Aloo Achari/ Potatoes Sauteed in Pickle

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Have you ever watched that scene from Dhanni Meye, an old Black and White Bengali movie starring Jaya Bachchan, then Bhaduri. In the middle of the hot and humid afternoon, this young bride with all her zeal to steal pickles climbs up the asbestos roof and picks up her favorite mango pickle from the jar, set in the sun for sterilizing. On seeing this, her mother-in-law shouts at her, but the young girl continues eating the pickle unaware of anything going around her.

This might have been just a scene from some almost forgotten Bengali movie, but I’m sure almost everybody has tried stealing pickle from the jar. Raw mango, lemon, mixed vegetable and the count goes on for the number of pickles you can get in the market. My grandmom always liked preparing her pickle rather than buying from some grocery store. Now, when I am thousands of miles away from home my exposures to pickles are limited to “Mother’s” or the “Homemade” brands.

Pickles had always been a compliment to go along with dal and fries  or even with saag bhaja. Other than enhancing the taste, pickles are nutritionally beneficial as they contain high amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a very good antioxidant and are also high in iron, potassium and manganese. It is also considered as a good source of dietary fibers.

Suchismita, our guest for today has sent us a tasty and tangy recipe of achari alu – alu sautéed in achar/ pickle. If you are a potato hater, then you can replace it with paneer/ cottage cheese.

Suchismita, was born and brought up in Kolkata. Now, she has shifted to USA. Her passion for food and photography has made her to take the toll and explore the various combinations of ingredients. If you are in US or UK and searching for that taste in achar, then try out the various pickles in Amazon , they are pretty good or even the nearby Indian store. Check for another guest post (oler kofta) from Suchismita.

Serves 4


  • 4 large potatoes cut to bite size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji/ kalo jeera
  • 2-3 dry chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of pickle of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  • Boil the potatoes till half done, peel off and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and toss the potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Throw in nigella, dry chilies, cumin
  • As the spices start sputtering add the chopped onion and sauté till the onions turn pinkish in color
  • Drop in the potatoes along with pickle
  • Pour in the vinegar as you can smell the aroma of the pickle and spices coming out
  • Add sugar and pour in little water to let the potatoes take in the spices
  • Cook covered till the potatoes get soft


Hot Tips – If you are replacing paneer with potatoes then cut the paneer in 1” cubes, slightly fry the pieces and drop them in salted warm water so that the paneer gets soft and the salt gets inside the paneer cubes. You can also try it with baby potatoes.


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Ful Kopir Achar – Cauliflower Pickle

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Grandma’s Secret

Winter has left Kolkata, fans are on all day long. But, there are some left out winter vegetables in the market, being sold at quite a low price. My Didu (maternal grandmother) used to buy a good number of cauliflowers from the market during this time of the year, cut those into small florets, treated with salt and some other spices (which I can’t remember now) and dry them up in the sun.

These cauliflowers remained intact for more than 3-4months, retaining the same color and texture. Those days have gone passed a long time back; you can get any kind of vegetable at any time of the year. Though my mom insists that seasonal vegetables should be had at that particular season, leaving out the good exception of potato, though harvested in winter its eaten all year round. [Potatoes and Bengali cuisine are closely related; there are so many authentic bengali recipes that feature potato that it seems there had been a marriage between these two].

Steal the Pickle (Achar churi)

Remember the jars of pickles lined up on the roof, a little hands approaching to steal a handful? And there came the bigger hand in between the little hand and the jar of tangy pickle. The fear coated adventure of stealing pickle in the summer afternoon is one of the best memories I have of my childhood. Mom never allowed to have pickles and so stealing and having pickles had an extra feeling of happiness, if not I got caught.

Love thy Neighbor

Coming back to cauliflowers, my neighbor knocked the door this morning with a plate full of lovely looking cauliflowers. When asked she said that it’s the cauliflower pickle she made. It looked so lovely and I just couldn’t resist but pick up a small floret and put it straight into my mouth. I have never tasted such an awesome pickle.

I asked for the recipe and she was kind enough to share the recipe of Cauliflower Pickle (Gobi Achar, in Hindi). And, I thought of sharing this bengali pickle recipe with you. Prepare it and let me know how you fared.

Ingredients of Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Cauliflower (Ful kopi): 1 big size, cut into small florets
  • Potato (Alu); 2 medium size, cut into small pieces to complement the cauliflower florets
  • Green peas (Mator shuti): ½ cup
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 8-10
  • Raw tamarind pulp (Kancha tetul bata): 2 tablespoon
  • Mustard paste (Sarse bata): ½ cup
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): ½ cup
  • Asafoetida (Hing): ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Steam the cauliflower florets, potatoes and green peas together, and drain out any excess water
  • Bring the steamed vegetables to normal temperature
  • Mix all the ingredients to the vegetables and pour in the oil
  • Store in glass container and keep under sun for 2-3 days before the first use

The cauliflower pickle tastes good with warm rice.

Hot Tips – Always use a dry spoon to take out pickle from the jar. The cauliflower pickle can be stored for more than a month.

Further Reading – Andhra Style Cauliflower Pickle, Cauliflower Pickle with onion

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