Gajar ka achar – Spicy Pickled Carrots Recipe

GAJAR KA ACHAr - quick spicy pickled carrots

You know how ketchup is pretty much a permanent on grocery lists? So are achar in brown homes!!! And this 20 min Gajar ka achar (spicy pickled carrots) has become a must in my house during winters.

Achar (or Pakistani/Indian pickles) are a spicier version of a regular pickle (basically like most Indian foods). It’s a spicy condiment that we loveeeeee pairing with rice and lentils or a good vegetable flatbread (paratha)! yums! And this Gajar ka achar is soo soo good!

My nani (grandma) used to make the long fermented version which takes a couple of days to make. And I mean I don’t check up on the plants in my house that often, how am I supposed to remember checking up on this? Entered a 20 min version. You will need a stove top, a glass jar, carrots and spices. That’s it! let’s begin!

A QUICK PICTORIAL GUIDE TO MAKING PICKLED CARROTS OR GAJAR KA ACHAR

bottle of mustard oil

So Pakistani/Indian pickles are mostly made using mustard oil. It enhances the flavor of all the spices and works really well as a preservative.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Mustard oil is very bitter in taste if used directly. So to reduce the bitterness, we preheat the oil before use. We heat it in the pan for 3 to 4 mins and leave it to cool down. Then this oil becomes ready to use.

Since mustard oil requires preheating, I usually start with this step and then move on to cutting my carrots.

blue bowl full of sliced carrots

This achar is usually made in winters when really nice red sweet carrots are in season back in Pakistan. (Also why you will see me posting a lot of gajar ka halwa in winters on instagram).

I fortunately had access to these Pakistani carrots which taste amazingggggg! Regardless, I’ve made this recipe with regular carrots as well and it turns out just as great.

A little tip here. I cut the carrots up into a thin slender french fry cut. But I also removed the central yellowish portion of the carrot. This part of the carrot is usually tasteless. You can keep this if you like. I usually just use the discard portion for my salads.
whole spices and seeds and chopped garlic in oil, frying in a wok.

Let’s start cooking the Achar. In the wok/pan which has the Mustard oil, add your curry leaves, cumin seeds, black and yellow mustard seeds, fennel seeds and chopped garlic along with whole red chilies. I know it sounds like a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have a lot of them in your pantry. We are going to fry this till the garlic gets to a nice golden color.

tempered spices in oil in a wok

Once we reach the nice golden color, we are going to chuck in all our carrots and powdered spices like salt, turmeric and red chili powder and flakes.

carrots in a wok for gajar ka achar

Can you imagine this was that easy? Go ahead and stir around those carrots in the wok with the spices. Cook it for a good 5 mins, for the spices to coat the carrots and the carrots to soften up.

Then add green chilies and cook for another 5 mins.

gajar ka achar - pickled carrots ready to serve

After 10 mins, we will turn of the flame and squeeze some lemon juice all over our carrots and cover them up.

The lemon acts as a preservative for the pickle and also adds that characteristic tart flavor that pickles have.

Once the carrots have cooled down, I am going to transfer them into an airtight glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

Serve with lentils and rice, or aloo ka paratha, yumm!!

gajar ka achar - quick pickled carrots
How long does the achar last for?

It can last indefinitely in the fridge but to give you a date, it can last for up to 3 months in the fridge. I am not very confident of leaving this outside as the oil quantity for this achar is quite low compared to regular achars.

Substitutes

  • You can use regular oil instead of mustard oil
  • You can use 2 tbsp tamarind pulp instead of lemon but you will have to add it with the carrots so that it cooks as well

RECIPE FOR GAJAR KA ACHAR – PICKLED CARROTS RECIPE

gajar ka achar - quick pickled carrots

Quick Pickled Carrots recipe - Gajar ka Achar

Yield: 2 cups of pickle
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A tart condiment made with Sliced carrot pickled in Pakistani/ Indian spice infused oil without using vinegar

Ingredients

  • 1/2 kg carrots (7 to 8 medium sized carrots)
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds (zeera)
  • 1/4 tsp yellow Mustard seeds (methi dana)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds (rye dana)
  • 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1/2 tsp of red chili flakes (kooti wi laal mirch)
  • 1 tsp of red chili powder (pisi wi lal mirch)
  • 6 whole round red chilies (sabit lal mirch)
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 to 10 Curry leaves (karri patta)
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 Green chilies
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or Juice of 2 small lemons

Instructions

  1. Heat mustard oil in a pan and then let it cool down.* (see notes)
  2. Slice your carrots into thin strips and remove central yellow part of the carrot**
  3. Once the oil has cooled down, now heat it up again at medium flame. Add in all the whole spices, curry leaves and seeds along with the chopped garlic. Allow the spices to temper in oil.
  4. Once the garlic turns golden brown, add in the carrots, salt, red chili flakes and powder and turmeric and green chilies. Let the carrots cook at medium flame for 10 mins.
  5. Turn off the flame and add lemon juice. Cover the carrots and let it cool down to room temperature.
  6. Store in an airtight glass jar in the fridge.
  7. If you plan to leave it out, you have to shake the contents of the jar every other day.

Notes

*Heating oil and cooling down before is important to remove its bitter taste.

**The central yellow part of the carrot is usually tasteless and for the quick pickle version, it's best to remove this. But you can leave this if you don't want to bother slicing it away

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 468Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3298mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 15gSugar: 42gProtein: 10g

Did you make this recipe?

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Maham
Maham
1 year ago

It looks so yummy, I’m drooling 😋

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