Chicken Pickle The Ultimate Guideline

Chicken Pickle

The Ultimate Guide to Chicken Pickle – India’s Addictive and Mouthwatering Condiment

Chicken pickle is a beloved condiment in Indian cuisine. This guide covers everything you need to know about this tangy, spicy, and flavorful pickled chicken dish.

What is Chicken Pickle?

Chicken pickle, known as “chicken achaar” or “murgh achaar” in Hindi, is a popular Indian side dish made by marinating chicken pieces in an array of aromatic spices and vinegars. The spiced chicken is then fried and preserved in a pickle made of oil, citrus juices, and masala paste.

This yields a complex medley of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors in a convenient shelf-stable presentation. Chicken pickle delivers a flavorful explosion of tangy and piquant tastes to any meal.

Regional variations feature uniqueblends of local spices, herbs, and oils tailored to local palates. Common ingredients across all chicken pickle recipes include:

  • Chicken – bone-in or boneless pieces
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Groundnut oil or vegetable oil

Additional spices like cumin, coriander, fenugreek, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and asafoetida add complex layers of aroma and spice. The chicken soaks up these strong flavors as it cures, infusing the meat with delicious seasoning.

The tangy tartness of the lemon balances the heat from the chilies. The salt and turmeric both preserve the chicken and impart vibrant color. The oil transfers flavor and renders a rich mouthfeel.

This combination creates a versatile Indian pickle boasting unique sour and savory tastes that spark cravings. Chicken pickle accompanies everything from rice and flatbreads to fried snacks. It also makes an addictive solo treat due its intense medley of flavors.

Benefits and Nutrition of Chicken Pickle

This protein-rich pickle provides ample health incentives beyond its lip-smacking tastiness. The list of benefits includes:

  • High protein – The chicken offers lean protein for building muscle and aiding weight management. Skinless white meat contains less fat and cholesterol versus red meats.
  • Anti-inflammatory compounds – Spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, and chilies contain beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Gut-friendly properties – Fermented foods like pickle boost healthy probiotic bacteria in the digestive system. The macerated chicken also gets broken down more easily.
  • Immune-boosting nutrients – Essential vitamins and minerals in the spices, chicken, lemon, and oil support immune health.

Beyond being decidedly tasty, chicken pickle packs decent nutritional value. A 100 gram serving provides:

  • 430 Kcal
  • 35 grams fat – Mostly unsaturated fats from the oil
  • 18 grams protein
  • Fair amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, E, K

So chicken pickle makes for a relatively well-rounded snack or side dish that delivers more than just a burst of flavor. It offers a nutritious and protein-rich accompaniment to any Indian meal.

Taste, Texture and Flavor Profile

As described earlier, chicken pickle showcases a symphony of tastes spanning all flavor dimensions:

  • Sour – Tart citrus juice
  • Salty – Briny flavor
  • Sweet – Mild fruity notes
  • Bitter – From fenugreek and curry leaves
  • Spicy – Warming chilies
  • Savoriness – Umami chicken and spices

In terms of texture, the tender chicken pieces and crunchy seeds and herbs contrast nicely with the smooth gravy. This mélange of flavors and textures excites the palate from start to finish.

Regional variations change up the ingredients to create unique flavor profiles. Some examples include:

Andhra style – Hot and sour with gongura leaves
Malabar style – Aromatic and robust masala notes
Goan style – Coastal and tangy flavors

No matter what recipe, chicken pickle always strikes an ideal balance between spicy, sour, sweet and salty elements. This harmony of disparate flavors makes for a highly craveable and moreish condiment perfect for Indian dining.

home made chicken pickle

Storage and Shelf Life

Like all pickles, chicken pickle lasts a surprisingly long time after opening thanks to the preservative qualities of oil, salt, citrus, and spices.

Proper storage optimizes shelf life and freshness:

  • Store in clean, sterile glass or non-reactive containers
  • Refrigerate after opening
  • Ensure the chicken stays fully submerged in oil
  • Keep tightly sealed with an airtight lid
  • Shelf life lasts 1-6 months refrigerated depending on the recipe

Over time, fading color, softening textures, sour aromas, and bitter/sharp tastes indicate spoiled pickle. As long as the pickle maintains bright hues and the oil lacks cloudiness, it stays safe to enjoy.

Chicken Pickle Pairings and Serving Suggestions

This versatile condiment pairs excellently with a diverse array of Indian foods:

Chicken Pickle Pairings and Serving Suggestions
Chicken Pickle Pairings and Serving Suggestions

Main Dishes

  • Rice – biryani or plain
  • Breads – chapati, paratha, dosa
  • Snacks – bhajia, pakora
  • Noodles or pasta

Dips and Chutneys

  • Raita yogurt dip
  • Green chutneys with cilantro, mint or spinach
  • Coconut chutney

For serving sizes, a modest 1-2 tablespoons sufficiently livens up a full meal without overpowering other dishes. But the addictive flavors also make chicken pickle perfect for solo snacking directly out of the jar!

Where to Buy Chicken Pickle

This pickled delicacy is ubiquitous across stores and street stalls in India, but specialty online retailers help international folks get their chicken pickle fix from overseas. The top brands exporting authentic chicken pickle include:

These purveyors sell jars across a range of sizes to suit solo diners up to large families. Prices typically run just a few dollars per pound. Shipping costs vary based on quantity, but many offer free shipping above minimum order values.

So anyone craving genuine Indian chicken pickle can have this tangy treat conveniently delivered to their doorstep. It makes an excellent cultural gift too for global friends and family to relish.

Healthy Homemade Chicken Pickle Recipe

For those wanting to DIY this delightful dish at home, here is an easy chicken pickle recipe to try:


  • 1 kg chicken pieces, skinless
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 lemons, juiced


  1. In a large bowl, mix chicken, all spices, lemon juice and let marinate for 2-3 hours at room temperature or overnight refrigerated.
  2. Heat oil in a wok/pan on medium-high heat and fry marinated chicken for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Carefully transfer fried chicken pieces into a clean, dry glass jar. Pour hot oil over chicken pieces until they get fully submerged.
  4. Allow to cool fully then seal and store for 1 week before consuming. Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 months.

This easy homemade chicken pickle requires hardly any active prep time. The bulk of labor goes to passive marinating and storage to let flavors develop. Adjust the seasoning as needed to strike your preferred balance of salty, spicy and sour flavors. Serve and enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

The possibilities abound for customizing chicken pickle to suit different tastes and diets:

  • Swap in skinless boneless chicken chunks, breasts or wings
  • For vegetarian versions, use paneer, jackfruit or mushrooms
  • Kick up spice with hot chilies, mustard oil or peri peri masala
  • Use apple cider or rice vinegar for tangy sweetness
  • Add fenugreek, curry leaves, cloves, star anise and fennel for aroma
  • Feature regional tastes with tamarind, gongura leaves or kokum
  • Replace chicken with fish or prawns

Let your imagination run wild playing with different ingredients to concoct your own signature chicken pickle creation.

Potential Health Considerations

Like most salty pickled fare, chicken pickle comes with some cons to consider:

  • High sodium content – Excessive intake risks

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FAQs about Chicken Pickle

Is chicken pickle spicy?

Chicken pickle can range from mildly spiced to flaming hot depending on the recipe. Some quick spice level guidelines:

  • Mild – Plain yogurt-based chicken pickle
  • Medium – Andhra style with moderate chili powder
  • Hot – Goan style chicken pickle with lots of red chili
  • Very spicy – Chicken pickle with ghost peppers

So heat levels span the whole spectrum. Look for terms like “mild,” “medium,” “hot” on labels to choose your preferred level. Or add your own spices to customize as needed.

Does chicken pickle need to be refrigerated?

Refrigerating maximizes freshness and shelf life, but it’s not strictly required. The preserving qualities of oil, lemon juice, and salt allow properly stored pickle to last 1-6 months at room temperature. For best safety and quality though, preservation via refrigeration is ideal.

Is chicken pickle gluten free?

Most traditional recipes avoid wheat, barley and rye ingredients, making them naturally gluten free. But some mass manufacturers add binding fillers that may contain traces of gluten. Always check labels and descriptions to confirm gluten free status if following a strict diet.

What’s the difference between chicken 65 and chicken pickle?

Chicken 65 features deep fried chicken tossed in a spiced yogurt based sauce. It’s a popular Indian restaurant appetizer.

Chicken pickle gets marinated in chili oil with warming spices and tart fruits. It makes for a great homemade condiment and side dish rather than restaurant fare.

They both boast crispy, tangy chicken but made using entirely different techniques and flavor profiles.

What oil is best for pickling chicken?

Groundnut oil (peanut oil) works wonders. The high smoke point stands up to frying while the clean, neutral taste avoids clashing with pickle flavors. Mustard oil also adds delightful pungency. Any vegetable oil will work in a pinch though.

How long does homemade chicken pickle last?

Homemade chicken pickle keeps refrigerated for 1-3 months. Commercial products last even longer – 6 months to 1 year thanks to extra preservatives and optimized storage.

Maintaining cleanliness and submerging chicken fully in the oil maximizes homemade pickle preservation.

Delicious Ways to Eat Chicken Pickle

Beyond the usual rice pairings, these recipes creatively incorporate chicken pickle into meals and snacks:

Chicken Pickle Naan Wrap

Stuffed with spiced chicken, cool yogurt, crisp veggies and zesty pickle, this easy flatbread wrap makes a delicious fast casual meal.

Chicken Pickle Pasta

Toss chicken pickle with cooked pasta, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese for an instant flavor-packed dinner.

Chicken Pickle Potato Skins

Top loaded baked potato halves with cheese, bacon bits, scallions and spoonfuls of chicken pickle for perfect game day finger food.

Chicken Pickle Deviled Eggs

Blend chicken pickle with egg yolk, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire and mayo then fill hard boiled egg whites for a potluck crowd pleaser.

Chicken Pickle Popcorn

Yes, you read that right! Roasted nuts would also work. The sweet-savory combination tastes incredible.

So get creative and incorporate chicken pickle into all kinds of fusion dishes beyond traditional Indian fare. Its complex seasonings jazz up everything from sandwiches to salads to pastas.

Final Takeaways on Chicken Pickle

Chicken pickle makes for an intensely craveable condiment that excites the palate and sparks conversation at the dinner table. A little dollop complements virtually any Indian meal while offering nutritious perks like protein, antioxidants and probiotics.

Preserved in fragrant oil with chili heat, aromatic spices, and tart juices, chicken pickle delivers a harmonious medley of sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavors in every bite. Its versatility also extendsacross fusion cooking applications beyond classic rice and flatbread pairings.

So next time hunger strikes for a snack that satisfiesthe tastebuds and soul alike, turn to chicken pickle. This lip-smacking Indian specialty concocts chicken magic!

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