Pickling Food has been a method of preserving vegetables, fruits and even various proteins for centuries. These delightful pickles add the perfect flavours of Spices and tang to our rice and curry dishes and is still relished all over the island by the old and young alike.
While most Fruits and vegetables can be pickled accordingly, the pickling spice mix depends on each ones personal preference or on a traditional recipe which has been passed down through generations. The Sinhala Achcharu spice mix is usually a combination of mustard seeds, vinegar and garlic which is boiled well and added to the vegetables. This is not sweet at all but adds that much needed tanginess to your main meal.
Here is a simple recipe for you to follow.
- 15-20 small Onions (pearl or red onions)
- 10-15 small green Chillies (each split into two long halves)
- 2 large Carrots (preferably julienne cut)
- 1 small Turnip (cut into thin triangular shaped pieces)
- 15-20 small Cauliflower florets (optional)
- 2 cups Vinegar (ideally coconut vinegar)
- 1 inch piece Ginger (crushed)
- 6 cloves Garlic (crushed)
- 2 tbsp black ground Mustard seed
- 1 tbsp black ground Pepper
- A pinch of Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- Heat 1 cup vinegar in a saucepan.
- Add Onions and let it simmer for a few minutes so that its slightly translucent.
- Drain the Onions and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Use the same hot vinegar and repeat the same process with the green chillies, carrot and cauliflower and add to the Onions and mix well.
- Add the raw turnip to the bowl and mix it in.
- To the heated vinegar in the saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients along with the remaining cup of vinegar and let it all boil for a few minutes.
- Pour the hot vinegar mix into the vegetables and store it in a glass bottle or jar for a day or two to mature.
Your achcharu is ready to be devoured!