Regular readers of this blog would already know that Mustard originated in the Himalayan foothills more than 4,000 years ago. There’s another exotic plant with powerful medicinal and nutritional properties that also grew in the same region. This plant was known as Moringa… the drumstick plant. Just like Mustard Oil, Moringa too has antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. So when you combine Moringa and Mustard Oil to make Achaar, you have one of the healthiest pickles you can find. The pickle is made using the pods of the drumstick.
The ingredients that you will need for your Moringa Achaar are:
Drumstick Pods (Moringa): 300 grams
Mustard Oil: 500 millilitres
Mustard Seeds (Rai): 2 tablespoon
Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida (Heeng): 1 teaspoon
Fennel (Saunf) Powder: 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 teaspoon
Black Pepper Powder: 1 teaspoon
Salt: 2 tablespoon
Wash and dry the drumsticks. Next, cut them into small one-inch pieces. Place the pieces in a bowl and add a tablespoon of salt. Cover the bowl and keep aside for three days. Every day remove the cover and use a spoon to mix the drumstick pieces and the salt thoroughly.
Wash and sterilize a glass or porcelain pickling jar and wipe it dry. Let it dry completely. Ensure that there are no droplets of residual moisture.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame, till it reaches its smoking point. Turn the heat off and let the oil cool down to room temperature.
Take a bit of the Mustard Oil (just a tablespoon should be enough) in a frying pan and lightly sauté the mustard seeds till they begin to splutter. Turn the flame off and keep aside.
Place the salted drumstick pieces in a bowl and add the sautéed mustard seeds, asafoetida, fennel powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder and the remaining salt. Add the vinegar and mix thoroughly.
Transfer the contents of the bowl into the large pickling jar that you had sterilized and dried earlier. Pour in the Mustard Oil till it completely submerges the drumstick pieces. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean dry muslin cloth and tied the neck with a cord. Put the jar out in the sun; ideally this should be a terrace, balcony or any other space where the jar will be exposed to sunshine for a prolonged amount of time throughout the day.
Bring the jar indoors once the sun sets. This is to prevent moisture from setting into your pickle during the night. Put it out again the next day when the summer heat and sunshine are out in all their blazing glory. Repeat this process for around seven days; this pickle matures faster than mangoes or lemons because of the texture of the drumsticks.
Your traditional Moringa Achaar is now ready. An exotic flavour that comes all the way from the scenic foothills of the Himalayas. It’s a mountain of delight, alright!