Archive | Achars & Kachumbers RSS feed for this section

Spiced Veg Salad (Cachumber)

12 Sep

This spiced salad of raw vegetables is known as Cachumber, Kachumber or Kachmbar in Southern India and Koshumbir or Koshimbir in Western India. These small side dishes of seasoned raw vegetables can be as simple as chopped onion seasoned with lemon and salt or a complex mixture of many vegetables and fried spices. This one is on the more complex end of the spectrum and is really delicious, it adds a lovely crunch to any meal. Choose your own variety of vegetables, whatever is in season, and feel free to experiment with other spices.

  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Peppers (sweet or hot)
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • Herbs; Coriander leaf (optional), garlic chives (optional)

Seasoning for 2-3 cups of vegetables

  • 1-2 tbsp descicated coconut
  • 1/2-1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2-1 tsp whole cumin seeds
Finely chop the vegetables, for this recipe i usually do about 2-3 heaped tablespoons of each vegetable, aiming for about 2-3 cups of vegetables altogether.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil and when hot add the mustard and cumin seed then add the coconut. Stir and lift off the heat as soon as the mustard seeds crackle and the aroma from the coconut rises. Stir the fried spices into the freshly chopped vegetables add the juice of half a lemon or more and salt to taste. Leave for 1 hour before serving so that the flavours and juices of the vegetables mingle. Serve with a little extra coconut sprinkled on top.
Variation freshly grated coconut would be great but as i cannot grow it here i keep some bought unsweetened descicated in the pantry.
For other Koshumbir type recipes have a look at:
Advertisements

Summer Pickle (Gujarati)

12 Sep

Crisp, fresh, summer vegetables tossed in a sour-pungent dressing of crushed mustard seeds, lemon juice, turmeric, and asafoetida. This is an instant Indian pickle that comes from Gujarat where it is also served as a salad. This pickle or salad is best made just before serving but it will also keep for a couple of days in the fridge, so it can be made ahead of time.

  • 2 sweet carrots
  • half a small cucumber
  • 2 – 4 hot green chillis, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 6 or 7 cherry tomatoes or physalis
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (Devil’s Dung)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • 1 small clove garlic (optional)

Peel and cut the carrots into thin 2cm-ish batons, peel the cucumber and cut into quarters lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut into bite size slices. Put the carrots and cucumber in a bowl with the salt and set aside for 15 minutes then pour off any liquid that forms. Halve the tomatoes, slice the chillis and crush the garlic add these to the salted veg along with the rest of the ingredients toss well to coat and it is ready to serve.
Variations
Other vegetables I would use any other sweet fresh crisp vegetables including; turnips, radishes, French beans, sweetcorn.

Recipe Source
This recipe is based on the Cucumber & Carrot Pickle in Tarla Dalal’s Book Achaar aur Parathe I have changed it slightly by adding yellow cherry tomatoes and using chilli oil instead of mustard oil, I also added crushed garlic and in future I would add more chilli and other summer veg.

This recipe was originally posted on www.masdudiable.com on 31/7/2008.

Minty Onion Relish

19 May


This raw salad type relish has bags of flavour and a lovely fresh zing to it. Sweet white onions are simply seasoned with salt, lemon and mint and the result is a delicious fresh side salad or relish to go with grilled foods, lentil or rice dishes.

  • 1 large sweet white onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • pinch salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Mince the onion finely. Sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Rub the dried mint between the palms to break it down to a fine powder and sprinkle over the onions. That is it done, stir and serve. The salad can be left for an hour or so before serving and is still good 24 hours later so it can be made in advance.
Note In this part of France we a re lucky that it is an area famous for its sweet onions including the Cevennes Doux. A sweet Spanish or salad onion would make a good substitute. In most cases I would choose fresh herbs rather than dried but for this relish dried really does work best.
Garden Tip If you grow mint it is best to cut it back once or twice during the year, particularly as the weather gets hotter, to encourage fresh new growth. I grow a lot of mint so the twice annual cut backs provide plenty of mint to use fresh and to dry.

Sour Cucumber Salad

27 Oct
I love cucumber side salads they add just a dash of something light and refreshing to a meal. This one is a wonderfull salty, sour and hot and is great served with fried or grilled foods such as barbecued chicken wings or with rice and dal. It is particularly tasty if you use some of the more aromatic chillis such as Lemon Drop or Habanero chillis. I thought our crop of cucumbers was over for this year but as the day time temerpatures are holding late into October, the remaining cucumber plant in the polytunel has started to produce new growth and even cucumbers.
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 fresh hot chilli thinly sliced
  • pinch of ground dried chilli 
  • generous pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice 
Slice the cucumber into paper thin discs. Slice the chilli into very thin rounds put them into a small bowl with the cucumber, ground chilli and salt sprinkle with citrus juoice or vinegar. Mix well then refridgerate until ready to serve. This salad can be made ahead of time but is best eaten within 24 hours.
Tip if the skins are a little tough by all means peel them.

Crunchy Coconut Relish

6 May

Coconut relish is one of the classic Indian relishes, particularly in the South. I make quite a few different coconut relishes, chutnies or pachadis. This one is quite dry and crunchy; a delicous blend of cool coconut, hot chillis with fried spices and crunchy lentils stirred in at the last moment.  It is a perfect accompaniment to vegetable curries, dals and Indian breads.

  • 100g desiccated coconut or half a fresh coconut grated
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 dried red chillies, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp very hot chilli powder (I use lemon drop) optional or to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable, coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp urid dal
  • 1tsp brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 16 dried curry leaves, crumbled or small sprig fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • pinch asafoetida

If desiccated coconut is used, sprinkle it with 3 tablespoons water or coconut milk and mix well to moisten. Stir in the lime juice, chilli powder and salt to taste. Heat oil in a small pan and fry the mustard seeds and dhal until the seeds pop and the dhal is golden. Add the the dried chilli curry leaves wait until the chilli darkens then add the nigella and asafoetida and turn off the heat immediately, pour over the coconut and mix well leave to stand for 15 minutes before serving. It will keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.


Note if you can get fresh coconut then fantastic – use it – the grated flesh of fresh coconut tastes so much better. You can also make a smoother chutney by adding a little more liquid and grinding the whole lot to a smooth paste but I personally like the crunchy texture of it made this way. I sometimes add crumbled dried red chillis instead of the fresh or powdered and that is wonderful too
Gardeners Note If there is one thing I wish I could grow in my garden and I can’t it is a coconut. I love it but there is no hope, it is early May here and it has been raining for days and the temperatures feel like they have gone back to winter.
Recipe Source The original recipe came from Rafi Fernandez’s ‘Thenga Chutney’  p 82 in Cooking of Southern India. I have adapted it over time to my taste so it is a quite different and this is my version of her wonderful recipe.

Quick Carrot Pickle

7 Dec

Freshly made pickles or achars are a speciality of India and one of my favourite ways of eating raw veg, more of a side salad than a pickle, they are meant to be eaten fresh rather than stored. For this one the raw vegetables are simply tossed in spices and hot oil which transforms the humble carrot into mouth tingling morsel of yumminess that peps up all kinds of food. This one is particularly quick, requiring no standing time at all, and is hot, pungent and delicious. It really brings out the sweet crispness of the raw carrots and is wonderful with rice and a simple dal. You could also add it to a cottage cheese wrap, scatter over a leafy salad or just tuck into a bowlfull of this as a snack.

  • 4 carrots 
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp fenugreek seeds 
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric 
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/4 tsp nigella seeds 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of asafoetida 
  • mustard oil 

Peel and cut the carrots into small batons about two inches long. Crush the whole spices, a coffee grinder works perfectly or just bash them up in a mortar, add the other spices, sprinkle over the carrots and toss well. Heat the mustard oil in a small pan until it starts to smoke, this mellows the oil, then pour the hot oil over the carrots and toss to make sure all the carrots are coated in the oily spice paste. Serve immediately or it will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Recipe Source I am not clever enough to invent this stuff, this recipe came from Tarla Dalal’s fantastic book Achaar aur Parathe. I have kept to her recipe but reduced the spicing a little bit.

Chilli Pickle (Pepperoncini)

1 Oct

This chilli pickle is for the faint hearted, a mild version of a classic Indian hot chilli pickle. Pepperoncini peppers are thin fleshed mild frying peppers that have a wonderful aniseed flavour but not too much heat. This pickle, whilst still hot, is not as madly hot as those made with hot chillis. It is ready to eat immediately but will keep and mellow with age.

Makes 1 pint Keeps refrigerated for 3-6 months
*250g green pepperoncini peppers (or small sweet green peppers)
*2 tbsp yellow mustard seed
*2 tbsp fennel seeds
*1 tsp turmeric
*1 heaped tsp chilli powder (use less for a milder pickle)
*Juice of 1 lemon
*1 tbsp salt

Slice the peppers into chunky rounds discarding the end with the seeds. Roast the fennel seeds in a dry pan then grind with the mustard seeds. Mix all the ingredients together well in a large bowl then pack into a sterilised jar(s). The pickle is delicious and can be eaten immediately, to mellow the flavour cook in the sun for 3-4 days by putting the jar on a sunny window ledge and bringing it back in at night. Keep refrigerated and it will store for 3 months or more.

Recipe Source Tarla Dalal’s Book on Indian pickles and breads Achaar aur Parathe and I’ve changed the recipe to use milder peppers and the ratio of spices to peppers.

Note I grow lots of lovely mild pepperoncini which we normally eat green simply pan fired with oil and salt in the classic Spanish Tapas style.

Originally posted on http://www.masdudiable.com 21/8/2008 I am republishing it here as I have a fresh batch of peppers to make this pickle with

Classic Spicy Side Salad

24 Jul

This is a classic side salad. A refreshingly tangy salad of tomatoes, onions and cucumber straight from the garden with a hint of chilli and lemon which gives it the piquancy. Salads like this are found all around India, the mediteranean and middle east. It makes an excellent summer side salad and goes well with grilled meats and curries.

  • 3-4 tomatoes
  • 2 small white onions
  • 1 or 2 small cucumbers, peeled
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of chilli flakes or chili powder
  • Optional herbs; flat leaf parsley, mint or coriander finely chopped.

Finely chop the onion, tomato and cucumber, add the citrus juice, season with salt, pepper, sugar and chilli to taste and give it a good mix. Serve immediately sprinkled with herbs.


 

Hot Cucumber Relish

18 Jul

This is an instant raw relish or pickle and not one for long keeping, not that it lasts long in our house. Cool cucumber with ginger, garlic and lots of home grown ground chilli makes for a brilliantly refreshing combination on a hot day. A great fresh chutney, side salad or relish for almost any meal. I’ve even been known to eat this stuff for breakfast with eggs.

Serves 4 or just me:-) Cooking none

  • 2 small – medium size cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Mint dried and crumbled (optional)

Peel and cut the cucumbers into four quarter lengths, remove the soft seed areas along each length then chop into bite size pieces. Put into a bowl sprinkle with the salt and mix well. Bash up the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar, slice the spring onions finely and add these to the bowl along with the lemon juice and chilli. Mix well and serve sprinkled with a little dried mint.

Cook’s Tip
A tip on the heat, I make my own chilli powders so i can mix the heat level and flavours to our taste but you can do the same thing with shop bought powders, or dry and grind shop bought chillis to get a mixture that is as hot or mild as you like.
Gardener’s Tip
I find mint gets a little rough in late summer so I harvest and dry it around mid summer.

For other Koshumbir type recipes have a look at:

Raw Onion Relish

24 Jun


This is not so much a recipe as a reminder to make something fresh to accompany a meal. We eat this stuff with everything, it is so simple and yet so tasty. Raw onions chopped and seasoned with home-made chilli powder, salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime. You can make it as hot as you like and it is a wonderful little fresh relish or kachumber to give an accent to any meal. I especially like it with Indian dishes, barbecues, and on picnics.

Variations add fresh herbs such as mint or coriander, grated coconut, fried spices or yogurt to make a side with more complex flavours.