By Nandini Bhushan*
From Vat Savitri to Chhath Puja, and from humble litti chokha to the traditional dal pitha, Bihar is blessed with all the flavour and spirit of pomp and splendor. Eddie Kennyson rightly said, “when opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go after it.” In these columns I shall not only be telling something about my native state Bihar through the window of its festival and food, but shall also offer the recipe so that one can try it oneself.
Bihari cuisine, I believe deserves its long overdue credit, as it is one of the most unexplored and under rated food today despite being full of flavours and among the most palatable cuisines. In today’s world of marketing and flamboyance, we seriously need a makeover of the sumptuous Bihari food to find its rightful niche in the gastronomical world. We need to present our recipe to the global audience, and being a food enthusiast myself, it is my humble attempt to present a traditional Bihari food with an interesting variation.
Bharwa lal mirch achar (Stuffed red chilli pickle)
The mild and flavour packed bharwa lal mirch achar is a traditional recipe and almost an integral recipe of a Bihari household . January to March is indeed the best season to make this pickle since the market is flooded with this enchanting red delight. Loaded with mouth watering flavours and aroma of the spices, the mild bitterness of mustard, the tanginess of amchur topped with the rustic flavour of mustard oil makes this pickle an extraordinary delight. Enjoy this achar as a taste enhancer along with the staple rice and dal, paratha or poori.
Red chilli : 250 gms
Yellow mustard : 200 gms
Fenugreek seed: 2 tsp
Fennel seed : 2 tsp
Ajwain : 1 tsp
Onion seed : 1 tsp
Asafoetida : 1 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
Red chilli powder : 1 tsp
Coriander powder : 2 tsp
Black salt : 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Amchur powder : 2 tsp
Mustard oil : 100 gms
Vinegar : ½ cup
Coarsely grind the mustard, fennel, fenugreek,ajwain and mangrail.
Take a wet cloth and wipe each of the red chilli. Spread it over a paper and let it dry and then wipe it with a dry cloth.
Slit them on one side and keep them aside.
Take the ground masala and the rest of the powdered masala along with salt and add the mustard oil and 2 tsp of vinegar. Give them all a good mix.
Now take some spice mix and stuff tightly in the slit of the mirchi and place it on a plate.
In a bowl mix together the remaining oil and vinegar. Now carefully dip each of the stuffed red chilli in the mixture. Next place the pickles in a sterilized glass or ceramic jar.
Tie a muslin cloth on the mouth of the jar and then place the cap on it. Keep it under sunlight for a couple of days and the red chilli achar is ready.
*Nandini Bhushan is a well-known food blogger