  2. 2 teaspoons fenugreek/methi seeds
  3. 2.5 teaspoons onion seeds/kalonji/nigella/kalo jeera
  4. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/jeera
  6. 2″ stick of cinnamon
  7. 3 teaspoons fennel seeds/saunf
  8. 4-6 cloves
  9. 2 teaspoons turmeric powder, divided
  10. 3 teaspoons red chili powder (Optional)


Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces.

Marinate chicken with salt, yogurt and 1 teaspoon turmeric.

Dry roast red chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella/kalonji/onion seeds, cinnamon and cloves separately. Cool the spices and grind coarsely; set aside.

Heat oil (both mustard & vegetable/canola together, if you are using both kind) in a thick-bottomed pan.

Add onions and sauté till light brown. Add grated ginger and minced garlic and continue to sauté for about 7 minutes at medium heat. Add the coarsely ground dry spice powder. Cook for half a minute, stirring all the time so the spices do not stick to the pan.

Add the chicken pieces & cook on high heat till the chicken is well browned on all sides. Add grated tomatoes, rest of the turmeric powder, red chili powder (if you are using chili powder) and salt to the pan and toss well till everything is well mixed.

Cook at medium heat till oil is slightly bubbly and leaves the sides of the pan.

Add about 4 cups of water, (more or less as needed to cook the chicken), stir, bring it to a boil and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat till the chicken is fully done. Uncover and cook for a while or till the sauce is to your desired consistency. There should be enough sauce to dunk a bread and eat, but not too watery and soupy.

Garnished with fresh coriander/cilantro if you want .

Serve hot with Naan/Paratha/Flatbread or Pulav/Pilaf.

Achari Murg/Achari Murg Recipe

This dish is exquisitely flavored; very different from the other kind of chicken curries I make. So many kinds of strong flavored spices adds a dimension quite unexpected till you actually try it out. An explosion of flavors, scrumptious and lip smacking good!

Related Posts:

Chicken Kolhapuri

Basic Chicken Curry

Methi Chicken

Curried Chicken in Cardamom Infused Coconut Sauce

More Achari ….

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53 comments to Achaari Murg – Chicken Curry with Pickling Spices

  • A&N

    I’m a vegetarian, but the pics beckon me here 🙂

  • you are right..this is trying this one for sure!

  • very nice color and mouth watering

  • I second A & N – I am a vegetarian but the recipe has me hooked. Bookmarked to try a veggie version of this 🙂 I have starred almost every recipe of yours in my reader and I think you should stop making such awesome recipes, so I can stop starring them – LOL!

  • SS

    Woah!!! Soma.. Thanks for this recipe!! What a find! 🙂 I have been looking for such a non-veg pickle with Kalonji. Do let me know if you have any idea how they make such pickles. In the meanwhile.. I will certainly be making this recipe!! Thanks! 🙂 🙂

  • Me too make Achaari Murg…. you’r look really delicious Soma and pics are awasome!

  • Beautiful! What gorgeous flavors!



  • mohana

    oi….amake kobe khoyabi re??? this is soo tempting !!

  • This looks so super delicious. I am just starting to explore indian cooking. Luckily we have a new Indian Grocery here in SF so I know where to get all the spices I will need. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  • Bhaggis amar barir kacha kachi thakona Soma … ekta permanent guest pete. Ki shundor dekhte lagche chicken ta. Amar boro mami ek shomoye khub bhalo mangsher achar banato … tomar ta shotti taste korte icche korche. 🙂

  • Love the color. I can’t wait to give this a go.

  • Soma, the dish came out just awesome….the spicy colour just making me crazy to taste it right now….tomar address ta debe pls….ami taste korte ashchhi….

  • Mouth watering and very attractive clicks…Tumi bangali je ami jantan na….koekta comments dekhe bhujlam….I liked your ABOUT me part. Tomar ei spicy chicken r preparation ta dekhe khoob khide pey geche 😉

    Happy Mother’s Day to you dear:-)

    Hamaree Rasoi

  • Cham

    Ok open the door I am waiting for this chicken, u make hungry Gal!

  • This curry sounds wonderful and the flavors with the pickling spices must be fantastic!

  • It sure looks lipsmacking good!! I love a good Indian chicken curry and with all those spices this must be really good!! ( I think I solved the issue with editing your comment on my blog. Thanks for telling me about it)

  • Wow! can I move next to your house? This looks amazing!!!! I am drooling here! Delicious and rich. 🙂

  • i agree with A&N, i am vegetarian too, this looks so beautiful…. i am going to try this with paneer or aloos i think..thanks for sharing

  • I have enve rhad this chicken, but it sounds and looks so so delcious. I am sure gonna try it. But then with normal oil.
    Happy Mother’s day.

  • wow, I’m drooling all over those pix, very nice clicks!

  • This looks fantastic! I’d love to learn more about Indian pickles. All the varieties sound delicious.

  • This blog is AWESOME! Curry is my favorite. I love spicy food with deep flavor. I’ll definitely be back…once I replenish my spice rack.

  • Your recipe looks delicious! Love your blog!!! 🙂

  • this looks fantastic and very flavorful. delicious!

  • Look at those beautiful spices. I bet this chicken curry taste heavenly!

  • sms

    love this post
    i love chicken ithems i will any thing with chicken

    chicken curry awesome

    thanks for this post

  • Dave

    This looks aewsome. I’ve been wanting to make achari murgh for some time now. One question though…can it really require 3/4 of a cup of oil to cook this?

    It does need a lot of oil; the reason? The Indian pickles use a lot of oil as they are preserved for a long time. This is very similar to the pickles (hence the name) – a very rich and spicy dish, only it is not supposed to be preserved for years. You can give it a try with less oil too ;-).. only won’t be super rich.

  • I am gutted gutted gutted that I didn’t see this post before sat when I made a chicken curry. A good, tasty curry this was, but I would have loved to try this one! Which is definitely the next chicken curry on my list!

  • Soma I have to try this recipe! It looks way too good to pass up just even by looking at the list of spices you’ve used.

  • Love the way your chicken looks. Its wonderful how versatile chicken is and there are so many things we can do with it!

  • Zeb

    Can i skip kalonji in this recipe?

  • Soma , I made this curry today and it was simply awesome. A very different version of Chicken after a long time. Thanks for sharing. The aroma was wafting around the whole house.

    Thanks Shibani for telling me. How have you been?

  • Your blog is making me so hungry today! I want this chicken!

  • Dave

    I made this for dinner Sunday night and it lived up to its billing. My redneck son came over for dinner and had two helpings, and then came over for lunch on Monday and had leftovers.

    I did cut back on the oil just a bit – 1/4 cup mustard oil and 1/4 cup canola – and it was plenty rich for my taste. I ground up the red chilis with the other spices, but I notice in your picture you have a wole red chili sitting right on top. I assume that you added this as a garnish (photographer’s license, perhaps) and that the other red hots were meant to be ground up as per your directons, no?

    Anyway, this was a special dish, full of flavor and very satisfying.

    Your comment put a smile on me 😉 I am happy happy that you liked it.
    Yes that lone red chili was to add some color to the brown 😉 – for the photograph! LOL

    Thank you!!

  • Dew

    I am trying this recipe today :). I saw sum of ur comments frm some vegetarians..propably they can try making the same thing with aloo or paneer…achari aloo or paneer achari…

  • […] to myself…which is “ I shall try making a new dish every day”  Thanks to ecurry for her recipe today. It turned out to be super delicious! . Served with parantha, butter rice […]

  • Let me join the crowd of people up here and tell you that I made this curry and posted it. Love the dish, Soma! It’s going to make the rounds of my friend-family circle now! 🙂 Thanks so much!!

  • Love the look and the taste of theis curry. i usually don’t add the spices powdered and just temper it, but it does make sense to heighten the achari effect.

  • Shweta

    Hey…here’s goes my first comment…I made this and it turned super delicious!!!I I cooked chicken for the first time at home and this dish was my major inspiration…many thanks!!

    🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know. ‘am glad that you liked it!

  • Hi Soma,
    I tried this out and it tasted brilliant except it wasnt the same colour as yours..ive put it up on my blog, do check it out 🙂

    Thanks Nisha for letting me know. Happy that you liked it! I could not find the post in your blog. have you posted it yet?

  • Looks fabulous, but I’m with Dave, going to use less oil. All else considered, this different innovative dish will be most welcome at my table. Hats off to you.

  • adnan

    A curry fan here from Bangladesh…..Made it, turned out very nice, but very spicy! I dont mean heat–I can eat whole habaneros and nagas in 1 sitting—but the dry spices were over powering. Especially, methi seeds are very strong, when I saw 2 teaspoons, I thought “whoaa…thats too much!”…next time I will make it with half the spices.

    It had the unmistakable “achari” flavor, full marks on that.

    Also funny thing—After going through my cupboard, roasting all the five spices one after one, then putting it all in 1 pot, I thought, this looks familiar! then I realized, its basically paanch-foron! had a nice laugh.

    🙂 Adapt it to your taste, that is what cooking is about! Thanks for letting me know that you have tried it.

  • Ashwini

    I’m on a roll of trying your recipes 🙂 I tried this one last night. I did use a thick bottomed pan, but I still had spices stuck to the bottom (despite all that oil!), but I’m sure it’s something to do with the pan. Also, I don’t want this to sound like a complain, but the haldi seems like a lot again 🙁 You have listed 2 tsps under dry spices, I’m assuming it’s the total quantity for the marination as well as the curry itself. I used a little for the marination, but it seemed too much to put in 1.5 tsps for the curry itself…but my guests loved it!! So thank you again 🙂

  • Anuradha

    I may be a little late :)i just came across your blog and i loved your blog and your recipes. i m still not done reading all your recipes but i m sure they r equally good as this one. made Achari murg today and everyone in my home loved it!!! my 4 yr old son was the happiest 🙂
    Thanks a lot 🙂

    Not late!! I read every comment and they all mean a lot to me. Esp. a kind one like this. So glad you liked it and much thanks for your support!

  • GM

    I’m a little confused with the amount of tomato paste in the recipe? Do you mean concentrated paste? 1.5 cups of that seems a lot…It would be like 4 cans? I have all the spices and am ready to go with this lovely recipe! Any guidance that you can give me would be appreciated..I don’t want to mess it up!…Thanks so much.

    I usually use fresh grated tomatoes. The recipe has 6 tomatoes, which is close to 3-4 cups grated. Use loosely packed paste about 1 cup or thick canned pureed about 1.5 cups. I gave the measurements based on fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes are more for texture of the sauce and the balance of tartness will depend on what kind of tomatoes you are using. I am so sorry I cannot tell in number of cans. If I get canned paste, I usually get the tiny cans and I suppose those are about about 3/4 cups each approximately (6 oz can of tomato paste) so I would use 2 cans. and here the cup measurement is for US cups, which is 8 oz. I hope this helps!

  • […] Recipe source: ecurry  with slight variationsYou can find the original recipe here […]

  • Love the way your chicken looks.I have tried this recipe and it tastes wonderful. I recommend this recipe to all my friends
    nice article.
    Akash Singh

  • OMG!! It’s amazing and delicious food recipe. I love chicken recipes, this seems to be something unique i should try it out very soon :). Thank you!

  • JB

    Fenugreek is bit high and dominating, otherwise it is awesome..

  • Naina

    This dish was an explosion of flavors. I had never before cooked in mustard oil so even as I started warming the oil, the aroma filled the kitchen and I knew right then that this would be delicious. From then on, every ingredient that went into the warm oil simply multiplied the flavors.
    The family absolutely loved the flavors, gravy, consistency all of it. Some of my friends who tasted the preparation have requested for the recipe and I pointed them to your website.
    Thanks Soma, you truly possess the midas touch in cooking. I will be trying the chingri-begun next and post my feedback.

  • Anonymous

    Hi !! Can I use beef in this recipe

  • Eli Barnett

    Another curry I’ve tried from your blog, another huge success. I was a bit skeptical after first making the spice mixture – it smelled rather strong and kind of bitter – but upon cooking it mellowed out wonderfully and resulted in an absolutely delicious curry gravy.

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