I enjoy pickling a bit too much and everyone in the house knows this. I bring home chillies that fill every corner of my kitchen with pungent smells as it ferments making it an unliveable situation, but I don’t care because I’ll probably be making a hot sauce using it or something. Anyway, the idea of making a pear achar came to me one night when I was thinking about what else I could do with a pear because tbh if I have to poach a pear again this year, I will lose it. I like the novelty, but if you’re really into poaching pears, check out my hibiscus poached pears with sumac. It’s pretty and yum. Double win. Also try my poached pear mousse and chocolate cake that is a cinch to make because it uses a good ol’ cake mix for the base layer.
Anyway, so this achaar is inspired by south-Indian recipes and you can see the influence even as you go through the ingredients list. Since the recipe works well for pears, you could also take it for a spin with apples I believe, or guavas, or even fresh dates with their pits removed, though it would be best if you cooked the dates for a few minutes in the vinegar mixture before transferring it to the box to pickle further. I see myself eating this achaar by itself with dal and rice or with rotis and a sabzi on the side. If you, like me, love pickled fruits for their sweet-tart-spicy, crisp and fruity but still so achari, you’re also going to love this recipe that cooks guavas in a similar fashion but with different spices and yoghurt.
Yield 2 cups worth
Making an achaar using fruit like pear sounds like an odd idea at first, but believe me, it’s so good. Use it in roti wraps with pulled meat from the night before and fresh veggies, or just have alongside dal rice, it’s great either way.
Pear 2 cups, chopped (could be a mix of different kinds of pear you find in the market too) Don’t pick up pears that are too soft when pressed, but rather go for the firmer ones.
Vegetable oil 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves 8-9
Ginger 2 tbsp, freshly grated
Garlic 2 tbsp, freshly grated
Green chillies 2, chopped
Red chilli powder 1/4 cup (preferably Kashmiri)
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Vinegar 1/3 cup
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Salt to taste
Set any wide pan over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Almost immediately add the curry leaves, followed by the grated ginger and garlic, then the green chillies.
Give all of this a good stir and cook for a few minutes till the mixture colours a bit.
Add the red chilli powder and turmeric powders and roast the whole mixture over a medium heat stirring all the while. Splash in water bit by bit to make a thick paste. Dilute this paste further with the white vinegar stirring everything as you go cooking the mixture over a medium flame.
Add the coriander powder and the asafoetida, followed by 1/2 tsp of salt. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Tip in the pieces of chopped pear and stir everything together. Transfer to a box and allow it to cool. The pickle will obviously only get better with time so store and taste as you go every few days.