Achari Chicken

This is an adaptation of a traditional southern Indian dish. I say an adaptation as there can never be a definitive version of such things, but the following is pretty close to what one would find in its homeland, with two differences. In India the chicken would be chopped up complete with bones, or even cooked whole. Secondly, the quantity of chillies would vary a great deal. Two chillies makes it delightfully zesty to my taste without smothering the rich flavours of the other spices.


½  teasp whole kalonji [nigella seeds].

½ teasp whole methi dana [fenugreek].

½ teasp whole zeera [cumin].

½ teasp whole sannf [fennel seed].

1 medium onion, chopped.

4 cloves of garlic, chopped.

½ teasp dry ginger.

½ teaspoon haldi [turmeric].

1 teasp roast, ground cumin.

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped.

160ml coconut milk.

2 green chillies.

Juice and zest of 1 lemon.

½ cup olive oil.

300-400g diced lean chicken meat.

Salt to taste.

Coriander greens to garnish.


Mix the whole seeds together and set aside. Dice the onion and set aside. Mix the garlic, ginger and turmeric together and set aside. Whizz together the tomatoes, roast cumin, coconut milk and salt. Set aside. Slit and deseed the chillies, dice and place in a small bowl with the lemon juice and zest. Set aside.

Heat the oil over a hot flame and add the whole seed mix. Fry until they begin to pop then add the onion. Stir fry until starting to brown, the add the garlic mixture. Stir fry for about a minute then add the meat. Salt to taste and stir well until thoroughly coated with the spice mixture and sealed, then add the tomato mixture.

Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer for ten minutes. Add the chilli mixture, stir through, bring to the boil again and simmer for another ten minutes. Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables.

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