Achari Chicken

Achari handi

This Achari Chicken is my favorite 30 minute meal

I know I say this about all my recipes, but this is definitely my favorite 30 minute meal. You know why? Because it tastes like it has been cooking for hours. It’s a favorite entree at restaurants, but is so easy to make at home. You’ll actually start preferring this over restaurant Achari Chicken once you start making this version. The masala is so luscious and is great mopped up with some naan.

Whole spices make this Achari Chicken flavorful

I love using ground spices to add quick flavor, but this Achari Chicken proves that whole spices can also do the same. There are three spices in particular that give it that true achari flavor. Fennel seeds, black nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds (Saunf, kalongi and methre). These whole spices paired with the basic salt turmeric and chilli powder transform this chicken curry into a royal Achari Chicken. I have some substitutions and variations in the recipe notes below that are very helpful, have a look through!

How to get the masala right

I very proudly flaunt this 30 minute recipe, and it wouldn’t be possible without using pre fried onions. Frying onions isn’t hard, but it does take up time. I always have a batch of pre fried onions ready to be used. You can buy them at Indian/Pakistani grocery stores, or in the international aisle at your grocery store. The masala is made os tomatoes, onions and some yogurt. The yogurt gives it a luscious consistency and keeps the masala from drying out when you add the raw chicken to it. This ingredient combination creates the perfect masala.

Achari handi

Achari Chicken

This Achari Chicken is lusicous and flavorful. The tomato based masala is cooked with whole and ground spices that all absorb into the chicken. This tastes so much better than the restaurant versions.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 5


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp oil flavorless
  • 3 roma tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup fried onions
  • 3 tbsp yogurt whipped and at room temperature
  • 1 tsp garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri laal mirch or chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp methre fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp kalongi nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp saunf fennel seeds
  • 3 green chilli peppers
  • fresh cilantro for garnish


  • Heat the oil in your pan and add the tomatoes, fried onions, ginger and garlic. Mix and cook covered for 5 minutes. The tomatoes should have softened by now. Break them down with your cooking spoon, then add the whipped yogurt. Mix quickly so the yogurt doesn't curdle.
  • Add all the whole and ground spices. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped chicken and whole green chillies. Mix, then cook covered for 10 minutes on a medium low flame.
  • After ten minutes, take off the lid and increase the flame to medium. Saute the chicken until most of the water has dried up. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and naan.



The yogurt. Adding yogurt in curries can seem tricky, but there’s two things you should always do. Have the yogurt at room temperature before adding it, and always have it whipped. By that I mean just mix it so it is completely smooth. These two steps prevent yogurt from curdling once it hits the hot pan. 
The onions. Don’t worry if you don’t have any fried onions at home. Just thinly slice 1/2 an onion and fry it in  3 tablespoons of oil. Stir occasionally until the onions are a light golden brown. Then carry on with the recipe as mentioned above. 
The chicken. I always use chicken breast fillets for my hands, but you can use skinless chicken thighs. You can also use bone in chicken. Use one whole chicken cut into 10-14 pieces. The cooking time will increase, and I would reverse the process. That means that I would fry the chicken in the oil and ginger and garlic. Once it gets some color on it I would add the remaining ingredients, mix and cook covered for about 15-20 minutes. 
Keyword Achari Chicken, Chicken Curry, Chicken Handi

Have you tried this Achari Chicken?

I love hearing your feedback! If you’ve tried this recipe I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comments below! Share this recipe with your friends and family!

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This was great. Very flavorful and reminds me of that home cooked mom food.

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