Monday, December 8, 2014

Hari Mirchi Ka Achar

Hari Mirchi Ka Achar is a traditional pickle made with mildly hot green chillies, stuffed with a blend of spices.


Achar or Pickle are a very important part of Indian Cuisine and is mostly prepared at home under the guidance of elders. Every household has its own recipe which has been followed for generations, and is carefully handed over to the next generation. Pickle making is like a ritual and you need to follow dadiji's instruction, starting from the washing the mangoes, chillies or whatever is to be pickled, to the masalas, the ratio of oil in fact everything. Even today my mom double checks with my grandma before she makes any pickles, the best part is that it tastes the same year after year and yes they don't use any measurement cups...its all by "Andaz" or approximation.


 The recipe which I am sharing for Hari Mirch ka Achar is from my MIL (Hubby loves his mom ke hath ka achar and yes, I love it too) and a very typical North Indian style Mirchi ka Achar  stuffed with powdered Fennel seeds along with other spices. Don't forget to read the notes before you start preparing the achar.
  
Ingredients

Green chillies - 500 grams
Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 1/4th cup
Fenugreek seeds (Methi) - 1 tablespoon
Mustard Powder - 1/4th cup
Dry Mango powder (Amchur) - 2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 7 tablespoons (a little less than 1/2 cup)
Lemon juice - 1 1/2 tablespoons (approximately 2 lemons)
Mustard oil - 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons

Method

Wash green chillies thoroughly, pat dry with kitchen towel or fine cloth. Make a slit, lengthwise, in the center, ensuring that both the ends are intact.



Dry roast fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds separately, until they start releasing aroma.  Let them cool to room temperature, then grind into a fine powder.



Transfer the powdered fennel and fenugreek powder into a large mixing bowl, add mustard powder, dry mango powder, turmeric powder, and salt mix well.



Add the lemon juice and mix well, now add 2 tablespoon of oil and mix well.




Carefully stuff each green chilli with the ready mixture. Once done place the stuffed green chillies into a dry glass jar or barni, add the remaining 2 tablespoon of mustard oil.




 Cover with fine muslin cloth, close the lid and keep the jar in sunlight for 3-4 days. After 3-4 days you can keep the achar indoors and let it rest for a week or so during this time the achar will be well done.



Notes

As I said Achar making is a ritual and you need to follow instructions, well I did follow my MIL's recipe and instructions too. The only change what I did to the recipe was with the salt, I have cut down on the salt as her actual recipe called for half a cup of salt which I felt would be a bit more. But usually pickles are high on salt as salt also works as a preservative.

We usually keep the whole stuffed chillies but I have cut them into half as these were really long and would not fit into my jar.

Very important please ensure that the chillies are completely dry before you start stuffing them.

Well by any chance if there is some left over masala and you have run out on chillies then just sprinkle the masala while placing the stuffed chillies in the jar.

The container in which you are finally going to keep the stuffed pickles should be clean and absolutely free from any moisture or else the pickle will get spoilt. What I usually do is, once the glass jars are washed and cleaned, wipe it with a fine cloth and place it in the sunlight for an hour or two without the lid. Just before filling the pickle I clean it again so that there are no dust particles too.

While placing the achar in the sunlight always cover the jar with a fine muslin and then place the lid, this is done because once the salt and green chillies start to release moisture, which gets evaporated because of the sunlight. As the jar is closed, there is no way for the moisture to escape, so when we cover it with a fine cloth it absorbs the extra moisture.

Though difficult to resist but its  always better to consume the achar after 10-15  days as we have used mustard powder as well as mustard oil which has a pungent taste and is not very pleasant. During these 10-15 days the achar gets matured and the pungent taste gets mellowed down too.

Last but not the least always use a clean dry spoon to remove the pickle, as even the least amount of moisture is enough to spoil the pickle.


  






















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