Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turnip pickle- Shaljam ka Achaar

This takes me back to lazy, winter afternoons. My grandmother would prepare this delicious pickle as soon as the air turned crisp and the sunshine softened. Winter was heavenly. With the first breath of dry, brisk, slightly smoky air, we would come out of air-conditioned cocoons and delve into a flurry of social activity to make most of the forgiving weather. This pickle would herald in the season for me and be eaten with every meal until about mid-March, at which point the humid heat would rear it's stifling head again and we would burrow back indoors.

4 large turnips
1/4 cup crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. mustard seeds (rai), crushed
1/2 cup nigella seeds (kalongi)
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup salt

- Slice the turnip into 1/4 inches width
- Add to a full pot of boiling water and parboil
- Remove and allow to cool slightly
- Reserve the liquid and refrigerate
- Spread out on a tray, add all the remaining ingredients and rub well into the slices. 
- Cover with muslin cloth and let marinate overnight
- Next day, transfer all the above to a stoneware pickle jar
- Reheat the reserved liquid and pour into the jar till the turnips are covered
- Check the salt and adjust to taste
- Seal and allow to sit in the sun or a well-lit area for a couple of days till the liquid turns cloudy and opaque (usually 5 days)
- Enjoy with arhar ki daal and plain chawal!

* You can check the liquid again after 3 days and adjust the flavorings according to taste.


  1. the rampuris make the best shaljam ka achaar btw. yes, to be had in winters with kaali daal ki khichri, often at brunch. seriously ziyaada sa asli ghi aur laal ki hui piyaaz ka baghaar to go with the rice.

    may sound like a strange combination, but it has to be tried to be appreciated.

    laikin aik masla yeh hai ke yahan achaar banane ke liye garam dhup kahan se milley gi iss sakht thhand mein.

    i must rry the above though.

  2. Kaali daal ki khichri with browned onions and ghee sounds divine! I assume you use black masoor daal? I will have to make this soon.