Kids Corner


Achaar in a Martabaan





As a little kid there was always a martabaan (an earther or glazed jar) or a dozen on the terrace or the veranda sunbathing, wearing nothing but a malmal da kaprra - that is, covered with a piece of muslin cloth .

A dozen because Punjabi women certainly do not cook meals for one. It has to be for the whole community, people we haven't even met.

Those were the days when smelling like mustard oil, the women of the house used to proudly serve the family members some 'amb da achaar' (mango pickle) with piping hot raajmah chaawal (rice and kidney beans). Some evening chai with mathi-achaar.


So recently, while hogging on a full fledged Punjabi feast, I realized that wherever you go, you find a bottle of achaar from some retail chain. But, pray, where did the art of making achaars go? Why don't I see any achaar martabaans sunbathing on the terraces these days? Not that there aren't people still making them at home, but the numbers have surely decreased.

As a Punjabi, I miss the mustard oil stains on my table cloth, I miss the sheer taste of mom-made pickles and I miss the fat ceramic jars resting on my terrace sill. I think I also miss the unknown relatives whose houses our achaars have graced. *sigh*



by Niru Gupta


Cooking time: 30 minutes

Pickled chicken pieces add flavour to a simple meal of rice and dal.



2 kg chicken - cut into 16 pieces each

60 gm garlic - peeled, coarsely pounded

60 gm ginger - peeled and chopped, coarsely pounded

60 gm garam masala powder

60 gm mustard seeds powdered

1 cup chilli powder

1/3 cup salt

3/4 cup vinegar

1 cup mustard oil 



Heat oil in a karrahi (wok) and add the ginger and the garlic and stir fry till they turn light brown in colour.

Add the chicken and continue stirring over high heat till chicken pieces are opaque.

Lower the heat to medium and let cook, till tender.

When the chicken is tender, increase the heat and cook over high heat till the oil separates.

Add the powdered spices and salt, mix well, again over high heat, and then add the vinegar.

Let it come to a boil and switch off the heat. 


[Courtesy: NDTV. Edited for]

September 12, 2012

Conversation about this article

1: Gurpreet Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), September 12, 2012, 12:28 PM.

Chicken achaar? How about recipes for ambh, nimboo and gaajar achaar?

2: Jaswinder Kaur (Germany), September 14, 2012, 2:16 PM.

Thanks for awakening my childhood memories of stealing 'Amb da Murabba from these martabaans.

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