Achaar - A Taste of Asia

We’ve reached that glorious time in Tennessee summers when tomatoes hang heavy from the vine, begging to be plucked and sliced or tossed into the mouth like candy when cherry-sized. 

It’s a time for BLTs and marinara sauces, tomato pies and fresh salsas.

But when we asked the farmers of Growing Together what to do with tomatoes for sampling at the Nashville Farmers’ Market, they suggested achaar.

Achaar, a tomato-based chutney popular in Bhutanese and Nepali cuisine, can be made in a variety of combinations that might include cilantro or mint, peppers and tomatoes. It’s often served alongside lentils and basmati rice, adding zap and zing to the meal. 

Since the Growing Together farmers also happen to grow arugula, we included the spicy green leaves with this version called Golbheda ko Achaar. Roasting the tomatoes deepens the entire dish with rich flavor. 

We paired samples of achaar with slices of baguette from Village Bakery & Provisions, a fantastic shop inside the Market House. And we’re happy to report that the little cups of spicy tomato flew off our table at the market. 

We hope you’ll visit the Growing Together farmers at their Nashville Farmers’ Market booth on Saturday, August 20 from 8am to 2:30pm.  We’ll send you home with a taste of achaar while supplies last—or at least some tomatoes and the recipe to make it at home.

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Golbheda ko Achaar (Tomato Chutney)

Makes about 4 servings

This dish is a favorite in Bhutanese and Nepali cultures, and it has many variations with mint or cilantro instead of arugula, for example. It’s generally served as an accompaniment to lentils and rice or bread. 

Ingredients:

Four medium-sized tomatoes or a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil for baking dish and tomatoes
Salt and pepper to season plus 1 teaspoon for the arugula paste
A handful of arugula
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chile flake
1/4 teaspoon of coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of turmeric
Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a baking dish. Wash and half the larger tomatoes and lightly coat them in oil as well. Arrange the tomatoes in the baking dish in a single layer with their cut sides up and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast the tomatoes until their skins are wrinkled and browning in places about 1 hour.

While the tomatoes roast, combine 1 teaspoon salt with arugula in a mortar and pestle. Crush the two ingredients together until a paste forms. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use the bottom of a clean jelly jar or coffee mug to grind ingredients on a cutting board.) 

Gently peel the skins from the tomatoes and combine the tomatoes with the arugula mixture and remaining spices. Taste and add a squeeze of lime juice or so to your liking. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve alongside lentils or curry dishes as a small side dish or flavorful condiment.

Adapted recipe from thegundruk.com