Chicken Achaari Handi :

Achar means pickle, Achaari is a type of Punjabi curry in which meat or vegetables are cooked in the same spices that are used in making pickles. Achaari masala spices are neither ground to a powder nor used whole, they are roughly crushed. This spice mix is quite similar to the Bengali Panch phoran spice mix with a difference that in the later the spices are used whole.
Handi is a traditional earthenware or metal pot with a lid and heavy bottom, used in the Punjab to cook food in it’s own steam. Usually the dishes cooked in the vessel are associated with the name Handi.

This hot and spicy curry is a Dhaba ( roadside) speciality and has a very unique flavour, that distinguishes it from all Balti and Karahi recipes.

For Achaari Spice Mix :
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
Onion seeds 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
Red chilli flakes 2 teaspoons

For Chicken Achaari Handi :

1/2 kg boneless chicken cubes
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
7-8 ripe tomatoes, puréed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup olive oil or ghee ( clarified butter)
7-8 green chilli peppers, slit in middle, seeds removed

This Is What You Do :

In a mortar and pestle roughly crush the spices listed in the Achaari spice mix, or pulse them briefly in a food processor for 2-3 seconds.

Heat oil in a deep pan or Handi (traditional clay pot), add onions and fry till golden brown.

Add ginger garlic paste and half of the spice mix, continue to sauté another minute or till the spices are aromatic.

Add chicken, salt and turmeric, continue to fry till the chicken changes colour.

Add tomato purée.

Reduce heat, cover the pan. Let chicken cook in tomato juices, no need to add water.
( add a little water if using chicken with bones or lamb).

Remove lid in 15 minutes, increase heat to medium, cook till the curry separates from the oil. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom.

Fill the remaining spice mix in green chillies. Add green chilli peppers to the curry, turn off the heat and cover the pan for five minutes or till the green chillies are bit tender with steam inside the pan.

Sprinkle chopped coriander if desired.

Serve hot with naan or roti.

Serves 2-3

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