Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Posts Tagged ‘achar’

Quick Indian Chili Pepper Pickles (Mirchi ka Achar)

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 26, 2016


My mom made the best Indian pickles in the world.  Before she died,  I transcribed some of her recipes (minimal as they were) onto my iPhone Notes.  Unfortunately, when I bought a new phone,  these files did not survive and now these recipes are nothing but a memory on my tongue.  So I was delighted to come across some recipes on the website called Indian Simmer.  I adapted and annotated the simplest one and used the last of my garden’s serranos to make a pickle you can prepare in just a few minutes and eat within a few hours.


  • 250 gm chili peppers, any combination.  I used a mix of red fresno and serrano peppers, but Thai bird peppers are traditional and much, much hotter.
  • 4 tbs.  brown mustard seeds, coarsely ground in a coffee grinder.
  • Generous pinch of Asafoetida (Hing).  Skip if you cannot find it,  but this is like fish sauce and adds a lot of umami, although it would taste awful if you placed a pinch on your tongue.
  • 5-6 tablespoon oil, preferably mustard oil  (this oil really lends the distinct Indian pickle flavor, but swap with other unflavored oils if you have to). There should be enough oil to fully coat the peppers.  This is the second preservative.
  • Salt to taste  (1 used 3 tsp- this acts as a preservative, so don’t skimp.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tbs. Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric powder



  • Stem the chillies and pulse them in a food processor to get smallish pieces (this will only take a few pulses) .  You can also cut these by hand which is traditional.
  • Place the chillies in a medium sized bowl and add salt.  Dry brine the chillies for 1/2 hour (or longer).
  • You can drain the water from the chilies if you want to reduce the heat after the brining.
  • Heat the mustard oil until it is smoking, then turn off the stove and allow it to cool completely to room temperature.  This reduces the pungency of the mustard oil.
  • In a small  bowl, combine the ground mustard, asafetida, oil, salt, sugar, lemon juice and turmeric powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Toss the spice mix with the chillies.
  • Taste and adjust the salt and lemon to taste.
  • Transfer the pickles to a glass jar.   You should probably sterilize the jar or run it through the dishwasher.
  • Let the pickles sit on the counter for a day and then store in the fridge.  These should keep for a long time.




  • The pickles will taste better after a few days, although they can be used right away if you cannot wait.
  • The pickles will also lose some of their heat over time.
  • These pickles can be used as an accompaniment to any Indian meal, but are also great on buttered toast, on eggs, you name it!



Posted in Asian, condiments, Indian Food, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tomato Chutney

Posted by fourclankitchen on September 30, 2012

I am still in condiment mode because summer is ending and the last of the summer’s goodies are slowly disappearing from the market.  I found this recipe for Indian style preserved tomatoes on Indian Simmer, a very nice blog.  I made these pickles last month and thought they had a wonderful flavor, but they were oily and terribly salty (which you would sort of need if you kept these pickles around for a year at room temperature).  But after I ate these pickles on everything from toast to rice,  I got to thinking that you could actually very easily tweak this into a dip or chutney. All I really did was to reduce the salt and the oil. Also I added ginger.  So here goes.


2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely processed in the food processor (I used sungold, but any type of tomato will do)

1″ ginger, coarsely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, peeled

6 fresno/serrano peppers  (scale down to anaheims if these are too hot for your taste), coarsely chopped

3 tsp.  panch phoran mix (use 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1  tsp  brown mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds)

2 tbs. oil

6-10 curry leaves (leave out if you don’t have it)

large pinch asafoetida (hing)

salt to taste

1. Whir the peppers, garlic and ginger in the food processor

2. Heat the oil till shimmering.  Add the panch phoran seeds till they start to sputter (overdoing this will cause the Nigella seeds to burn-not a good thing).  Add the hing, the curry leaves, and the garlic paste till you smell a heavenly aroma.  This should take about a min on medium high flame (your are just getting rid of the raw garlic smell)

3.  Add the tomatoes and cook till they release the oil and tomato liquid has evaporated (depending on how high you have the falme this should take 1- 1/2 hours)

4.  Cool, place in a glass or plastic container and store in the fridge.

5.  Eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Posted in Breakfast, Brunch, condiments, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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