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.
- 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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