Kerala Beef Pickle - Erachi Achar ( Dry version)


Kerala Beef Pickle - Erachi Achar-1
Ingredients for Achar-Beef Pickle-1

Its almost the middle of the winter and all I got to see was just a thin coat of snow that too yesterday in the moonless night! Guess the Snotober totally disrupted the winters rhythm. I boarded the "Polar express" and went as far as "Eight below" and climbed up the stairs of many winter castles ; yet my mind aches for a snow fall at home.

The flurries which drizzled for  a couple of minutes last week wasn't strong enough to stir up some spirits. I really need the stormy one at least for once! Only the whistling wind and the mean cold seems to have made its late arrival..! Where are you my pretty lil snow flakes?Come you here and cover the naked trees with your white blanket....
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Kerala Beef Pickle - Erachi Achar-2


I have an ever lasting love for Pickles - veg and non-veg. Erachi Achar is a traditional Syrian Christian favorite in central kerala, which occupied a regular spot in my family's pantry, along with other veg, meat and fish pickles. Ammachi sees this as a prized possession always and gives us only a spoon or two at any meal , making us crave for it and wait for the next turn :-).

This is not entirely her recipe ; she sun dries the meat with spices for a couple of days and then make it. This is more of my version,with less vinegar , incorporating ammachi's recipe with another one I referred to from the Cook book - The Kerala Kitchen( Moori Erachi Achar pg 203). The recipe from this book has a very interesting ingredient -mustard paste - which I haven't used (& coriander powder ) since I prefer to stick to the traditional one.

We love the dry versions of all the pickles, so that's what I have here for you today ! Black , dry and spicy , just the way I grew up eating . Trust me , this is excellent with drinks( a Red wine for me and my signature Cherry Mojito for N and my dear cousin J )! I am not sure about the shelf life of "this" pickle , since i haven't had to keep it for more than 4-5 days. 
Nadan Beef Pickle - Erachi Achar-4

Recipe for Nadan Erachi/ Irachi Achar - Kerala Style Beef Pickle
Serves - 8-10 or just 2 people like us
Total cooking time - less than 1 hour
Yields :- These two jars in the picture
Recipe Source :- Partly from my Mom and grandma +partly from The Kerala Kitchen by Lathika George)
Ingredients:-
Bowl 1
Beef - 1/2 kg ( I prefer stew meat )
Meat Masala - 1/2 tea spoon
Turmeric - a generous pinch
Ginger - Garlic paste - 1/2 to 1 tea spoon
Vinegar - 1/2 tea spoon
Salt to taste
To fry meat
Oil - 2 tablespoon
To make masala
Gingelly oil / Sesame oil - 2-3 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
Fenugreek seeds - a large pinch
Curry leaves - lots
Garlic chopped - 10 cloves
Ginger sliced - a thumb sized piece ( adjust ginger and garlic as per ur likes)
Green chili chopped - 3-4
Kashmiri Red chili powder - 1.5 tablespoon( if using hot chili powder 1 or 2 tea spoons would be enough)
Vinegar - 1 -2 tablespoons ( add more if you like more, I prefer 2 tablespoons of the normal white distilled one or red wine vinegar) 
Whole Black peppercorns - 1 tea spoon
Garam masala - a pinch
Salt to taste
Method :-
Clean and cut the beef into bite sized pieces. Marinate with all in Bowl 1 and keep aside for 20-30 minutes. Pressure cook in a medium flame with 2 tablespoons of water , for 2-3 whistles or until done.
Drain in a colander and reserve the stock( 1/2 cup maximum)
Heat 2 tablespoons of any cooking oil in a non-stick pan and fry the beef pieces till brown.
Meanwhile , heat 2-3 tablespoons of gingelly oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they pop up add fenugreek seeds , fry for 10 seconds , followed by curry leaves, garlic, ginger and green chilies. Fry till the raw smell is gone. I love them to be a bit crunchy.
Make a paste with 1 tablespoon of reserved stock , vinegar and red chili powder and add to the pan and fry till the oil separates. Add the remaining stock , bring to boil and add the fried beef pieces along with any oil in the pan . Crush the whole black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and add to the pan , along with a pinch of garam masala. Simmer for a couple of minutes , stirring often , till it is thick or dry as you like it . Let cool , transfer to clean glass jars and keep in cool dark place or in the fridge.

Notes:- 
For more shelf life add more vinegar ( i say not more than 1/4 cup ), & 2 more tbsp of sesame oil. 
I don't add coriander powder or shallots to any of the pickles ; it tastes different the next day.
In hot and humid area , better keep this dry version in fridge.
To make gravy , increase the vinegar and stock qty .
Instead pf pressure cooking and frying the meat, you can bake it @ 375 degree for an hour or more and proceed with the process

Happy Cooking

Sarah

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