Achar (pickles) are integral part of nepali and newari cuisine. It’s served with every meal as it always add that extra punch and flavour hit to rice, daal and curry.
There are so many varieties of achar. Some are made on daily basis with fresh produce meals, others are pickled and preserved as per my previous post of daikon radish pickle.
Nepali cuisine is all about celebrating fresh and organic produce. It’s simple cooking with best fresh vegetables, herbs and meats.
We go and buy fresh produce twice a day in the local market. The best seasonal produce (fruits and vegetables) are brought straight from farm at the market by farmers and they sell it direct to consumers. There are no stalls, vendors just lay their products in the basket in designated area of the market. It’s an instant pop up market for few hours in the morning and night.
Most people didn’t have fridges and buying and cooking fresh produce twice a day was norm.
I remember when I was about 8-9 years old, I used to go to these market in the mornings with my sisters. We used to bargain and buy all these beautiful produce. Even the memory of these markets enthralls me. The sight, sound and smell used to lift my spirits. I still cherish those memories.
The recipe I’m sharing today is a very simple yet it celebrates the fresh produce and brings out the best.
I made this achar for last night’s dinner along with black lentil daal, cauliflower curry and rice. It’s a classic flavours combination that I love to eat during cold winters in Kathmandu.
Here’s a nepali vegetarian meal I had last night.
I will share the recipe of cauliflower in future post but try this achar. It’s dead simple, rustic and goes really well with meat or vegetable curry and steamy hot momos.
5 small sized tomatoes
1 cup of chopped of coriander
4 dried chillies
Salt to taste
10-12 sichuan peppers
Heat oil in the pan and fry dried chillies until it’s black. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, put quartered tomatoes skin side down. You can use grill to roast the tomatoes or even open fire or charcoal. For added flavour char the skin of tomatoes.
Once the skin is charred, reduce heat to low and cook tomatoes for 10-15 minutes. The prolong cooking of tomatoes will extract water and concentrate tomatoes to enhance the flavour.
In a mortar and pestle, add fried dry chillies, salt, sichuan peppers, coriander and pound it to make a rough paste. ( you can use blender but I’m very old school and believe that grinding in mortar pestle gives it more flavour).
Add tomatoes and grind it with the mix to make a thick paste consistently. It’s ready to be served with your favourite meal even pasta.