When I used to work at Shoppers Stop Kolkata as the Unit Head HR, I had to take rounds across the store more than often to do several manpower audits. There was one section where I always used to see a deep sense of belongingness, thinking, visualizing and heavy duty cerebral work going on – that was the Mix n Match section. The section where you can pick up the salwars, kurtas and dupattas as per your combination. Spoilt with choices, I often wondered if that section reawakened the little kid in women as it involved DIY as well as a small play while shop feeling.
Many a times I have mentioned this in the blog – that I dream of having a bouquet of pickles at my dinner table. There are certain things which get etched in our minds while growing up and one such was seeing a Mama of mine doing almost a similiar mix n match with his pickles at the dinner table for his dinner. My table is slowly growing up. Some are bought and some are gifted. Fellow blogger Debjani went for a North East tour and got Naga chili pickle which is truly an atom sized dynamo. Tiny sized chilies but power packed performance. Good friend and Home chef Sherry Mehta Malhotra gifted a garlic pickle some days back. A Mango pickle, a green chili pickle (my comfort pickle) are always present as was the lehsun ki chutney, which was home made. I realise now that it is better to be left with no options in life. Yet there will be always be few moments where options pamper you. If I remember correctly, it’s now the second year that the Echorer Achar is a permanent fixture on the dinner table.
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Flashback – If anyone would have told me that I would be seen dangerously close enough to kathal or echor (green jackfruit) – I would have said – over my dead body. Life teaches you the golden words “Never say never” time and again. This echorer achar is one such reason. It has become my go to achar with many of my meals. Echorer achar is home made and then matured in mustard oil for over 2 – 3 days with plenty of green chilies. The strong pungent flavour of mustard oil mixed with green chilies rule the taste with small fleshy chunks of echor comes up as a surprise. Little bit sour in the center, meaty in texture yet quite soft, these are the real stars of this echorer achar.
A collector can never say he has had it all. I won’t say I have had all the achars that I want to mix and match with my food and just like an old flame, I still cannot forget the Chicken achar which we had got from Kathmandu. What’s your favourite achar?
Echorer achar - Green Jackfruit Pickle
This is a recipe from my side of the family. We have been using this recipe to make achar of water chestnut (paniphal or singhara) for years. This is the second year we have substituted the waterchestnut with green jackfruit and it works beautifully. Unlike most pickles where the ingredient is kept raw and then pickled, here the fruit is cut into small chunks and boiled and then made into a pickle.
Recipe Author: Madhushree
Cut the jack fruit into small chunks about an inch by inch. Wash thoroughly under running water and then boil in a sauce pan with a little bit of water. Make sure that the fruit is just a little bit soft and should not over boil. I actually did it in a pressure cooker only till the whistle was about to blow when I turned off the gas.
In the mean while dry roast the coriander seeds and grind it in coarse powder. Do the same for the panch phoron. Basically you just need to pulse the spices or use a mortar and pestle to grind it to a desired consistency. Then use a bit of water to make it into a thick wet paste.
Wash the mustard seeds thoroughly and then keep them soaked for 15 minutes. Then grind the mustard seeds with a little bit of water into a fine paste.
Make a paste of the garlic cloves too. Again, it need not be a fine paste. A little bit of garlic chunks here and there is quite nice.
Once the jackfruit has become a bit soft, drain the water and place the jackfruits in a large strainer or in a muslin cloth which will absorb all the water. You have to make sure that there is not water left in the fruit.
Wash the green chilies also under running water and then using a muslin cloth absorb all the water. Dry the green chilies out completely.
Now we can finally start the cooking process. In a large kadai, which will accomodate all the green chilies, take about a quater of the oil and heat it. When it starts smoking, add the turmeric powder, salt and lower the heat. Add 2 tbsp of the panch phoron and coriander seed paste.
Increase the temperature to medium and cook the spices till the raw smell of the turmeric goes away (in about a minute). Add the green chilies in the same kadai and stir properly so that the chilies are coted with the spices.
Cook for about 2 - 3 minutes and turn off the heat. Take the chilies out and spread them on a large plate and cool them down.
Take a large sauce pan or any vessel to heat the rest of the mustard oil. When the mustard oil has become hot, almost smoking, turn it off and let it cool down completely.
When everything has cooled down, take a vessel large enough to mix all the ingredients.
First take the green jackfruits, then the chilies, then the mustard paste, garlic paste, rest of the spices and finally pour in the oil. Mix them all together nicely without mushing the jackfruits. Wear gloves if you want to and then use your hands to do this bit for a proper mixing.
Once everything has been thoroughly mixed, put them in glass or ceramic jars and cover with a muslin cloth and keep in the sun for a couple of days.
Since the green jackfruit is already cooked, it is not needed to mature for more number of days. Also, you need to check after a day if the jackfruit has soaked up all the oil or not. If so, then heat some more mustard oil, cool it down and pour it over the achar.
Echorer achar is ready to eat.
Note: This achar is quite spicy. It actualy depends on the spice factor of the green chilies used. If you want you can reduce the amount of green chilies. Over time, the spice level increases. Also the amount of salt given is just right but if someone feels can use more if required but in the oil while heating the oil.