Aaloo achar is a popular Nepalese dish served as an appetizer or a side dish. Aaloo achar directly translates to potato pickle but if I had to explain it to someone, I would compare it to a spicy potato salad. Now in the western part of the world pickle or pickled is something that is preserved in vinegar or brine. But in most eastern countries especially southeast Asia, pickle or achar is something that is marinated in different spices and oil. Here is the recipe for Aaloo Achar I recently made.
You will need:
- 5 potatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 2-3 green chilies (or according to your tolerance of heat)
- Cilantro for garnishing at the end
- 3 tablespoons of any oil, I used olive oil
- 5 tablespoons of
sesameseed for toasting
- 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seed
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- About 1 to 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder (or according to your tolerance of heat)
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of tamarind powder
- 1 to 1.5 tablespoon of Nepali Hog plum powder (Optional but great if you can find it!)
- 1/2 teaspoon asafetida powder
Wash and boil potatoes.
Once potatoes are done, let it cool down and peel off the skin. The skin should come off easily once potatoes are cooled down. Cut them into small pieces about 1-inch cubes.
Peel the skin of cucumber and cut them into small pieces as well.
Set potatoes and cucumbers aside in a mixing bowl.
In a pan, toast some sesame seeds. (No oil required) Toast them until they are brown.
Put the toasted sesame seeds into a blender and blend it to a smooth powder.
Add about 3-4 tablespoons of the powdered sesame seed to the potatoes.
In a separate pan, heat some oil (About 1 tablespoon for every 3 medium-big potatoes)
Cut green chilies into small pieces and sauté them once the oil.
Add turmeric powder and fenugreek seeds to the chilies. FYI doing this sauté will fill your room with smoke so make sure your vents and windows are open. The smell also sticks to your clothes so make sure you don’t have nice clothes lying around!
Once the fenugreek seeds are dark brown, pour the oil+ chilies + turmeric + fenugreek seeds mixture onto cut potatoes.
Now add red chili powder, salt, lemon juice, asafetida powder
Add about 1/3 of a cup of water and mix well. The salad should not feel dry so add water as you need.
Garnish with cilantro and you are done!
Aaloo achar is usually eaten in room temperature so if you have leftovers, don’t heat it. Just leave it out in room temperature for few hours. I also think this dish taste way better on the second day.
I am going to try adding tamarind powder next time I make aloo achar!
I think tamarind adds a bit of a unique tart to the taste!