Indian Chicken Pickle

Indian chicken pickle pinit View Gallery 3 photos

This recipe for Indian chicken pickle was developed through the need for a dry curry. Many of the curries we make are sauce-based, but it is nice to have different textures so this drier curry is perfect. The vinegar also adds a different flavour profile to the richness usually found in Indian food.

This dish is delicious served with white rice, saucy vegetable curries such as Spinach and Cheese curry, dahl and nan breads. Chicken Pickle also goes really well with dishes such as Rava Dosa (coming soon) as the vinegar flavour cuts through the oilier breads.

Many if not most cultures have a concept of pickling as a method of preserving foods born out of a time before refrigeration. For thousands of years vinegar or other acidic liquids were added to foods such as vegetables to help to keep them ready to eat long after harvesting.

Many cultures use pickling as a method of preserving vegetables but it is less well known that the method can also be used for preserving fish and meat. Across India there are many ways of preserving foods through pickling.

The pickling process often focuses on certain spice blends referred to as ‘Achari’ which can be used either as whole seeds or ground to a powder. The exact recipe for chicken pickle can vary widely depending on regional preferences and family traditions. However, common ingredients include spices such as turmeric, chili powder, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and garlic, along with acidic components like vinegar or lime juice.

The marinated chicken is typically cooked in the flavorful spice mixture until tender, then if not eaten immediately preserved in a jar in oil. This oil helps seal the meat and creates a barrier against bacteria, allowing the chicken pickle to be stored for extended periods without refrigeration. Chicken pickle was traditionally (and still is) sold to travelers wrapped in a flatbread as it keeps well and remains tasty for a long time.

Indian Chicken Pickle

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 20 mins Rest Time 30 mins Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Marinade

Spice powder mix

Curry

Instructions

Marinade

  1. Add all of the ingredients for the marinade to a bowl. Mix thoroughly to make sure the chicken is evenly coated.

  2. Place in the fridge and marinade for at least 1 hour.

Spice mix

  1. Heat a dry frying pan to a medium heat.

  2. Add 1/2 tsp of fenugreek, fennel and mustard seeds to the pan.

  3. Toast stirring frequently until the aroma is released. Be careful not to let the spices burn.

  4. Remove the toasted seeds from the pan and grind to a coarse powder using either a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar.

Curry

  1. Add 2 tbsp of mustard oil to a frying pan and turn on to medium heat.

  2. Add the sliced onions and fry until the onions have softened.

  3. Add the chicken to the pan and fry stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add the garlic ginger paste, sliced chilis and 8-10 curry leaves to the pan and fry for 30 seconds.

    cooking Indian chicken pickle
  5. Add 1 tsp garam masala, all of the spice mix and 1/4 tsp of asafoetida to the frying pan. Fry for 30 seconds until the aroma is released.

  6. Add 3 tbsp of white vinegar and check for seasoning. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

  7. Serve with white rice, your favourite vegetable curries and nan breads.

    Indian chicken pickle
Keywords: Indian, chicken, pickle, curry, dry curry,
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