I was introduced to a lot of Indian and Pakistani cuisine when I was in the UAE. It was truly mind blowing to have been exposed to such vast variety of cuisines. There is something to be said about the food in UAE. You have the high end restaurants (famous international chains) to little cafeterias selling shawarma, sandwiches of all kinds and rich fruit juices/shakes with exotic names. Imagine ordering a club sandwich with ‘Burj al Arab’ shake, which would be a mix of mango and avocado or such. You get the gist?
I was first introduced to earthy Pakistani cuisine at a small joint called Data Darbar in Sharjah and from then on I was hooked. And thanks to yet another small joint called Silver Eagle in Dubai, I developed a liking for karela (bitter gourd) that I once hated. The Pakistani dal karela, dal gosht (meat), achari gosht and karela gosht are out of this world!
The recipe below is for achari chicken or achari mutton. Achari means pickled, so this has a tangy taste to it and best eaten the next day, so that the masala gets into the meat.
P.S. You may add 2 full packets of the achari masala if required so as to give it the authentic achari (pickled) taste.
P.P.S. Do not add salt as the masala already has salt in it.
- Chicken (full) or Mutton – 1kg
- Achari masala (*) – 2 packets
- Onions – 2 (1 ground to paste and other sliced)
- Ginger – small piece about 2cm ground to paste
- Garlic – 3 cloves ground to paste
- Yogurt – 4 to 5 tbsp
- Tomatoes – 3, diced
- Green chilli – 8 to 10 medium sized
- Lemon juice – (optional)
- Oil for frying
- Water – 2 to 3 cups
(*) easily available from most Indian grocery shops
- Marinate the meat with onion, ginger, garlic paste, yogurt and keep it aside for half an hour.
- In a small bowl mix about 2 tbsp of achari masala with water or lemon juice.
- Slit the green chilli slightly and fill in the masala mixture and keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a wok and saute the onions till slightly brown.
- Add the remaining achari masala and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the meat together with 2-3 cups of water and stir well.
- Cover and let it cook (if you are using mutton pre-cooked in the pressure cooker, you may reduce the cooking time here).
- When it’s 3/4 cooked, add the tomatoes.
- Continue cooking till masala is semi dry and finally add the chillies and stir well.
- Serve hot with rice, chapati, naan or roti.