Monday, December 23, 2013

Tomato Pickle with Sukuti Fish - (गोलभेडा को अचारमा माछा को सुकुटी हालेको)

Enjoy freshly-made Tomato Achaar with Maachaa ko Sukuti (dried fish) 
(गोलभेडा को अचारमा माछा को सुकुटी हालेको)

Golbheda ko achaar (tomato pickle) has been one of the most popular and well loved pickles in Nepal. Achaars are an important and almost necessary accompaniment to most dishes in the Nepali kitchen. Achaar is also served with a variety of other Nepali dishes, such as rotis (breads), cheura (pressed rice flakes), snacks, and even alongside dessert dishes like sel-rotis and traditional sweets.  
This fiery tomato achaar will perk up any traditional Nepali Daal-Bhaat-Tarkaari and goes well with just about any Nepali meal. 

In this recipe, vine-ripe tomatoes are cooked with several herbs and spices until the moisture from the tomatoes has evaporated.  Then, add bite-size sukuti fish to enhance the flavor.
... cooking with home-grown tomatoes
The term “achaar” translates to pickles in Nepalese, and includes preserved or fermented pickles (lapsi ko achaar, kaankro khalpi achaar, moola ko achaar, ledo achaar), salad-like dishes prepared like vegetables (aloo ko achaar, koreko kankro ko achaar), no-cook chutney made fresh everyday (cilantro, mint), dry-powdered achaar, roasted sesame seed pickle (til ko chhope), or dipping sauces. 

There are numerous home-made variations of tomato achaar with or without adding dried fish. Some tomatoes are oven roasted, tawaa roasted (circular iron pan), or just cooked on top of a stove. Each family has their own variation and no matter what variety or size of tomatoes you use, and whatever method you use, the tomato achaar will taste better, if cooked with ripe, red and vine-ripened tomatoes.

Here is my classic, tangy and spicy recipe and directions for a easy quick and, most importantly delicious tomato pickle with maachaa ko sukuti (dried fish). The achaar will even taste better next day as the sukuti will be marinated further with the cooked tomatoes. This achaar will keep well at least 4/5 days in the refrigerator. 
¼ cup mustard oil
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
8-10 medium tomatoes, any variety, chopped
4 fresh hot green chilies, halved lengthwise
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons peeled and julienned fresh ginger
1 cup maachaa ko sukuti (dried fish)
½ cup finely chopped cilantro

Dry-roasted whole spices
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3-4 dried red chilies, stemmed and cut into several pieces
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the sesame seeds, chilies, timmur, cumin, and mustard, stirring constantly to prevent the seeds from flying all over, until they give off a pleasant aroma and darken. Remove the spices from the skillet, pour them into dry container to halt the toasting, and let them cool. Transfer the cooled spices to a spice grinder, grind to a fine powder, and set aside

 Here's what you will need to make tomato pickle - sesame seeds, dried chilies, timmur (szechwan pepper), cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, ground turmeric, jimbu, fresh garlic and ginger, green chilies and mustard oil.
Preparation Instructions
Heat the mustard oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium high-heat until faintly smoking. Add the fenugreek seeds and fry until dark brown and fragrant, about 5 seconds. Ad tomatoes, green chilies, salt, and turmeric and cook, covered, until the tomatoes soften. Adjust the heat to medium and cook stirring from time to time, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, mix the dry roasted spices (see method above - szechwan, sesame, cumin, mustard, dried chillies) and cilantro and set aside.

Remove the bone and skin from dried fish and break into bite-sized pieces, set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add jimbu and cook until darker and fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, and fry, stirring until golden and slightly crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic, ginger with jimbu, draining as much oil as possible, and add them to tomato mixture. Adjust the heat to medium-low, and add the dried fish to the pan. Cook stirring constantly, until slightly crisp. Transfer the fish to the tomato achaar and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes for flavors to develop. The fish sukuti will soften further and will become flavorful. Transfer the achaar to a serving dish and sprinkle with cilantro. the whole spices in a small cast-iron pan

...dry-roast until the spices gives off a pleasant aroma and darken, and remove the spices from the pan and pouring into a dry container to halt the toasting, and let it cool.

... transferring the roasted spices into a spice grinder
... grinding into fine powder
....mix the dry-roasted and ground spices into cooked tomato.
... here is a close up image of home-made fish jerky from Jyoti's kitchen
Rich-flavored and delicious home-made fish jerky (trout) made in a food dehydrator.
Dried fish sukuti from Malekhu ko Bazaar, Nepal - the fish from local rivers are dried in a traditional method.  First, the fish is cut into pieces, weaved into thin bamboo skewers, placed next to wood-burning store until the moisture from the fish is evaporated and slightly hardened.  Then, the fish is preserved further by sun-drying.  Please check my previous posting regarding "Malekhu ko Maachaa" to learn more about fish sukuti by clicking here.
Special treat from Malekhu Bazaar, Nepal - sun-dried fish on a wooden sticks for sale - the small whole fish is weaved into a thin bamboo skewer, and dried in a traditional way.
Here comes the another picture of curled-up dried fish from Malekhu Bazaar.  Before adding to the cooked tomato pickle, the skin and bone of the dried fish needs to be removed.
The dried fish is torn into small bite-size pieces  then fried in the oil until crisp before adding to the tomato achaar.  The fish will slightly soften once mixed with cooked pickle and you will be savoring the delicious flavored achaar.
Enjoy the freshly made Tomato Pickle with Sukuti Fish - (गोलभेडा को अचारमा माछा को सुकुटी हालेको)
Serving Nepali Daal-Bhaat-Tarkaari with tomato pickle 
Every year in the late Spring, when we plan our vegetable garden, we always plant different varieties of tomatoes.  This year we were fortunate to have an abundant harvest of tomatoes, so I hope you enjoy these four pictures from my home garden - eating right off the vine - flavorful, ripe tomatoes straight to mouth - with a salt shaker in another hand. 
From my home garden - bright red, vine-ripened cherry tomato ready for harvest.  This variety of tomato will make most delicious oven roasted chutney.
Early ripening clusters of cherry tomatoes - some of them have already split opened on the vine....
Checking for ripeness - 3 fully ripped tomatoes and 6 slightly unripe ones on the vine.  I hope you enjoyed these pictures!


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