Gajar Mewa Nu Achar
Here I share a traditional Parsi Food recipe at least over 150 years old from my family archives. It has been tried and tested many times over, each time to excellent results. Adding the best dry fruit available is the only variation in this time tested recipe.
Often referred to lagan (wedding) nu achar by the Parsis of India, it is served with most Parsi Food Feasts; particularly at all weddings and navjotes.
The pickle is a wonderful blend of the holy trinity of Parsi Cooking. The Tikhu~Khatu-Mithu; spicy with the chillies and spices, sour with vinegar and sweet with the addition of jaggery and dry fruits. The finer the balance, the more flavourful it is.
|Small dry figs, dates carrots and a wonderful gajar mewa nu achar.|
Makes 3 1/2 kg/ 7.7 lb
11/2 kg jaggery
5 cups fruit vinegar
3 kg peeled and grated carrots
2 whole pods of sliced fresh garlic
5 tablespoon red chillie powder
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole black peppers
500 gm dry fruits figs, apricots, dates in large pieces
In a very large pot boil together the jaggery and vinegar. Once all the jaggery has melted strain it through a sieve. Return it to the pot.
Add the carrots, garlic, salt, chillie powder and whole cloves and black pepper. Cover the pot, lower the flame and allow it to gently cook. Mix it every 30 minutes for 1 hour. Add the dry fruit and continue to cook for another hour. Keep stirring every 20- 30 minute until the achar becomes sticky and comes together. Bottle in sterile mason jars which have tight vacuum lids.
While the carrots will wither and look smaller once cooked, it is important to pick a thin grater to begin with. Not fine and wispy like hair but something just slightly firmer.
Keep the jars washed and dried; ready to bottle.
While you can bottle the pickle while warm/hot, allow it too cool in the bottle without covering it. Once completely cool seal them tight. There should be no 'sweating' as this can ruin the life of the pickle.
Refrigerate the pickle for up to a year.
The red chillie powder differs in its heat and will make it less or more spicy.
While it is meant to be spicy it is not meant to be overpowering the sweet or sour. Remember that fine balance.
For more recipes, origins and history from the Parsi Food repertoire click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.