It may have originated in India but South Africans have adopted atchar as their own. “Achar” in Hindi means pickle and as we heard on Kaya Drive with Sizwe Dhlomo on Tuesday afternoon, it is a comfort food staple in most South African homes.
It pairs well with most meat or vegetarian dishes and while many opt to buy ready-made atchar, it’s just as easy to make in the comfort of your own home.
All you need is 7 ingredients and a few quick and simple steps and you can have an endless supply of atchar for you and your family.
All ingredients can be found at a quality Indian spice shop where supplies of green mangoes are guaranteed year-round. A good atchar masala will be wet but there are different types of atchar masala to choose from.
The 7 ingredients you’ll need:
- 3 cups hard green mangoes sliced or cut in halves
- 3 Tbsp mustard seeds (half to be crushed and half left whole)
- 2 Tbsp atchar/pickle masala
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 4 Tbsp red chilli powder
- 4 Tbsp white vinegar
- Cooking oil
- Mangoes need to be sundried for up to a week. You can get away with leaving mangos in the South African sun for 3 days if you just can’t wait for your atchar.
- Mangoes will need to be soaked in the vinegar for a few hours. This will allow the mangoes to soak up all the masala and flavours.
- Combine your masala, mustard seeds, salt, chilli powder and a little oil to moisten the atchar.
- Transfer atchar to either cleansed glass storage containers or plastic tubs.
- Pour in oil to cover the atchar.
- Leave in a cool place for a few days.
- After a few days stir the atchar gently to mix in the oil and that’s it, your atchar is ready to enjoy.
Whether it’s with amagwinya or accompanying a nice hearty South African curry, mango atchar will leave you drooling. You can add in whole chilli if you enjoy your atchar a little on the spicy side.