Saturday, July 20, 2013

Achar Belimbi

My garden has been growing and all of a sudden, I have an avalanche of belimbing buluh, aka mini starfruit, aka bilimbi. They were too sour to have on their own, so I looked up a few pickle and achar recipes online. This is a modification of a couple that sounded easy enough to make.

You will need:
Half a kilo of belimbing buluh

salt to dehydrate the fruit (about a handful)

Ingredients to blend into a paste:
5 garlic cloves
4 tbsp mustard seeds
3 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 tbsp turmeric powder
Dried red chillies to taste (if you like it spicy, add about 8, of not, about 3)

4 tbsp white vinegar
About 50 ml vegetable oil.

Step 1: Cut the belimbing lengthwise and arrange in a tray like so. sprinkle salt liberally over the fruit and leave out in the sun to dehydrate. On a hot day, it took about 3 hours.

Step 2: After dehydration, they look like the picture below. Squeeze more moisture from them and try to get rid of the extra salt using your hands.

Step 3: It's time to make the paste. Toast the fenugreek seeds for a few minutes in a frying pan. Remove and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the mustard seeds, garlic, red chillies, turmeric powder, vinegar and fenugreek seeds into a paste (like the picture below). Add water if you need to.

Step 4: In a pan, add a splash of vegetable oil and stir fry the paste for a minute. Add the dehydrated belimbing and mix to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 5: Add to jars you have prepare beforehand (see note below). Fill nearly to the brim, and add vegetable oil until covered. Allow to cure for 2 weeks, and it's ready to eat with rice, or in a meat stirfry.

Note: To sterilise jars, a friend taught me to put them, without lids, in the oven at about 80 degrees centigrade, for 20 minutes. Remove using an oven mitt. I poured hot water over the lids and let them air dry. 

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