Pickling spice or Aachar ka masala
The Achar ka masala is the pickling spice of the north. Made with a combination of eight or more spices it is the DIY kit kept in every home to make an instant pickle. Get the ACHAAR KA MASALA ( North Indian pickling spice mix) right and the perfect pickle follows.
Aachar also called pickle is what adds dimension to Indian food. Every cuisine has a spice combo which is unique and very local ingredient based. The summers the hoses are filled with aromas of all the roasted mustards and chillies to pickle the vegetable or the fruit for the seasons to come.
Aamchur is the north Indian equivalent of Tamarind. It is tangy sweet and sour to taste.
Red chilly powder
I have used the Kashmiri Chilli which gives me the colour I need and not so spicy. You can use a mixture of the spicy chilli powder and Kashmir chilli powder to add the colour and flavour.
Black mustard seeds and Yellow mustard seeds
Black mustard or Yellow mustard is the hero of the dish. This marinated in mustard oil makes its signature as a north Indian pickle.
They look like cumin seeds, which are greener and sweeter in aroma. Also called Souf.
Fenugreek is bitter to taste and nutty flavour, but when mixed with spices, it gives the depth to the dishes which is unmatched.
Carom is a fruit and not a seed of the plant “Ajwain”. Interesting isn’t it. They are greenish brown in colour and have a pungent smell. They look like far cousins of cumin.
Also called ajwain
All salts are just sodium chloride, but why a special salt for pickling you ask? Here is the answer. Salt which does not have any additives like iodine or anti caking agents is the best salt to use for pickling or canning.
Based on this criteria, the free flowing salts are all ruled out because it has the anti-caking agents which makes them free flowing and avoid from lumping. Do not use low sodium salts as a substitute. Sodium is one of the key elements of pickling.
There are salts sold as pickling salts or canning salts which are designed for this purpose. Incase you don’t find them in the shops near you, you need to look for rock salt without iodine which is exactly the same purpose.
Any table salt can be used to pickle, but the iodine in it turns the pickle darker and the brine cloudy and unappetising due to the other additives like anti-caking agents added to it.
Using the Achar masala
This multipurpose Achaar masala mix can be used to make
4.Seasoning curries and more
Other Pickles you might like
Tips for a perfect Aachar ka masala
- Measure. Measure .Measure. Get the proportions right and you are half way through to make the perfect pickle.
- Get a pickling salt. Read the why use a non-iodine, non free flowing salt above.
- Roast the spices till the aroma comes, getting the spices to the right form to grind easily.
- Do not make to a smooth powder. The masala should be a very coarse grind.
Step by step video