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 What are the basic ingredients for Achaars?

  Last Updated : Oct 26,2018

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What are the basic ingredients for Achars and Murrabas? 

Everything that you need for pickle making can be found in your local shop and around your own kitchen. Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables. Follow the recipes correctly, using nothing more complicated by way of equipment than a non-corrosive pan and a stainless steel ladle for mixing.

a. Fresh fruits and vegetables : Although pickles and murabbas are an excellent way to make use of seasonal produce, they should never be regarded as a way of salvaging mouldy or rotten fruits and vegetables. The ingredients used should always be of the best possible quality. Even a bad piece of fruit or vegetable included in the pickle can cause it to deteriorate.

b. Oil : Oil, when used in pickles, acts as a preservative. It forms a top covering layer which prevents the micro-organisms in the air from coming into contact with the food i.e. the pickled ingredient. So always ensure that the oil forms a covering layer on the surface of the pickle to prevent spoilage.

Mustard oil is popularly used in all parts of Northern and many parts of western India. Gingelly or sesame (til) oil is used for South Indian pickles. Mustard oil or “sarson ka tel “ as its known, gives pickles their characteristic taste and flavour. You can use any oil you prefer, but I would strongly suggest that you can use the oil specified in the recipe.

Refined oil is used for most instant pickle recipes.

c. Vinegar : The use of adequate vinegar ensures an acidic medium. This is not favourable for the growth of micro-organisms which cause the food to spoil or “go off”. Vinegar is a sharp tasting liquid containing dilute acetic acid (at least 5% to 7%). All bottled vinegars meet this requirement and are suitable for pickling.

d. Salt : As part of the pickling process, vegetables are salted either by sprinkling with salt or immersed in brine (salt water solution). Salting draws water out of the vegetables and thus prevents water from being available for bacterial growth.

Salting also slightly toughens the vegetables, which helps to retain their crisp texture as in the recipe of crunchy vegetable pickle, page….

Any non-iodized salt is suitable for pickling. Avoid iodized table salt, which may darken the colours of some fruits and vegetables. Coarse sea salt is particularly suitable. It is usually dried on a pan to remove any excess moisture and then powdered, except for wet brine pickles where it can be used just as it is.

e. Sugar : Sugar acts both as a flavourer and a preservative. Granulated sugar is suited for most recipes, unless specified otherwise.


1. Place the sugar in a clean heavy bottomed pan. Use good quality sugar and the specified quantities of water.

2. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat while stirring continuously.

3. Allow the syrup along with the fruits to thicken slightly until coats the back of a spoon and trickles down in a thick stream. All this stage, touch it with your index finger and press it between your thumb and index finger. On parting, one small string should form. This is syrup of 1 string consistency. This syrup consistency is used when raw fruits are cooked entirely in sugar syrup e.g. sweet and sour mango chutney, page… or pineapple and sultana chutney, page…

4. To make syrup of 2 or 3 string consistency, simmer the syrup for a little longer and on repeating the same test, you should be able to obtain a stronger thread that is also longer than that of the one string consistency. On cooling slightly, you can obtain 2 to 3 threads that stay firm for longer. This is used when steamed or cooked fruits are added to sugar syrup. The sugar syrup is cooked upto 2 to 3 string consistency as on cooling, the fruits leach out water, thus diluting the syrup e.g. kesar elaichi mango murabba, page…

f. Spices: Most pickles, chutneys and murabbas are flavoured with spices. Spices produce toxic effects on micro organisms and thus in certain cases act as a preservative. Split mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, asafoetida, chilli powder and turmeric are pickling spices that help in preservation in spicy pickles apart from flavouring when used in correct proportions. Whole cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, garlic, ginger etc. are used for flavouring sweet preserves or murabbas.

Spices, whether whole or ground, should always be fresh otherwise there is a tendency for them to taste stale or musty. It is a good idea to buy them in small quantities or store them refrigerated.

what are the basic ingredients for achaars

 by Tarla Dalal
It is one of the easiest and most economical pickles to make. Use carrots, which are fresh, firm and without blemish. Wash them thoroughly and wipe them with a clean cloth before use. Traces of water will make the pickle rancid. With a beautiful bright red colour, this pickle goes very well will rotis or parathas . It is best eaten the day it is made. But it must be kept in the refrigerator to make it last for 4 days.
A delectable mango pickle that is ready within minutes. Slice the raw mangoes into thin long strips or alternatively, grate the mangoes thickly. I have used mustard oil for this recipe but you can substitute it with refined oil, if you like
 by Tarla Dalal
An instant version of the popular North Indian mixed vegetable pickle. This pickle is often served as a side dish. A delectable combination of fresh winter vegetables, raw mangoes and an enticing blend of spices and seasonings, sweetened with jaggery. This pickle can be stored refrigerated for upto one week. Serve this recipe with hot phudina naans.
 by Tarla Dalal
This is a quick and easy sweet lemon pickle that is ready within minutes as compared to the traditional recipe which takes 20 days to prepare. Whole lemons are pressure cooked with water till the lemon skins are soft. Try and cut the lemons in the mixing bowl in which the pickle is to be combined with sugar, so that the juices of the cooked lemons are not lost (this liquid helps to dissolve the sugar). I have used castor sugar or fine crystals of sugar so that it gets dissolved quickly to make syrup for this pickle. When this pickle is just prepared, the lemon skins will have a slight bitter aftertaste which disappears once the pickle has mellowed for a day. This pickle will last for upto 3 months, when stored refrigerated.
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Lemon pickle is one of the best pickles ever produced. Its hotness and sharpness complements most Indian recipes. This simple recipe is devised for all those who love lemon pickles, but do not have the patience to wait till the pickle matures in the sun. It is quick, completely oil-free and absolutely traditional in taste. Pressure cooked lemons combined with salt, chilli and asafoetida make this Spicy Lemon Pickle. Pressure cook the lemons till they are soft and the skin gives way under the pressure of your thumb. Store it refrigerated for upto one week.
 by Tarla Dalal
This is a very simple recipe, which goes well with most parathas and vegetables . You can make it spicier if you like, by adding some more chilli powder. I have used Rajapuri mangoes which are a large variety of raw mangoes and extensively used for mango pickles. But you can use any variety of raw mangoes, if they are not available.
 by Tarla Dalal
Jaggery is referred to as "gol" and mangoes are known as "keri" in Gujarat. In the past, this pickle entailed a lengthy process as salt and turmeric powder (haldi) was applied to the raw mangoes and filled in jars for 2 to 3 days after which the mangoes were sun-dried for 5 to 6 hours. As the name suggests, this recipe is a quicker version of the traditional Gujarati pickle. I have found my own shortcut for this recipe without sacrificing its flavour. Now there is no need to sit and wait for the mangoes to dry in the sun. Just follow this easy to prepare recipe. Golkeri is an ideal accompaniment for muthias.
A brilliant pickle that causes a burst of sweet and tangy flavours on your palate, the Nimboo ka Achaar is an all-time favourite, with fans spanning across generations! The preparation of this No Oil Lemon Pickle needs a bit of tact, but is not difficult if you follow these instructions properly. It is important to toss the lemons every day during the seven-day maturing period to avoid fungal growth. During this period, you must also take care to store the Sweet Lemon Pickle in a cool place away from heat, but not in the fridge. Later, when cooking the lemon-salt mixture with sugar, it is very important to follow the exact method paying special attention to the flame level and cooking time. A timer will be handy! Once done, this pickle stays good for almost an year when stored in dry airtight containers. The colour of the pickle might change over time, but not to worry, the pickle will taste as fabulous as ever. Ideal to serve with Indian breads like Parathas , Rotis , Puris , Naan and Kulchas .
 by Tarla Dalal
Sweet mango pickles are very special. The mangoes chosen for this pickle should be firm and under ripe. They are peeled, cut into thin slices and simmered in sugar syrup with garlic, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns, spiked with chilli powder and fennel seeds. The mango flesh softens but stays intact and blends easily with the sugar and spices without losing its original flavour. You can use any variety of raw mangoes, if the Rajapuri variety is not available. This pickle will complement the kashmiri rotis to perfection. Stored refrigerated, this should last you for upto one year.
 by Tarla Dalal
Grated amla murabba or "amla ke chheel ka murabba" as its known, is a sweet amla preserve flavoured with saffron and cardamom. When buying amlas, look for fruits that are green and have a bright, smooth and unblemished skin. The fruit tastes acidic and leaves the teeth tingling if bitten into. This recipe will make a small quantity of murabba. You can multiply the quantities if you wish to make more. Enjoy this preserve with hot parathas and a spicy vegetable.
 by Tarla Dalal
This murabba is a preserve of raw mangoes in a thick sugar syrup which is flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saffron which is the aristocrat of all spices, provides a rich golden colour to the murabba. Enjoy this murabba with stuffed rotis, khakhras or a spicy vegetable.
 by Tarla Dalal
This pickle is an old traditional favourite of Gujarat and is of enormous popularity amongst all Gujaratis. Gunda is a kind of a berry and since it is available only from March to June, it is bought in bulk quantities to be made into a pickle. Gundas have to be destalked and cleaned well from the insides because their seeds are surrounded by a sticky substance which has to be removed before stuffing. Gundas are stuffed with spiced mixture of pickling spices, grated mangoes and mustard oil. It is very essential that the gundas are completely immersed in pickle oil to preserve them for a long time.
No reviews
Come summer, it’s time to stock up on pickles! So, don’t lose this opportunity to add a jar of tongue-tickling Methia Keri to your larder. Made of raw mango and a special, freshly-mixed masala, this is one pickle that will jazz up any meal. However, never be in a hurry when preparing this pickle. Take time to complete each step properly. Ensure that the keri is dried properly in the sunlight or under the fan, or else it will become soft too soon after the pickle is prepared, and its shelf life will also reduce. Likewise, make sure you keep the pickle in an airtight container at room temperature for two days, to allow the keri to soak in the oil and masalas, before you store it in the refrigerator. This traditional method is sure to yield you the best pickle ever! This popular Gujarati pickle can be served as accompaniment to all Indian main course recipes. It also tastes great with khakhras , theplas and parathas .
 by Tarla Dalal
Garlic is often added in small quantities to chutneys and pickles as part of their flavouring, but as in this recipe, it can also be the main ingredient of a hot and sweet garlic pickle. The sweetness is provided by jaggery. The garlic pods can be cooked as in this recipe or matured in the sun. The aroma of garlic is unmistakable and pungent. Oil your hands before you peel garlic to prevent your fingers from getting discoloured and having a lingering garlic aroma throughout the day. Soaking garlic cloves in hot water makes it easier to peel them. This pickle is ready to serve after about a week and it stays well for upto 3 months. I have made a small quantity of this recipe, but you can multiply the quantities to make more if you like. Storage upto 3 months: In a cool dry place.
 by Tarla Dalal
Methambo is one of the best known pickles. Gujaratis are great consumers of all sorts of sweet and spicy pickles, with methambo being one of their favourites. Mustard seeds and round red chillies are first added to the oil, then the mango pieces dressed with turmeric powder and salt are sautéed till tender, after which jaggery is added and cooked till it has dissolved. After the methambo has cooled down completely, it is spiced with chilli powder. Methambo is very similar to golkeri, but the only difference is that methambo is tempered with whole spices whereas golkeri is not. It is an excellent accompaniment for almost all meals.
No reviews
 by Tarla Dalal
Peaches have long been a favourite pickle ingredient. For pickling, use peaches that are just ripe so that they will remain firm and retain their shape when simmered in sugar syrup. You can peel the fruit or use it along with the skin. This fruity pickle is interestingly spiced with cinnamon and cloves. A little salt is added to most sweet pickles to enhance the sweetness of the pickle. It can be eaten the day it is made or can be refrigerated and stored for upto 1 month. Aam ki Launji , Amla Murabba , Angoor ka Murabba , Grated Amla Murabba and Kesar Elaichi Mango Murabba are some more fruity pickles which go well as an accompaniment to the main course.
 by Tarla Dalal
An invaluable winter preserve. Amlas (Indian gooseberries) are a major ingredient in several herbal tonics as they are reputed to be good for the liver, eyes and stomach. Amlas are the richest known source of vitamin C. Amlas are abundantly available during the winter months. I actually buy a large quantity of this fruit each year to make murabbas. Whole amlas simmered in a cardamom and saffron flavoured syrup is one of my personal favourites. There are several traditional recipes for making this murabba. Some soak the amlas in alum (phitkari) overnight whilst others sun-dry amlas. I find it easiest to cook the amlas in boiling water to get rid of all its bitter juices. The entire process takes about 2 to 3 days. First the amlas are simmered in a thin sugar syrup and left aside for 2 days during which the amlas slowly and gradually soak in the syrup. On the third day, the syrup is boiled again along with the flavouring to a thick honey like consistency and the amlas are added. The thick syrup helps in the preservation of the murabba and also complements the sharp and acidic amla taste. When preserved for a long period of time, the syrup of the murabba turns to a dark brown to an almost black colour and takes in all the goodness of the amlas. I am sure you will enjoy this recipe as much I have enjoyed making it for you.
Mango chunda is a preserve that is common to all Gujarati households. The traditional preparation of chunda is time consuming, the heat of sun being used to dissolve the sugar till the pickle reaches a clear syrupy consistency and the mango shreds are translucent. This is a quick version of this very popular recipe that tastes superb and is surprisingly easy to prepare. The secret of making a perfect chunda is the one string consistency which is very important. This simple recipe will help you stock up a year's supply of mango chunda. Chunda is popularly served with plain theplas or methi theplas , but you can also enjoy with rotis, puris and parathas .
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What are the basic ingredients for Achaars?
 on 12 Sep 17 09:19 PM

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Tarla Dalal    Glad you liked the achar article.
15 Sep 17 02:06 PM