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Tag Archives: achari

Achari Mushrooms (White Button Mushrooms sautéed with aromatics and Achari spice blend)

Now, there are tons of recipes floating on the cyber culinary world with the pre-fix ‘achari’. For those who aren’t aware, achari or achar refers to pickle in Hindi. The Indian pickles, unlike the Western counterparts, are an indulgence of spices and these very spices are used to flavour other dishes too, which have ended up being labeled ‘achari’.

You might have read the ‘achari okra’ recipe that I had posted on the blog a while ago. In that dish, I used a spoonful of the pickle itself to add flavour to the okras. But in today’s dish, achari mushrooms, I made the achari spice blend and this was used to add flavour to the white button mushrooms.

The achari spice blend is a flavourful and fragrant medley of mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, carrom, dry chillies, dry mango and nigella (the seeds, not the diva!)

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It is an extremely versatile blend that can be used for flavouring barbecues, meat skewers etc…apart from of course, Indian dishes. Do take the effort to make the spice blend from scratch, it’s not a difficult one and you can store the extra in an airtight container for a few weeks.

I used mushrooms only because I found some great ones at the market but you can use just about any vegetable or meat for this one. I have tried it with chicken and the result was delicious.

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Achari mushrooms would make a great starter. The fragrant and delicious spice blend flirts with the onions, aromatics and tomatoes to coat the mushrooms lovingly in a flavourful thick sauce. A squirt of lemon, the freshness of chopped coriander and a pinch of dry fenugreek leaves, all add to the delicious drama unfolding….

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Adapted from a similar dish by Meera Jayaram.

Ingredients:

Achari spice blend:

1. 2 tbsp mustard seeds
2. 2 tbsp cumin seeds
3. 2 tbsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4. 2 tbsp fennel seeds
5. 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
6. 1 tsp carrom seeds (ajwain)
7. 75 gms dry red chilli
8. 2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)

For the dish:

9. 500gms white button mushrooms; washed, dried and halved
10. 3 tbsp mustard oil
11. 1 red onion, chopped finely
12. 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
13. 1 inch ginger, chopped finely
14. 1 large red tomato, blanched and pureed
15. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
16. 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
17. 1 tsp achari spice blend
18. ¼ tsp dry fenugreek leaves
19. Salt, to season
20. juice of ½ lemon
21. ½ cup chopped coriander leaves

Method:

• Dry roast all the spices except the red chillies and dry mango powder. Keep aside to cool. Roast the chillies separately taking care not to burn it. Cool and grind all the spices together. Mix in the dry mango powder and you have the achari spice blend.
• In a pan, heat oil and sauté the chopped onions. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
• Meanwhile blanch and puree one tomato.
• To the onions, add turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and achari spice blend. Saute on low flame for a minute and add the tomato puree. Continue to cook on low flame till the puree thickens and the gravy comes together.
• Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes on high heat; season with salt. The mushrooms release a bit of water which helps to bring the dish together. Taste at this stage and adjust seasoning accordingly. Do not cook the mushrooms for too long; it should still have a bit to it when finished.
• Take off flame and add the fenugreek leaves, lemon and coriander leaves.
• Serve hot.

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Achari Lamb Chops (Lamb Cutlets slow cooked with Pickling Spices)

Do you believe in New Year Resolutions? Well, I do not – not because I do not stick by the resolution I made but because I think if you have decided to change anything about your life, then you need not wait till New Year to make that change.

The big lesson that I learnt in 2013 is ‘I am simply not capable of changing all things around me.’ It is not that I didn’t know this before but once in a while, something happens to ensure that you remember this. And the serenity prayer has suddenly once again made me a little more humble and forgiving.

For those who do not know the serenity prayer, it goes like this;

‘Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference!’

And this is going to be my main focus in the coming year too…..

Getting to the recipe, my first impression was that this must be a Punjabi dish simple because I found it in a Punjabi magazine and had the prefix ‘achari’ which can be loosely translated as pickled and spicy. But when I scanned through the list of ingredients, I found that the recipe called for the use of mustard oil, something very Bengali in my opinion.

Just my lack of knowledge of regional Indian cuisine as I learnt that mustard oil is used in regional cooking in many different parts of India and not just restricted to West Bengal.

Achari Lamb Chops (Lamb Cutlets slow cooked with Pickling Spices) - thespiceadventuress.com

I was a little apprehensive if the mustard oil flavour would overtake the dish but that did not happen. Kalonji/Nigella seeds lends a unique flavour to these slow cooked lamb chops but if you can’t get your hands on it, then substitute with onion powder.

This recipe works well with mutton/goat curry pieces and also equally well with lamb leg/shoulder. But I decided to use lamb chops/cutlets as I love the texture and flavour of this particular cut of meat.

So let’s get cooking Achari Lamb Chops – a delicious, rich and flavourful curry best paired with good quality sour dough bread or Indian style flat breads.

Achari Lamb Chops (Lamb Cutlets slow cooked with Pickling Spices) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. Lamb cutlets – 1 kg
  2. Red onion – 3 medium, finely chopped
  3. Ripe red tomato – 4 medium, finely chopped
  4. Ginger paste – 1 ½ tbsp
  5. Garlic paste – 1 ½ tbsp
  6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  7. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  8. Nigella seeds/kalonji – ½ tsp
  9. Cloves – 5
  10. Fennel seeds/saunf – 1 tsp
  11. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  12. Whole dry red chilli – 6-8 (depending on heat preferences)
  13. Coriander leaves – ½ cup, chopped
  14. Mustard oil – ½ cup
  15. Salt – to season

Method:

  • Roast mustard seeds, cloves, fennel seeds and whole dry red chillies. Grind to a fine powder and add turmeric powder, nigella seeds and red chilli powder to make the spice blend for the dish.
  • Heat half of the mustard oil in a kadai/deep bottom pan and sauté ginger-garlic paste. Add the ground spice blend and sauté for a minute on low heat.
  • Add the lamb cutlets, mix well and brown for 5 minutes. Remove the cutlets and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and add chopped onions and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté again till the tomatoes completely break down and turn mushy; oil starts clearing at the sides of the caramelized onion tomato mixture.
  • Return the lamb cutlets to the pan and add enough water to cook the lamb.
  • Season with salt.
  • Cook for 5 minutes on high heat and then slow cook till the lamb/mutton is soft and tender.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.

Achari Lamb Chops (Lamb Cutlets slow cooked with Pickling Spices) - thespiceadventuress.com

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