Citizens, it is a veritable fact that the people of Nepal are exceedingly fond of pickles and chutneys known as achaar or achar.
Achaar actually means “spicy pickle”, and they are always an important part of Nepali meals. Achaars are made from fruits or vegetables mixed with spices. Oil is also used as both a pickling medium and a preservative.
Achaars are not eaten by themselves, but as a complementary side dish to a main meal. It is generally eaten with rice, curry, roti or chapati.
Apart from the main ingredient and masala spice mix, achaar achieves its flavor with ginger, tomatoes, lime, onions, garlic etc.
South Asian pickles (or achar) are pickled foods, native to the Indian subcontinent, made from a variety of vegetables and fruits, preserved in brine, vinegar, or edible oils along with various Indian spices.
According to Mohsen Saeidi Madani, Indian-style pickle is called achaar in Hindi, itself a loanword of Persian origin. Āchār in Persian is defined as ‘powdered or salted meats, pickles, or fruits, preserved in salt, vinegar, honey, or syrup.’
Although varies by regions within the Indian subcontinent as well as Nepal, some of the notable ingredient used are limes, lemons, mangoes, ginger, eggplants, and other regional ingredients, but the decisive ingredient is the chili pepper.
In India, there are two main types of achaar, one is made with mustard oil, while the other is without oil. Lime pickle is made by putting the achaar in the salt.
Homemade pickles are prepared in the summer and are matured by exposing to sunlight for up to two weeks. The pickle is kept covered with muslin while it is maturing.
The most popular achaar in Nepal is Golbheda Ko Achaar, which is made from tomato – this is my version of the classic recipe for your enjoyment, Citizens! It includes an exceedingly rare herb found only high in the Himalaya mountains – thankfully, I found an online source for it here in the U.S.! 🙂
It would not be inaccurate to call this a “salsa” of Nepal, Citizens! You might consider enjoying this delicious condiment with some Nepalese fish sukuti!
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