Yay, it’s Friday and the weekend beckons! What better way to start it off than with a run followed by a delicious curry! Unfortunately, the traditional takeaway curries – delicious as they undeniably are – are laden with lots of ghee and oil . . . and unnecessary calories. The aromatic and tasty spices of many traditional Indian curries mean that there is no need for all the oil and fat. Just a few easy tweaks and you can refuel after your run and have a tasty end of week treat – without any of the guilt! For example, the usual ghee is replaced here with a reduced quantity of heart-healthy olive oil. This recipe for achari chicken is just one of the ‘Takeaway Take Aparts” that I want to share at the end of each week – so we will end up with a good range of weekend takeout alternatives.
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‘Achar’ means pickle, and achari chicken translates as chicken cooked in the pickling style – using the spices associated with Indian pickles. My version uses a shortcut and is more of an adapted jalfrezi recipe with the addition of brinjal (or aubergine/eggplant) pickle.
The aubergine pickle gives the dish a most wonderful sweet, smoky, earthy depth of flavour – and a little of it goes a long way, so you don’t need to worry about the relatively small amount of refined sugar (remember, it’s all about balance, right?). I use the Patak’s brand of aubergine pickle, as I find the taste particularly good.
Depending on where you live (and I speak from experience here!) you might find the aubergine pickle more than a little difficult to find on the high street or local supermarkets. I have to resort to buying it online and in bulk, but it has a long shelf life, and I always have it to hand! However, since buying it last (in a pack of 6 jars), I’ve found that you can now buy a pack of 2 jars here: (affiliate link) aubergine pickle
Like many Indian recipes, this achari chicken recipe uses a tasty combination of ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli. As I have mentioned before in my recipe for vegetable balti soup, these ingredients all have a good range of health-giving properties, including being thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Pop over to that recipe for further details and for links to studies on these remarkable ingredients.
This version of achari chicken uses a good amount of both fresh chillies and chilli powder. Of course, you can adapt the recipe to suit your taste, both in terms of quantity of chillies and powder and the variety of
chilli used. This summer, I have got a particularly good crop of a particularly spicy chilli from a plant on my kitchen window-ledge. They don’t come fresher than that – it has to travel about 6 feet to get from plant to pan! 🙂
As always, if you give this achari chicken recipe a go, please share your comments with the rest of us.
Have a great weekend of running, cooking and eating everyone!
A spicy chicken dish that uses aubergine pickle and a range of spices to give a sweet and smoky depth of flavour. Do your tastebuds a flavour this weekend! 🙂
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger root
- 2-3 green chillies
- 1 red pepper (capsicum)
- 1 green pepper (capsicum)
- 1 tsp black onion seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tbsp water
- 700g skinless chicken breast
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp brinjal/aubergine pickle
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander
Finely chop the ginger and chillies – deseeding if desired. Chop the peppers and onion, and cut the chicken into bitesize pieces. Finely chop the fresh coriander.
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok (you need one with a lid). Add the cumin seed and cook briefly until the seeds splutter.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chillies, peppers and black onion seeds and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder together with the water and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the chicken breast and continue cooking, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and stir in. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and check that the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the aubergine pickle, garam masala and half the fresh coriander. Cook for 1 minute.
Serve garnished with the remaining fresh coriander.
Don't be put off by the longish list of ingredients! This dish is simple and quick to prepare. Feel free to use a chilli and chilli powder of your desired spice level, or adjust quantities according to taste. The dish is less spicy if you choose to deseed the chillies before using.
You will need a wok or large pan with a lid.