If you enjoy ethnic cuisine, you may already know that there’s a fierce battle between South Africans and Subcontinental Indians about the deliciousness of Atchar. While this powerful little condiment originated in India, Africans have made it their own and completely reinvented this classic for local taste buds. Miami Canners is proud to have one of the best atchars in South Africa in our lineup, but what do you really know about this tasty little treat? Today we look deeper into this fascinating meal accompaniment.
Enter the Melting Pot
In a country with 11 official languages, and the diverse mix of cultures and people you’ll find on any street corner, South African cuisine was bound to reflect this. Durban is well known as having one of the highest concentrations of Indian people outside the Indian subcontinent?
A key part of any cultural diaspora comes when homesick immigrants start craving a taste of home- and that’s when wonderful culinary things happen. South African atchar is one of those amazing amalgamations of cultures and experiences. Derived from the Hindi word for pickles, it reached our shores as achar. Here, they added succulent local green chillies and the mangoes that grow so well in KwaZulu Natal, and created something truly local and very lekker.
The Roots of Atchar
It’s a noble evolution for a dish once favoured by the Mughal and Persian Empires. Pickling is one of the few culinary techniques you will find ‘invented’ on almost every continent, being a safe way to preserve hearty, healthy veggies for use during long winters without fresh crops.
Atchar was made as a side to spicy curry meals, but the rules have never held South Africans back! Today you’ll find it spicing up pap, stews, and sauces, decorating tasty sarmies, and much more besides. It’s a fantastic pairing with smoked meats like wors, too. You’re limited only by your imagination! Today you’ll even find unique (and sometimes wild) combinations in atchar to add even more taste and versatility.
Did you know about the fascinating history of this delectable little pickle? If you’ve been curious to try this South African staple out for yourself, you can even find a few different combinations in the Miami pantry to try. Give your taste buds a treat today.