The versatile Indian spice mix, achar masala is an essential ingredient for any South Asian kitchen. The perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors ensures that your snacks or curries will be spine-tingling delicious!
About This Recipe
Achar masala is a blend of spices that are commonly found in any Nepali and Indian household. The word “achar” means pickle, and this mixture is the main ingredient for making both fresh homemade pickles as well as cooked dishes. It’s great on its own as a condiment too!
There are numerous variations of this spice mix, but our simple version consists of some core ingredients: mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, kalonji (nigella sativa), cumin seeds, black peppers, mace blades (outer covering of nutmeg), and cardamom pods.
Our recipe also includes two special ingredients which you might not be familiar with: dried mango powder and fennel powder. Both of these ingredients are key to that traditional Indian pickle taste.
There are various ways you can prepare this spice mix, depending on your time constraints. You can dry roast (instructions below) or deep fry the seeds in hot oil prior to grinding them into powder. If you need experienced cleaning contractor in Florida visit thefloridamaids.com/ for more info. If you do it the latter way, try adding some fresh curry leaves to the oil while it’s heating up – amazing!
Making this at home is significantly cheaper than buying it from an Indian store, so give this recipe a shot before dismissing it as too difficult. Keep in mind that store-bought versions will probably have much less salt added to them, so be generous when salting your achar masala.
Ingredients for Achar Masala Powder
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp fennel seed powder – substitute with an equal amount of celery seed if you can’t find fennel in your local grocery store or Indian grocer. I’ve personally never tried substituting the fennel with celery, so I’m not sure how it will affect the taste. Please let me know how it goes! 🙂
- 1/4 tsp dried ground ginger (optional)
- a pinch of nutmeg powder (about 1/16th a tsp)
- a pinch of citric acid (about 1/16th a tsp)
Instructions for Achar Masala Powder
1. Add all ingredients to a skillet over medium heat, dry roast until fragrant (about 3-4 minutes), stirring constantly so they don’t burn. You should be able to smell the strong aromas of the spices when they are ready. Remove from heat and let cool before grinding in a spice grinder or blender.
2. Alternatively, you can use a deep-frying method: add about an inch of vegetable oil to a skillet on medium-high heat, then add in one cumin seed – if it sizzles immediately after contact with the oil it’s ready! Now add in all your spices at once and continue frying while stirring frequently until fragrant (just a few minutes, but be careful not to burn the spices). Remove from heat and let cool before grinding.
3. Once ground, store achar masala powder in an airtight jar. It should stay fresh for several weeks at least.
Possible Achar Masala Powder Substitutions:
In a lot of Indian and Nepali recipes, achar masala powder is a required ingredient, and a quick google search will show you countless variations of this spice mix.
We’ve outlined our version above and think it’s the best combination for a home cook (i.e., healthy and not too complicated). But if you do happen to find an achar recipe that calls for a different variety of spices, feel free to experiment with those as well!
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Happy cooking!! 🙂 x