Achaar kqyxug

Image: Michael Novak

Order a pickle in Mumbai and you simply will not find a dill or half-sour, anywhere. In India, pickles, or achaar, have a vast range of interpretations (even by Portland’s “we can pickle that” standards), with many favoring oil and spice over vinegar. At Bollywood Theater, chef-owner Troy MacLarty makes his Northwest version of a spring achaar by transforming the season’s first strawberries and rhubarb with a bazaar’s worth of Indian spice. Intensely garlicky, faintly sweet, and lip-tinglingly spicy with a lingering heat, this vermillion-hued, chutney-like condiment feels as much at home on cheese plates and grilled pork chops as it does with traditional roti or pakora. Go forth and experiment.

RHUBARB STRAWBERRY ACHAAR

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 serrano chile, halved
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Kashmir chile powder
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 lb rhubarb, ends removed and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ½ lb strawberries, quartered
  • 1 tbsp grated jaggery
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cinnamon stick, asafoetida, black mustard seeds, and serrano chile, and stir constantly until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, fenugreek seeds, and nigella seeds, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently and being careful not to brown fenugreek or garlic. Add turmeric, Kashmir chile powder, ginger, and rhubarb. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb softens but does not lose its shape, about 5 minutes. Add strawberries and jaggery, and stir occasionally until strawberries have softened, approximately 2–5 minutes more. Remove cinnamon stick and serrano chile, add salt and lemon juice, and let cool. Serve at room temperature.

All spices available at the Bollywood Market on SE Division Street, or at any major Indian grocery store, like Apna Bazaar in Beaverton.

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