Fermented foods are probiotic powerhouses boosting the good bacteria in your gut and helping with overall health and immunity
“Achar” is a form of fermented food in the Indian subcontinent and essentially is a pickling process. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, sustaining communities through changing climate and seasons where the life of the crop could be extended by preserving it.
Kashmir with it’s cold winters is very conducive to pickling a variety of vegetables such as Kohlrabi, carrots, radish, peppers etc. There is no vinegar in these pickles. Mustard oil is the main carrier in which fermenting agents like mustard and carom seeds are added. This will last a long while on your shelves.
The basic recipe was for Monji Achar ( Kohlrabi pickle) from which I strayed a bit and added the crunchy turnips and carrots. The Kohlrabi leaves I had already cooked in another dish, otherwise I would have chopped and added them.
The key would be to dry out the cut vegetables in the sun for a day or so just to reduce the moisture. I am in the dead of winter here in Virginia so sunshine is scarce. I left it out for another day….48 hours.
Kashmiri Achar - Pickles
Beautiful fermented winter vegetables
- 1-2 large bulbs of Kohlrabi ( Monji is Kashmiri)
- 1-2 large turnips
- 2 carrots
- 1 table spoon sea salt ( adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon carom seeds ( Ajwain).
- 1 cup mustard oil.
- 2 table spoons red chili powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- Peel and cut the bulbs of kohlrabi into 1 inch pieces.
- Do the same with peeled turnips and carrots
- Wash the veggies and spread them on a cloth to dry out in the sun for one day. This can be 2 days if there is no sunshine.
- In a large glass bowl mix the spices with the oil.
- Add the vegetables and mix well..
- Put it in a large glass pickling jar and seal tight.
- You need to leave the jar in a sunny place for a week to ferment. If you are in a cloudy wintery place like me, then it will take another week.