If you love spicy food and Indian pickles, this is the perfect recipe for you. This unique recipe combines tender pieces of chicken with spices usually used to make Indian pickles. This North Indian dish is a delicate balance of spicy flavors combined with sweet, sour and tangy tastes.
Fenugreek seeds are a common spice used in Indian cuisine; they have a very distinct and pungent flavor. They are also very important ingredient in Indian pickles. Alternatively, Kasoori Methi or dried fenugreek leaves may be used in this recipe. Fenugreek seeds, fenugreek powder and Kasoori Methi are all easily available in any Indian grocery store.
ACHARI MURGH (Chicken with Indian Pickling Spices)
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1½” pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp fenugreek powder (or 1 tsp Kasoori Methi)
1 tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground coriander powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida (hing)
½ cup white vinegar
3-4 tbsp of oil (canola or vegetable)
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the oil. When hot, add the onions and stir fry until golden. This may take awhile (about 6-8 minutes), so be patient. Add the ginger and garlic, stir fry 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spices (red chili powder, turmeric, ground coriander powder, salt, pepper, and the fenugreek powder or Kasoori methi). Stir well to combine and add the chicken. Carefully stir to coat the chicken in the fragrant spices. Add the vinegar along with ½ cup of water, reduce the heat and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. The chicken should be fully cooked all the way through but still moist and tender. Taste and adjust any seasonings, then transfer the chicken to a serving platter.
In a small saucepan on medium high heat, add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil. When hot, carefully add the mustard seeds. When the popping subsides, add the cumin seeds along with the dried red chilies and pinch of asafetida. Remove quickly from the heat and very carefully pour this entire mixture over the chicken. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fresh rotis and fragrant Basmati rice.
You can use this basic recipe with your favorite vegetables, paneer, eggs, meat or any combination. Note that cooking times will vary accordingly.