Since ancient times, Indians have used all kinds of vegetables for pickles. Back in those days, pickling was a way to preserve food for the winter – a time of scarcity. So Indians experimented with every kind of vegetable and – of course – fruits as well. Here is a recipe for a Tomato Achaar. Tomatoes are around 95 percent water, so it will not be possible to dry them completely. That’s why this pickle won’t last for months like other pickles, but it will remain fine for four to six weeks.
Here are the ingredients that you will need:
Tomatoes: 500 grams
Mustard Oil: 250 millilitres
Ginger: 100 grams
Garlic: 50 grams
Green Chillies: 10
Vinegar: 200 millilitres
Sugar: 2 tablespoon
Salt: 1 tablespoon
Wash and cut the tomatoes into small pieces – the size that fits on a teaspoon. When you cut the tomatoes, a lot of juice will come out. Do not use the juice in the pickle. Drain it off and discard it – or use it for some other purpose.
Wash and peel the ginger.
Wash and peel the garlic.
Cut the stalks off the green chillies.
Coarsely grind the ginger, garlic and green chillies into a paste. Keep aside.
Wash and sterilize a glass or porcelain pickling jar and wipe it dry. Let it dry completely. Once again, make sure it’s completely dry… there should be no droplets of residual moisture.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame, till it reaches its smoking point. Reduce the heat to Low and use a ladle to add the tomato pieces to the oil. Add the pieces with care – they tend to splutter in the hot oil.
Once all the tomato pieces are in the oil, cook for around five minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and continue cooking for another minute or so. Keep stirring.
Next, add the sugar and salt – and then pour in the vinegar. Continue stirring while you cook for another five minutes.
Turn the flame off and let the contents cool down to room temperature.
Carefully pour/transfer the contents (along with the Mustard Oil) into the large pickling jar that you had sterilized and dried earlier. Use an airtight lid to close the jar. Put it out in the sun for a couple of days – this pickle matures quickly. As mentioned earlier, this pickle will not last for many months because of the amount of moisture already present in the tomatoes. However, if you refrigerate it, it can last for four to six weeks or so.
Your traditional Tomato Achaar is now ready. It tastes great with Parathas… and it’s so versatile it can be eaten with pretty much any kind of meal.