This vegetarian Asian relish recipe (achar) is packed full of tender vegetables in a flavorful and spicy brine.
I’m so excited to be bringing you this deliciously different recipe today as part of Ball’s Can It Forward Day celebration!
I’m a huge relish fan as it is, but add a bit of an Asian flair to a vegetable relish and it becomes even more of a delicacy to me. From time to time, folks will ask me what they are supposed to do with relish. My favorite ways to eat relish are on top of a hot dog, stirred into a bowl of beans, or alongside piping hot cornbread. Sometimes, though, I have been known to eat it all by itself. See that bowl up there in the photograph? Yup, someone had to eat it once it was done being all pretty.
This recipe is one of many on the Ball website. If you’re looking for any canning recipes, that site is a great place to start. You can be confident that their recipes are tested and safe and there is really something for everyone, just type in the veggie you have and see what pops up!
Now, this recipe has a long list of ingredients but it is absolutely worth the extra effort! For the vegetables, I’m using cauliflower, carrot, onion, and English cucumber. Then we pickle them in a flavorful and spicy brine made with dried chili peppers, ginger root, ground unsalted peanuts, garlic, salt, sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, and turmeric. There are a few steps, but this cucumber relish recipe makes 7 jars, so you’ll have plenty to keep you going.
Let’s start making our vegetarian Asian pickle…
- Dried chili peppers
- English cucumbers
- Ginger root
- Dry roasted unsalted peanuts
- Canning salt (or kosher salt)
- Sesame seeds
How to Make Asian Relish (Achar)
Cut your veggies according to the recipe (below) and place them on a plate or in a baking dish lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Grind your peanuts up in a blender or food processor (I used my Nutribullet).
Then place them in a heavy skillet along with the sesame seeds and toast lightly, stirring often, over medium heat. Remove from heat once they are lightly brown and be careful not to let them burn.
Grind up your garlic, peppers, ginger, and onion the same way you did your peanuts (blender or food processor) and place them in a large pot.
Add vinegar, salt, turmeric, and sugar and bring just to a boil, stirring often, over medium-high heat.
Once it has come to a boil, add in all the veggies and the peanut/sesame mixture.
Stir that up well and bring it to a boil again. Once it is at a low boil, simmer it for 5 minutes.
The Canning Process
I’m using my fancy new Ball Electric Water Bath Canner. I am in absolute LOVE with this thing. It is SO easy! Just put in your jars, plug it in, turn the knob to “canning”, and then walk away. No more watching to see when the pot boils or adjusting the temperature. It also has a spigot on the side so letting the water out is a breeze. If you do a lot of water bath canning or know someone dear to you who does, this would make an excellent gift. You can also use it to make massive batches of stew or other dishes as it doubles as a pot and a steamer.
If you would like to see my full instructions on water bath canning, click here. You don’t *have* to can this but it makes 7 pints and those might get a little crowded in your refrigerator. Canning is simple, requiring only a large pot and boiling water, and preserves this so it can happily sit on a shelf in your pantry until you need it!
Enjoy this delicious Asian relish! Keep it all to yourself or share it with friends!
When stored properly in an airtight container or jar in the pantry or fridge, your relish will last for up to one year. So that extra effort is totally worth it!
What is achar?
Achar is a South Asian pickle native to India. Typically, it’s made with a variety of fruits and vegetables preserved in vinegar and flavored with Indian spices.
How else do you serve achar?
I’ve included several recommendations in the intro, but here are more serving suggestions for your relish:
- Dollop spoonfuls onto a grilled steak or pork chops.
- Serve it as a salsa with tortilla chips.
- Dip your egg rolls or spring rolls in the relish.
- Add it to steamed rice for a main meal.
You may also like these Asian-inspired dishes:
- 5 English cucumbers, unpeeled
- 2 medium carrots, peeled
- 5 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 medium cooking onions, quartered
- 15 small dried chilies
- 1 1/2 pieces gingerroot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-1/2 cups vinegar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Ball® pickling salt
- 1 tablespoon ground tumeric
- 7 Ball® pints or 16 oz glass preserving jars with lids and bands
- PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.7 Ball® pints
- WASH cucumbers. Remove blossom and stem ends, quarter lengthwise, and seed.5 English cucumbers, unpeeled
- CUT cucumbers and carrots into 1.5-inch sticks.2 medium carrots, peeled
- PLACE cucumber, carrot, and cauliflower on a towel to dry while preparing other ingredients.5 cups cauliflower florets
- GRIND peanuts in a food processor then toast them lightly in a heavy skillet with sesame seeds.1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
- COMBINE onions, chilies, gingerroot, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Purée to a paste. In a large deep stainless steel saucepan, combine purée, vinegar, sugar, salt, and turmeric. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Stir frequently to prevent scorching and then boil gently, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens slightly.2 medium cooking onions, quartered, 15 small dried chilies, 1 1/2 pieces gingerroot, 4 cloves garlic, 2-1/2 cups vinegar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons Ball® pickling salt, 1 tablespoon ground tumeric
- ADD peanut mixture and vegetables to sauce. Stir frequently and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
- LADLE achar into hot jars leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rim, center the lid on the jar, and apply the band until the fit is fingertip tight.
- PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”
Disclaimer: I’ve partnered with Ball Canning to help promote and educate folks about the joys and benefits of home canning. I’m honored to have been chosen as one of four ambassadors for National Can It Forward Day and I have been compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own.