Achari chicken is one of the tastiest and popular Indian Gosths (= stews). The particular spicy an sour taste of this slow-cooked makes this recipe a must-to -try! The meat is previously marinated into yogurt, and a blend of spices originally created to preserve the traditional Indian pickles. The fresh taste of the lemon juice and the coriander leaves balance the bold flavor of the spices: delicious!
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ORIGIN OF ACHARI CHICKEN STEW
Achari Gosht is a traditional Indian recipe, very popular with some differences in Pakistan as well. Gosht means meat cooked for a long time, like stews.
The two Indian regions that claim more the origin of the Achari Gosht are the North Punjab, and the area around the city of Hyderabad, in the Southern Indian region of Telangana.
The particularity of the Achari stew is into the spices, and the sour taste is given to the lemon juice: sure enough, the Achari spices blend has been made initially to preserve the Indian vegetable pickles. The legend tells of a chef that, tired of the usual stews taste, used the remains of the pickles spice blend to cook the meat, adding lemon juice and ginger to give a fresh taste that recalls the vegetable pickles.
CHICKEN, OTHER MEATS, AND VEGAN ALTERNATIVES
Even if the chicken is the most worldwide famous choice of meat for the Achari Gosht, goat meat is very popular in India as well. Other tasty options are beef and lamb meat. Two delicious vegan variations are made with cauliflower florets or/and potatoes.
Several chefs prefer to marinate the meat for Achari chicken for 1 or 2 hours. I love to extend the marinade time to 8 to 10 hours. Traditionally, the marinade is prepared with Indian yogurt, not so easy to find outside India! Greek yogurt is a decent option.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
OIL OR GHEE? – Several recipes call for vegetable oil. Personally, I prefer the velvety, sweet taste of ghee, best if homemade!
ONIONS – traditionally, the onion is finely minced, or blended, then sauteed until golden. I prefer to reduce my onion into slices, then caramelize and finally mix with an electric blender.
TOMATOES – If you can find perfectly ripe fresh tomatoes, use them! In case, high quality canned tomatoes is a decent option.
TEMPERING – Tempering is optional, but gives the Achari chicken a particular and delicious taste! Preparing the tempering pay attention not to burn the spices into the oil!
STORING AND SERVING – Personally, I prefer to prepare the Achari chicken one day in advance: it will be even more tender! In case you prefer to cook the stew one day in advance like me, I suggest you re-heat the chicken very slowly, then add the lemon juice and the tempering just before serving!
ACHARI CHICKEN RECIPE
- 2 lb (900 g) chicken breast, diced
- 4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 ripe tomatoes (alternatively, 2 canned tomatoes)
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves, coarsely minced
- ACHARI PICKLES SPICES BLEND
- 5 dried red chili peppers
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp Caraway seeds
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ACHAI MARINATING
- Achai pickle powder
- 1/2 Lb (200 g) yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp grated ginger root
- TEMPERING (OPTIONAL)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp mixed seeds (cumin, caraway, mustard, fennel)
- SPICES BLEND
First of all, pour in a pan all the ingredients signed into the "Achari pickle spices blend" list, except the Turmeric, and the coarse salt. Now, place the pan over medium heat, and toast the spices 3 or 4 minutes, stirring continuously. Finally, pour the spices into a mortar, or a grinder, or an electric mixer. Then, add the coarse salt and the turmeric powder, and blend until obtaining a powdered mixture.
Now, reduce the chicken breasts into dices. Then, pour the meat into a bowl along with the yogurt and the Achari powered spices blend. After that, add 1 grated clove of garlic, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, and ½ tbsp of peeled and grated ginger root. Finally, knead and massage the mixture 5 minutes, cover or wrap, and store into the fridge at least 1 hour (best if 1 night).
- ONIONS, GARLIC, AND TOMATOES
Now, let's prepare the caramelized onions! Peel and slice the onion, and pour them in a pan, preferably a cast-iron skillet or wok, along with the ghee and 1 tsp of salt. Stir and place the pan over medium/low heat, and cook until perfectly caramelized, stirring occasionally.
At this point, add the grated garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Then pour the caramelized onions into a blender and mix until consistent. Eventually, add the peeled tomatoes, and blend again.
- ACHARI CHICKEN STEW
Now, pour the marinated chicken into the pan, along with the onions and tomatoes mixture. Then, cover with a lid, and cook over low heat until the meat is done, but still juicy, stirring occasionally. Once ready, add ½ tbsp of lemon juice and stir well just before adding the tempering and serve.
In case you want to add the tempering, pour the vegetable oil and the tempering spices in a little pot, then place over medium heat. Once the oil starts to sizzle, pour the oil and the spices over the Achari chicken, stir well and serve!
- STORING AND SERVING
Preparing the Achari chicken one day in advance will make the meat even more tender! Just re-heat the stew very slowly, and add the lemon juice and the tempering right before serving.
Serve the Achari chicken along with steamed rice pilaf, and naan!
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