Achari Murgh

Chicken cooked with pickling spices, tomato and chilli

Achari Murgh

A very synonymous North Indian curry and I have to say its one of my favourites. I cook this regularly and still cant get enough of it. The preparation is typically like any Indian curry but with ingredients that pack a punch and very authentic in flavour and taste. This dish has been made in the north, particularly places like Rajasthan for a long time. As the weather in the north of India is quite warm, curries such as this using pickling spices, enhance the flavour whilst helping to preserve the food for longer. Mustard oil in this dish makes the chicken rich and moist but even vegetable or sunflower oil can be used as an alternative.

The yoghurt makes the gravy thick which helps coat all the chicken pieces evenly. Tailor the heat your requirement by using a little less of the whole red chillies and the chilli powder. Like any other meat dish, if this is made a little in advance the taste develops and is much nicer. But I’m not one for waiting around, so once cooked its good to eat straight away mopped up with warm rotis or even a green peas pulao & some raita to accompany.


  1. 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 min or so. Also add the whole red chillies, stirring to make sure they don’t burn.

  2. Add the sliced onion and fry until light brown in colour and have softened for about 8-10 mins. To the pan now add the ginger/ garlic paste frying for a few seconds. Mix well. Stir in the tomato puree, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Cook for a couple of minutes till the oil leaves the sides of the pan.

  3. Add the chicken pieces cooking on a medium heat to make sure the pieces are sealed and coated in the gravy for 5-7 mins. Add the water and bring the curry to a boil, then simmer covered on a low heat cooking for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through and succulent, stirring a couple of timesAchari Murgh (3)

  4. At this stage, add the yoghurt and stir, making sure not to let it split and continue cooking on a low heat with the lid on for 5-7 minutes. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Garnished with coriander. Serve hot with roomali roti or naan. Enjoy!

  • Janet Beveridge

    I cooked the Achari murgh dish at the weekend and it was absolutely fab, thank you.

  • Gary Marshall

    Hi Maunika, just wanted to say that I tried this for the first time tonight and it was absolutely fantastic. Thanks!

  • Tanya

    This is just simply fantastic! I tried it and loved it! Thank you for sharing the recipe

  • asma

    Love love loved it!!!

    thanks ever so much for the fab recipe !!!

  • Spanglemaster

    This recipe is superb! I’ve been searching for a curry like this for a while now. It’s just got it all. Fragrance, heat and bags of that authentic flavour.. The yoghurt softens the heat a little but the aftertaste lingers beautifully. I absolutely love the asthetically pleasing of the red oil marbling through the dish upon serving!! I’d seriously advise people to give it a go.. I also put fresh tomatoes in but only a few very ripe ones..

  • Denise Thompson

    Tried this out and I have to say OH. MY. GOD.
    So simple, so flavorful and just the best decision I made that day. Mmm. Slurp!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you so much! Thats so brilliant to hear:)

  • Juhi

    Hi maunika,
    I made this curry the other day and it turned out great, however there was this bitter taste in a few bites. Is it because of fenugreek seeds. What can I do to prevent it next time.
    Sorry I am new to cooking so don’t know.
    Thank in advance.
    P:S – you’re my kitchen hero.
    Love from Sydney

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi Juhi, When you add fenugreek seeds make sure they dont cook for too long or else they do turn slightly bitter. Hope you try the recipe again! Its one of my favorite achari recipes. Thanks so much for your comments. Maunika x

  • Nidhi Gupta

    Love this recipe. Its become a family fav. In fact , I used the curry to make a vegetarian version with paneer for my mum. My parents dnt generally like to experiment, but they lapped this up!!

    Love love love ur recipes. U r a rockstar!!!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      So glad they have enjoyed it! Thank you for your message and happy to hear your loving the recipes. Its the reason why I love adding lots more! Maunika x

  • João Pedro Diniz

    Making it now, for today’s dinner. Thanks

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hope you enjoyed it!:)

      • João Pedro Diniz

        it turn out great, thanks! The following day, I’ve added sliced zucchini to the leftovers and it was also very good. Great recipe

  • Payal ShahBiswas

    Made it for lunch and it was superb….will definitely make it again!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      One of my fave dishes and so delighted to hear you’ve enjoyed it!

  • David Bruford

    So can I just make the paste with out adding meat, I am ask because I would like to make a batch and wondered if it would chill or freeze…?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes absolutely! Follow the recipe until step 2. Cool and batch freeze. Defrost when you need it and then follow the remaining part of the recipe. Enjoy:)

  • Zita Lorna

    I made this dish exactly per the recipe. It was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know if it is done – but I am going to use this base and add fish instead, for a change 🙂 Thank you so much.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Fish achari sounds yum!!

  • Zoya Khan

    Can I use canned tomatoes instead of tomato purée?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi Zoya, Tomato puree has a rich thick texture which helps thicken the gravy for this dish. Canned tomatoes are great although make sure to discard any excess moistture/ juice from the can. Hope that helps!

  • Craig Stewart

    Cooked this tonight but used stewing beef. I thought it would work out and it did. Absolutely delicious but because beef needs so much longer to cook it did dry out a bit so not too much sauce to go about at the end which was a shame because my wife loved it. Must find a way of increasing the sauce content.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      You can always double the curry quantity and then add the beef. Cooking times will vary depending on what you include Beef/ Chicken or Lamb.

      • Amena Begum

        Hi Maunika. I wanted to do a lamb curry with this. But wanted to know what you mean when you sau “double the curry”. Do you mean double the onions or everything else too including whole spices and spice powders? Thank you. Amena

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Double the base sauce that your cooking before adding the lamb/ chicken to it!

  • Amena Begum

    Hi Maunika I think my previous message didn’t go through under Craig.
    Just wanted to ask you what you mean by doubling the curry quantity if we do it with lamb. Do you mean the onions, spices and whole spices? Or water? Sorry I’m a novice cook and using your website & book o learn!

  • Rachel

    Whenever I add yougurt to the curry it splits what can I do to avoid this?

    • Craig Stewart

      Rachel. Try stirring a little of you curry sauce into the yoghurt and then adding it to your cooking pan. It always works for me. Cx

      • nishant panigrahi

        You can also mix 1/2 tsp began(gram flour) to the curd while beating it. That should help. Also stir the curd in as soon as you put it in the curry. Hope that works!

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Good tip!

          • Ritika Murthy

            Okay. Total kitchen newbie here. How do I know if the curd has split? Also . My gravy is not coating the chicken like I see in your pictures. It’s turned out more runny.

            Also …if the curd has indeed split then does that make the curry inedible?

          • Ritika Murthy

            Also . used a blended a tomato in a blender in order to make the puree…is that good enough or does that compromise on the thickness of the gravy ?

          • Maunika Gowardhan

            The recipe uses tomato puree concentrate which is thicker rather than blended tomatoes. If using blended tomato you will need to simmer the gravy for a little longer. When adding yoghurt add little at a time and stir continuously. Enjoy!

          • Ritika Murthy

            Thank you !

  • Netty

    Thank you Maam for the lovely recipe. tried it out and it was simply yummylicious

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Glad to hear that!

  • Abyann Mohammed

    Hi there,

    Could you alternatively add ground spices rather then the seeds my husband does not like the texture of them in the curry.


    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse! Add all the whole spices mentioned in a pestle and mortar and crush lightly to a coarse consistency which will mean they are really whole when added to the curry.Enjoy:)

  • Ant

    Hi Maunika
    This is the third recipe of yours I have made. The other two are Lucknowi Achari Gobi and Spicy Keralan Chicken Curry. Both were superb – I loved the Keralan chicken curry before I even made it, as I have a curry tree in my garden, and wanted a recipe that could really use fresh curry leaves. The achari spice mix is fantastic, and that led me to the chicken version. Also, you introduced to me a secret weapon – mango powder. I never would have discovered or used such an amazing ingredient if it wasn’t for you. Thanks for your wonderful blog and it’s recipes. My 20 year old vegetarian son is coming home from University for a few months – I will get him to cook some of your veg recipes and he will, I’m sure, post his positive comments after he has finished being wowed by the taste.
    By the way, I haven’t eaten this curry yet, as I took your advice to let it stand and let the flavours develop. I will post tomorrow, after me, my partner, my brother and his wife have eaten.

  • Divya Talreja Ramnani

    Tried this recipe today with paneer, turned out perfect. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  • Prakriti

    Hi Maunika, I’m relatively new to cooking so was just wondering if just 1.5 tablespoons of tomato puree would be enough or if I should add more as the chicken curries I have made have usually asked for about a cup of puree. Thanks!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you! I use a tomato concentrate so it does suffice:) Hope you like the recipe.

      • Prakriti

        What could one use as a substitute for the concentrate? (Apologies for the lack of knowledge!)
        Ps- I really liked the recipe and want to try it again.

  • Nina

    Can this be made in the slow cooker?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes ofcourse!

  • Molly 42

    Hi, I have a few questions here! Firstly, can I use boneless chicken thighs? Also if I was to do this in my slow cooker how long would I cook it for? How many does this recipe serve and can I avoid the yogurt as I really don’t like it. Otherwise it sounds delish!!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes you can use boneless chicken thighs. Yoghurt is a good addition as its creamy without being too heavy like cream. The spices need to be fried so best done over a hob. Enjoy the curry!

  • Neha Dubey

    Maunika I tried this recipe for some guests coming over for dinner. Turned out super delicious and it was very light too.. Superb recipe. ?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Lovely to hear this Neha!

  • Ayesha Datta

    Hi Maunika, thanks for the recipes. Super! So I have tried a few recipes and my issue is the onion. I have fried for over 20 mins in some cases but the onion is still pretty visible at the end of the cooking process. I tried frying and then blending the onion but I thought that doing that got rid of some of amazing fragrances of whole spices that were fried with the onion. Suggestions? Should I fry the onion on its own, blend and then fry the blended onion with whole spices?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you for your comment. Frying/ blending onions would depend on each individual recipe! The onions in this recipe need to be softened and not browned completely. Also they will continue to cook even when you’ve added the spices, tomato and chicken.

  • mmegha

    How many people does the given recipe serve? I am planning to cook this for a dinner for 7, how should I scale?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Serves 4 so can be doubled easily!

  • Chris Sandiford

    I’ve tasted and seen this recipe with mango chutney and other vinegar based pickles in it. Without them, does this still have the tanginess associated with the dish?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      This hails from Rajasthan and every region will have a slight variation. Your probably referring to a Punjabi/ North Indian recipe. The curry most definitely has the required tanginess especially as this uses yoghurt and tomato puree. Enjoy:)

  • thatmashguy

    Bit confused. Where is the achar in the recipe.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      The ‘achari’ ingredients used in pickling a variety of dishes across India are the whole spices which are common to so many recipes. This is why the dish is known as Achari Murgh.

      • thatmashguy

        oh okay, I guess I’m just used to Achar Chicken having the actual achar in the dish. Will give this a go.

      • thatmashguy

        Well that was fantastic. Looking forward to making it for my parents now. Thank you.

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Wonderful to hear that! Thank you:)

  • kdawg

    Is one and half tbsp of tomato puree a typing mistake? Isn’t that really less? Also if there is no tomato puree available in stores whats the alternative I can use? I could see tomato paste and tomato sauce in the section but no tomato puree. Thanks!

  • Vimal Tailor

    Made this last week, family loved it. Such an easy recipe to follow, thanks.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Lovely to hear this!

  • Kev Spencer

    Just tried this one – amazing flavours!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you!

  • Tony

    Recipe was top notch. Along with the cauliflower pilau recipe, which I made a day before so it eases up the process. I thought I might have made a curry that wasnt worthy. Iv made a pathia which was ok but needed some work, then made a tikka masala, even though I dont really like a proper one ( compared to other choices ) This tikka masala wasnt much like a restaurants, so not nice. Disheartened by my experiences, this dish was like having quality restaurant food but also questioning if its better than a dish Iv ever been made. So it might even be a favourite dish ever. I had some decent mango chutney on the side and its nice mixed but I forgot the original flavour, so separation is good. Thanks Maunika.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Great to hear this!

      • Tony

        Ah. Just thought Id say. The curries I made previous. The Pathia and tikka masala wernt from your page. Iv only made the above. Thanks though. Its nice. You can add too much onion if you guess how much onion and next time I will add yoghurt in stages so I dont add too much ( 100 ml can be difficult to measure in a jug ) I will add tbsp’s and then determine my heat. I will make another dish from your book. Cheers.

  • Andrea Brown

    Hi I am just in the process of making this but have just noticed it is black mustard seeds I have used the lighter ones. Will it make much difference?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Shouldnt do…Black/ brown mustard seeds are commonly used in curries.

      • Andrea Brown

        Thanks. Will be making this again tonight with black mustard seeds.

  • Brian Provan

    Just had this tonight. Lovely lovely dish. Really proves these dishes are every bit as nice when cooked at home. This will be the start of cooking a lot more of your recipes. Thank you.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Huraah!! So wonderful to hear this and delighted to hear you’ve enjoyed it:)

  • John Taylor

    Tried this last week it was very good ,going to cook tonight but plan to use fresh tuna in place of chicken.

    • Maunika Gowardhan


  • Zara

    I just wanted to say I am so happy I tried this recipe. It’s one of the best recipes I’ve ever cooked. I never knew you could make something so delicious with such simple ingredients and a simple method. Thank you so much! What other recipes are your favourites please?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank YOU! That is wonderful to hear and so thrilled to be able to share the recipes with you.

  • susan frazer

    What type of mustard seed for chicken achare Murphy and what type of dried red chilli as I have small dried bird’s-eye?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Black mustard seeds and dried mild red chillies.

  • aidan clark

    Hi, when you call for tomato puree, do you mean the stuff you get in tubes? Sometimes recipes that say puree mean more of a passata-type thing. Thanks.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes. Either tinned or tubes. Its a concentrate so add the colour and thickness required. If you get good quality fresh tomatoes you can replace with them.

  • JN Knotts

    I made this last night, and even though I made mistakes it was incredibly delicious! Next time I make it I will keep a more careful watch on the spices when I brown them, and not add my GG paste too soon, and get methi seeds instead of powder. Also, I may cut my chilies smaller and add more. Except for the methi powder and the mistakes, I followed the recipe fairly closely. with the exception of using bone in skin on chicken thighs, and coconut milk yogurt because I’m deathly allergic to dairy. This was absolutely divine!

  • TJ Welsh

    love this recipe, i am going to make it again and would like to make it for a larger group. how would i adjust to double this recipe? ive heard that doubling a recipe doesnt mean doubling the ingredients list

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yes although add the same amount of spices and chilli to taste!

  • Manish P M

    Amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing this. I have tried it and added to my favorites..

  • Andy Luckhurst

    Wow wow wow! Just made this gorgeous curry. The hint citrus just finishes it off nicely.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you!:)

  • Meagan Heine

    This was amazing! I didn’t have yogurt so used a cashew paste instead. Very delicious though; I loved the flavor with the pickling spices.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yay! Thank you:)

  • Wilson D’Souza

    Hi Maunika,
    This is just a terrific recipe. I used to get my quota of achar gosht from Dubai’s Ravi restaurant back to Boston. Not required to do that anymore. I have also made this with mutton, added Dundicott chiles at the step of “adding Chicken” and Shan mixed pickle at the end to match Ravis. Both versions are now beloved in the house. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Elias Pogany

    This chicken HIT. Actually one of the best curries I’ve ever made or eaten. I could eat that gravy like ice cream – can’t recommend highly enough.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Yay!! Thank you:)

  • Zahra

    Decided to try as comments were so positive and so glad I did, all the family really enjoyed, thank you for a very easy to follow delicious recipe.


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