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. The use of mustard oil if thought to create optimum environment for fermenting by reducing the formation of mold and yeast.
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. Once this this pickle will be exploding with flavors, hot, sour and salty and 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 were also 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.
Sour, Salty and spicy ferment that brings an explosion of taste
- 1-2 large bulbs of Kohlrabi ( Monji in Kashmiri)
- 1-2 large turnips
- 2 carrots
- 1 tablespoon sea salt ( adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon carom seeds ( Ajwain).
- 1 cup mustard oil.
- 2 tablespoons red chili powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
Directions1.Peel and cut the bulbs of kohlrabi into 1/2 inch pieces, chop up the leaves
2.Do the same with peeled turnips and carrots
3.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.
4.Coarsely grind the mustard and carom seeds. Just a couple of pulses will do it so they remain coarse.
4.In a large glass bowl mix the spices with the oil.
5.Add the vegetables and mix well with a wooden spoon
6.Put it in a large glass mason jar and seal tight.
7.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. For the first few days, try turning the jar upside down once a day so that the oil is distributed. But, be careful with this process, the oil can seep out if the lid is not on tight.
Here are some more Kashmiri Recipes
- Kashmiri Achar
- Gogji Nadir ( Lotus Stem with Turnips)
- Shalgam Sabzi ( Turnips)
- Haakh – Kashmiri Collard Greens
- Gand Chetin – Kashmiri Onion Chutney
- Kashmiri Phool Yakhni – Cauliflower in Yogurt sauce
- Kashmiri Chutney – Dodh AL ( Bottle Gourd in Yoghurt)
- Vost Haakh t, Nadir ( Lotus stems with Amaranth leaves)
- Haakh Tchaman- Kashmiri Cheese and Greens
- Kokur Roganjosh