When I had posted dal khichdi sometime back I had quoted a popular saying from Bihar; khichdi ke chaar yaar. Dahi, papad, ghee, achaar!
I should have been more specific. When I said achaar I did not mean just any, but “Mirchi ka Achaar” more specifically “the” mirchi ka achaar that I had tasted long back at V & A’s place, and the one that I am sharing with all of you today. Again, this is not something I made – I am afraid I really have a long long way to go before I make this one.
I have once before expressed my weakness for V’s mirchi ka achaar. She gave me a generous batch two years back around this time, and I remember how the infectious taste caught on among my office mates. Most of them pressed me to get them a batch too but it was too late as the chillies were no longer available. The result – V and her family started it as a business venture last year.
V called me a couple of weeks back to ask whether I would like a jar of my favourite pickle. Apparently A’s mom is here for good, and did not mind sharing her recipe at all. Get ready to get mesmerised by this age old and traditional method of pickling straight from the veteran’s hand.
The variety of red chillies required for making this pickle are the firm (not aged) ripe red ones available from January to March in India.
You will experience a burning sensation in your hands after the pickling that will remain for at least 3 to 4 days. If needed use latex gloves.
The pickle tastes best when consumed within a year.
Recipe: Bhara lal mirch ka achaar | Whole stuffed red chilli pickle | Bihari style
Lal Mirchi | Big fresh red chillies – 3Kgs.
Ajwain | Carom seeds – 100g
Jeera | Cumin seeds – 100g
Saunf | Fennel seeds – 100g
Akkha sookkha lal mirch | Whole dried red chillies – 100g
Methi | Fenugreek seeds – 100g
Kalaunji | Nigella seedsI – 50g
Hing powder | Powdered asafoetida – 100g
Namak | Salt – 200g
Kala namak | Black salt – 100g
Amchur | Dry mango powder – 150g
Mustard oil – 1l
Synthetic white vinegar – 200ml
Wash the fresh red chillies and dry it in direct sun light for some time. Remove the head & deseed all the chillies. Keep the seeds aside.
Heat the kadhai / pan slightly & roast each ingredient listed under ‘B’ separately till each ingredient turns aromatic.
Grind the roasted ingredients (except the kalaunji) in a spice grinder to a fine powder.
Next grind the seeds of the chillies that had been set aside earlier.
Mix both the ground mixtures together adding kalaunji, and mix with ingredients under D well till uniformly mixed. Warning – this can lead to severe burning sensation in your hands so rub a little oil before proceeding or use latex gloves.
Pour some oil and hing in the end. The oil should be enough to help you gather the mixture. Let the mixture sun well for a day or two in good direct sunlight.
After sunning the mixture is ready to be filled into the hollow chillies. You may keep the chillies full or cut them into 3 or 4 pieces according to the size & fill the masala in the pieces.
Pour the remaining oil & bottle the pickle in clean, dry and sterilised jars. The jars must be kept in hot direct sunrays for at least 3-4 days.
The pickle will then be ready for consumption.
Our reaction after one lick – “Uff uff mirchi, hai hai mirchi, uff uff mirchi……”
This mouthwatering pickle can be served with parathas or khichdi.
I just press out the masala and mix it up with some plain hot steamed rice and have it with chips on the side. Lip-smacking!
Words and Meanings in this post:
Achaar – pickle
Khichdi – A semi-solid gruel made of rice and dal
“Khichdi ke chaar yaar – dahi, papad, ghee, achaar” –
“Khichdi is tasty when had with four friends – Yogurt, Fryums, Clarified butter and Pickle”
“Uff uff mirchi, hai hai mirchi, uff uff mirchi……” – A famous song from the movie “Biwi No.1”
Dahi – thick plain fresh yogurt
Ghee – clarified butter
Bihar – a State in India famous for food and local politics
Mirchi – firm red ripe variety of red chillies.