Achaar

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Recipe by: ballgameover.mp3 Uploaded by Drimble Wedge

I've never related a recipe before, so please forgive me and please bring it to my attention if I forget anything, or have not adequately explained something. This is very simple, as even I was able to do it and it tasted as it should. None of you should have any problems with this.

In order to do this, you need:

  • At least one good-sized carrie (which is an unripe mango)
  • A jar with a lid
  • A flattish dish large enough for your pieces of carrie - I used a thaal, which is a large rimmed plate useful for eating Indian foods that have sauces or for eating rice. In this situation, it was also useful for allowing me to rubberband a cheesecloth in place so that wandering insects did not decide to sample some of my food.
  • Veggie oil and something to heat it in.

Spices:

  • Dhaana methi (fenugreek)
  • Haldi (turmeric)
  • Black Mustard seeds
  • Onion seeds
  • Red chili powder
  • Heeng (asafoetida)

Optional: lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground ginger

Now, here's what you want to do:

First, take the carrie and cut it into pieces of whatever size and shape you prefer. For each one, you're going to want to sprinkle a teaspoon each of salt and haldi onto the pieces. I should mention that my mother does measuring by taste, which is something that usually doesn't work out for me, so I'm patching this together according to my not-so-good memory of how I made it a couple months ago and her not-so-exact method of describing it to me. I used slightly more than a tablespoon - probably 4 teaspoons each for 3 mangoes. Allow this to sit out overnight. The next day, you will get rid of the excess liquid. Don't need to be too careful about this, but try to retain the haldi and salt and get rid of the liquid.

Now, if you don't have any prepackaged achaar masala mix, you have the opportunity of doing this on your own. To do this, simply mix up the dhaana methi, mustard seeds, onion seeds, and red chili powder and combine them (after making sure that all of these things are of powder consistency.) This is also where the optional cumin seeds, garlic powder, and coriander seeds come in. Due to my mom's instructions and the fact that I intend on making more achaar in the future, what I did was this: I took a bunch of the first four ingredients and ground the ones that needed ground so that I would have a little container of achaar masala. I did this because according to my mom, you need a handful of this mixture per mango. The other optional ingredients, my mother says, are not necessary, and therefore can be added - a pinch here, a pinch there, according to the individual's taste. These should also be ground, where applicable. Basically, the core recipe I've given you is open to experimentation. Once you've made this achaar, you'll be able to judge what may or may not taste good in it next time around.

Bearing that in mind, dust the mango pieces with this achaar mixture - if you wish to, add a drop or two of lemon juice to the occasional piece. Place all of the pieces on your flat dish and let sit for approximately 2 days.

After 2 days, place your mango in the jar. Now, you're going to take some oil - enough oil so that your achaar is completely submerged. Once again, I am sorry that I have no measure. What I did was to make too much and simply ditch the excess oil. My achaar was about half an inch under the oil. Anyway, add a couple pinches of heeng to the oil and heat it for a bit. When the oil is hot, turn it off and allow it to cool. Once the oil has cooled, add it to the jar, making sure that the mango is totally submerged - once again, this is not an exact science, a fact which irks me to no end. Now, you're going to simply let your achaar sit out in the jar for a week to 10 days, after which you can eat it. I hope that this was useful to you, please let me know if there's any way I can further clarify.