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Achari Masala (Traditional Punjab Curry)

Try this delicious Achari masala chicken recipe that combines a unique blend of spices with tender marinated chicken to create a rich and aromatic curry, perfect for dinner time. It’s a traditional recipe from Punjab in India that is packed with flavor!

Achari Masala in a bowl.

Step by Step Video Instructions


Chicken: Bone-in pieces like thighs and drumsticks will give the curry a richer flavor. Boneless pieces can be used if preferred; however, the cooking time may be slightly less.

Achari Masala: This homemade spice blend includes fennel, nigella, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, and coriander seeds. It is essential for the distinctive achari flavor. If any of these seeds are hard to find, you can use a pre-made achari masala available in stores.

Yogurt: Acts as a tenderizer in the marinade, and helps balance the flavor of the spices.

Green Chilies: Adjust the number based on your heat preference. Deseeding them before adding chat masala will reduce the heat while keeping the flavor.

Kashmiri Chili Powder: This provides a vibrant color and a mild heat to the curry. If unavailable, you can substitute it with paprika.

Tomato Puree: Use fresh or store-bought tomato puree. If you use fresh tomatoes, ensure they are well blended to a smooth consistency to avoid chunks of tomato in the curry.

Red Onions: They add sweetness and depth of flavor. if unavailable, you can use regular yellow onions.

Ginger and Garlic Paste: This paste adds a robust, aromatic base to the marinade and curry. Freshly made paste is best, but store-bought versions can also be used for convenience.

Achari Masala in a pot.

Expert Tips

Marination Time: For the best flavor and tenderness, marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. If possible, marinate overnight in the refrigerator to allow the spices to better penetrate the meat.

Blistering Chilies: When preparing the green chilies, blister them in hot oil until they are slightly browned. This process enhances their flavor and adds a very slightly smoky note to the curry.

Adjusting Consistency: Adjust the consistency of the curry to your liking. If it is too thick, add a bit more water during cooking. If you prefer a thicker curry, let it simmer uncovered for a few extra minutes to reduce the liquid.

Storage and Leftovers

Refrigeration: Allow the Achari Masala Chicken to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing: This curry freezes well. Once cooled to room temperature, place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw the curry overnight in the refrigerator.

Reheating: To reheat on the stovetop, place the curry in a pot and heat gently over medium-low heat until hot throughout. Add a splash of water if the curry has thickened too much during storage. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave. Cover the dish and heat on high for 2 minutes, then in 30-60 second intervals until hot throughout, stirring in between intervals.

Achari Masala in a pot with cilantro.


What should I serve with Achari Masala Chicken?

Achari masala chicken pairs wonderfully with jeera rice, plain basmati rice, or Indian breads like naan, roti, or paratha.

Can I make this dish less spicy?

Yes, to make the curry less spicy, reduce the number of green chilies and also deseed them to lower the heat further.

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Achari Masala in a bowl.

Achari Masala (Traditional Punjab Curry)

Try this delicious Achari masala chicken recipe that combines a unique blend of spices with tender marinated chicken to create a rich and aromatic curry, perfect for dinner time. It's a traditional recipe from Punjab in Indian that is packed with flavor!
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marinate Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 346 kcal


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds

Chicken Marinade

  • 900 grams chicken pieces
  • 1/2 of the achari masala prepared above
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons yogurt 60 grams

For Chili Preparation

  • 6 green chilies
  • Chat masala as needed

For Curry

  • 2 Kashmiri dried chilies
  • 2 red onions finely chopped
  • 150 grams tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mango pickle
  • Fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish


Prepare Achari Masala:

  • In a small blender, pulse together the fennel seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and coriander seeds until you have a coarse powder.

Marinate the Chicken:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the chicken pieces with salt, turmeric powder, yogurt, ginger garlic paste, and half of the achari masala. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Prepare the Chilies:

  • Slice a slit into each green chili lengthwise. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of chat masala to each green chili. Set to the side.

Cook the Curry:

  • Heat mustard oil in a large pot or karahi over medium heat. Add the green chilies and sauté until they are blistered and slightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the Kashmiri dried chilies and chopped red onions to the pot. Sauté until the onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the marinated chicken. Sear the chicken until browned.
  • Mix in the tomato puree, Kashmiri chili powder, and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the blistered green chilies and mango pickle. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve.


Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 24gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 130mgPotassium: 584mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 327IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Achari Masala
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