Achar vichar

Updated: Jul 25, 2020, 08:36 IST | Phorum Dalal | Mumbai

Desi chefs share how pickles can add zest and tartness to your cooking exploits

Mango Pickle Salad by Purabi Naha
Mango Pickle Salad by Purabi Naha

Last week, a dear Parsi friend sent across bafenu, a ripe Alphonso mango pickle flavoured with mustard seeds, spices and jaggery. The fat fermented mango had its skin intact, sitting in a watery orange sea. The accompanying note mentioned that it was an annual delicacy, and apart from playing the role of a pickle, it can be used instead of chutney in cucumber sandwiches. This reminded me of my aunt who once added chundo (sweet mango pickle) into the thepla dough to add a khatas (sourness). While a pickle is usually a side condiment in meals, there are many ways to incorporate it in cooking to add a tarty taste. Purabi Naha who runs her blog Cosmopolitan Currymania, uses kasundi along with ingredients that make a pickle to whip up a salad. "I use kasundi, panch phoran masala, dry roasted jeera, chilli, and aam papad for an arugula and lettuce salad," says Naha, who spent a few years in Hong Kong and picked up the staple Korean kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap).

When we ask Vikram Arora of Tamak about using pickles in cooking, he instantly remembers the biryani he ate at an eatery near Jama Masjid in Delhi. "The makers add mirchi ka achar when they are layering the biryani. They add it in the oil that is drizzled over every layer. It results in an intense flavour," shares Arora, who explains that in Bihar, they add it in the sattu stuffing called makuni in litti as well.

Achari gobi tandoori (Serves four)

Aca

Ingredients

For blanching

  • 20 pcs Cauliflower florets
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder

For marination

  • ½ cup Hung curd
  • 1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • ½ tsp Garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp Mango pickle
  • 1/8 tsp Mustard seed
  • Pinch of Onion seed
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp Fennel seed
  • Pinch of Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp Mustard oil
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ tsp Besan (roasted)

For basting & finishing

  • ½ tbsp oil
  • Pinch of chaat masala

Method

Blanch cauliflower in boiling water with salt and turmeric and chill in iced-cold water. Do not overcook the cauliflower. Cool, strain water. Keep it aside. For marination, rub hung curd on a flat utensil. Add ginger-garlic paste, all powdered spices and squeeze mango pickle to take out the extract and discard the remains. In a pan, heat mustard oil to its smoking point and take off from heat and cool. Heat again, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, onion seeds,.Once they start spluttering, turn off the heat and pour it over the smooth curd. Mix well and add roasted besan, lime juice. Add blanched cauliflower, mix and refrigerate for two hours. Cook on tawa or pre-heated convection oven at 220 degrees C till it attains colour. Sprinkle chaat masala and serve with mint chutney.

Para

By Chef Vikram Arora

Korean kimchi fried rice (kimchi bokkeumbap)

Food

Kimchi is a harmony of different kinds of ingredients with the right kind of fermentation. Korean napa cabbage kimchi is the most popular kimchi with commonly found ingredients like spring onions, Indian mustard leaves, slender cucumbers, white radish, wild lettuce, watercress, wild leeks, Asian brown mushrooms, salted and fermented fish, garlic, ginger and red chilli peppers, which speed up the fermentation process.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup Jasmine rice, steamed
  • ¼ cup Kimchi (a mixture of cabbage and radish kimchis)
  • ½ cup Chicken or pork (cut into tiny cubes)
  • ¼ cup Spring onion greens
  • 2 tbsp Shallots (chopped)
  • 3 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp Toasted white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • Black pepper powder to taste
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 5 tbsp Light oil
  • ½ tsp Salt

Method

Marinate the meat with soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chopped shallots, chopped spring onion greens and garlic for 30 minutes. Fry in 1.5 tbsp oil. Finely chop the kimchi and squeeze extra juice. Reserve the juice for the final step. Fry this chopped kimchi in 1 tbsp oil. Fry the rice with the rest of the oil, adding the salt. Mix the fried kimchi, kimchi juice and the fried meat to this rice and stir well until dry. Serve with chopped spring onion greens. Add some fresher kimchi over the rice.

Nahah

By Purabi Naha, Cosmopolitan Currymania

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