Achari mix veg is an aromatic and lip-smacking curry, which acquires its flavor from a mixture of seeds and spices used in the making of Indian pickle (achar). The curry preparation is quick and straightforward to the extent that it qualifies as easy, everyday cooking recipes.
Achari mix veg contains pickling (nothing to do with pickles here in the US) spices that add tangy and spicy flavor to the curry. It pairs very well with wheat roti and naan.
- 2 and a half cups cauliflower florets.
- 1 cup potato cubes.
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas.
- 3/4th cup chopped colored bell peppers, as shown in picture #1.
(If you don’t have colored bell peppers, use green bell peppers and add some carrots. Sometimes I skip red & yellow peppers and add french beans, green peas & carrots for the variation, as shown in picture #3. Reduce the quantity of cauliflower to 2 cups and replace it with 1/2 cup of chopped beans, carrots, and peas.)
- One large tomato.
- One large onion.
(Finely chop onion and tomato, as shown in picture #1.)
- 2 tsp crushed garlic.
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger.
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
- 1/2 tsp cilantro powder (coriander powder.)
- 1 tsp mango pickle masala.
(I used Bedekar brand’s mango pickle masala. Pickle masala is available in almost all Indian grocery stores.)
- 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder.
- 1/2 tsp garam masala.
- A pinch of asafoetida.
- 3 tsp pickle oil and masala.
(I scooped in pickle oil and its masala from my homemade mango pickle. If mango pickle is not available, use 1 tsp ‘Aamchur,’ aka, dry mango powder.)
- 1/4th tsp mustard seeds.
- 3 tsp oil.
(If mango pickle is not available and you’re using ‘Aamchur’ powder, use 1 tbsp oil for cooking.)
- Cilantro for garnishing.
- Salt as per your taste.
(Note: Store-bought pickles are high in sodium. Adjust salt accordingly.)
- Blanch cauliflower and potatoes. Take a microwave-safe bowl, add water, and cauliflower florets to it. Heat it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Drain water and keep the florets aside. Similarly, blanch potatoes for 2 minutes in the microwave, drain water, and keep them aside. If using beans and carrots, I also microwave them for one and a half minutes in water. Alternatively, you can cook all vegetables in a wok and increase the cooking time accordingly.
(I prefer to discard the water used for blanching potatoes to reduce the potassium & starch. In the cauliflower, it tames down the vegetable’s overpowering smell in the curry.)
- Heat oil in a wok, add mustard seeds once the oil is hot.
- Next, add asafoetida and ginger-garlic paste once mustard seeds start spluttering. Sauté for a half minute in the oil and add remaining spices followed by finely chopped onion. Sprinkle some salt.
(Salt brings moisture out of onions and helps them cook faster.)
- Sauté onion for a couple of minutes, add peas, tomatoes, and cook the onion-tomato mixture until it gets pulpy.
- Now add blanched cauliflower florets and potato cubes in the wok. Pour a cup of water, as shown in picture #2.
- Cover the wok with a lid and cook for 6-8 minutes on a medium to high flame; keep stirring occasionally.
- Ensure that cauliflower and potatoes are not overcooked.
- Next, add chopped colored bell peppers, add salt to the curry, and then add scooped pickle oil and masala in it, as shown in picture #3. Please give it a good stir, cover the wok with a lid, and cook the curry for another 4-5 minutes on medium heat. (Note: We add bells peppers at the end as peppers don’t take too long to cook. We want to ensure that the crunchy (yet cooked) taste is maintained rather than a mushy curry.)
- I prefer to keep the minimal water content in the curry; you can adjust the consistency as per your preference by adding some more water.
- Turn off the heat, garnish the curry with cilantro leaves, and serve hot.
- I paired the preparation with Bhathua green leaves curry and multi-grain roti, as shown in picture #4. It’s a delicious combination. Bhathua leaves curry recipe is available here.
You can also add french beans and carrot to this preparation, as shown in picture #3. Achari mix veg pairs with steamed white rice and dal tadka too.