5 Ways to Enjoy: Achaar from Brooklyn Delhi

Two jars of tomato achaar in a red and yellow jar.

All about achaar (and Brooklyn Delhi, too, for that matter!)

Achaar (uh-char) is a South Asian relish condiment. It’s often referred to as an Indian pickle or South Asian pickle, but as Chitra Agarwal, founder of Brooklyn Delhi and author of Vibrant India, explains, “it has nothing to do with the flavor of dill pickles and more to do with, say, kimchi (Korean), sriracha (Thai), or harissa (Tunisian).” Adding, “For those that are unfamiliar with achaar, it’s a spicy, savory, sour, and sweet relish made from local vegetables, fruits, spices, and oil.”

Agarwal and her husband, Ben Garthus, launched Brooklyn Delhi to share modern Indian pantry staples, the kinds of condiments they loved, but couldn’t find on grocery store shelves in the U.S. Brooklyn Delhi thoughtfully sources the best ingredients they can find for their plant-based, small-batch sauces, never including preservatives or artificial ingredients. Brooklyn Delhi’s recipes are rooted in time-honored Indian culinary traditions and layered with Agarwal’s own modern spin, like using less salt, so the flavor of the produce is really able to shine through. 

Our Achaar Flavors

We carry two of Brooklyn Delhi’s achaars, Tomato Achaar and Roasted Garlic Achaar: 

  • Tomato Achaar is savory, spicy, and tangy; made with tomatoes, tamarind, unrefined cane sugar, sesame oil, and a blend of spices including fenugreek, turmeric, and ground red chili peppers. 
  • Roasted Garlic Achaar is spicy, sweet, and bright; made with roasted garlic, lemon juice, canola oil, and again, a bit of sugar and a blend of spices including turmeric and ground red chili peppers. 

We’ll happily take the blame if they become your new go-to condiments, and you won’t be alone. Of these achaars, New York magazine says, “Hot, sweet, sour, bafflingly complex, and addictive enough to make you consider carrying a jar of it wherever you go.” Brad Hedeman, Marketer Manager at Zingerman’s Mail Order, is a big fan of their Roasted Garlic Achaar, saying, “Flavor-wise, it’s got a big garlic punch, then a note of ‘spicy-lemon-sweet-rich-bright.’ It’s everything at the same time, all those sensations all at once. Wicked stuff.” Traditionally, achaar is eaten with rice, curry, dal, and yogurt, but if you’re already ready to branch out, we have a few more ideas to get you going.

 Photo credit to Brooklyn Delhi

5 of Our Favorite Ways to Use Achaars

  1. Stir into soups and stocks. Use Roasted Garlic Achaar to give greater garlicky depth to dishes like miso soup. Swirl Tomato Achaar into brothy braised beans for an extra kick or into tomato soup, like the Bakehouse’s Creamy Tomato De-Vine.
  2. Top your toasts. Ari Weinzweig, Zingerman’s co-founder and CEO, likes to top Sicilian Sesame Semolina bread from the Bakehouse with Fresh Goat Cheese from the Creamery and Tomato Achaar, adding, “If you’re like me, once you try it, you’ll find yourself putting it on pretty much everything! In the “Breezy Breakfasts” cookbooklet from Zingerman’s, one suggested toast combo is Better than San Francisco Sourdough with Tomato Achaar and avocado. 
  3. Give your pizza some pizazz. Brooklyn Delhi suggests using their Tomato Achaar instead of tomato sauce or topping a pizza with sautéed mushrooms tossed in the Roasted Garlic Achaar.
  4. Spice up your sauces, dips, and dressings. Stir some Tomato Achaar into your pasta sauce, shakshuka, or labneh. Add even more depth of flavor to already spicy buffalo wing sauce and gochujang sauce. Swirl a spoonful of Roasted Garlic Achaar into hummus or mayonnaise.  
  5. Treat it like you would any other condiment. Spoon some on scrambled eggs, dollop it on top of grilled meats, spread it on a sandwich, and use it to garnish pasta dishes. Lindsey Rampton, Web Services Manager at Zingerman’s Creative Services stocks up on Tomato Achaar during Zingerman’s Mail Order’s annual Summer Sale, explaining, “I always keep some handy for times when I need a quick cheese board pairing or more spice in a rice bowl.”

So far, I’ve used the Garlic Achaar to make next-level garlic bread and swirled it into sour cream for leftover falafel that was sorely in need of saving from its dry, crumbly self. I’ve dabbed the Tomato Achaar onto fried eggs and leftover pizza. (Are you sensing a theme here? These condiments take leftovers from something you eat out of guilt to something you look forward to.) I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi’s iconic Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce from his cookbook Plenty, so next on my to-make list is Brooklyn Delhi’s twist on it with Garlic Achaar. (Pro tip: Their website has a wealth of tempting recipes.)

Ready to squeeze the day and try them for yourself?! Get Brooklyn Delhi’s achaars at Zingerman’s Deli or let Zingerman’s Mail Order ship one (or both the Tomato Achaar and the Roasted Garlic Achaar) to your doorstep.

Want more? We want to hear from you over on our social media platforms. Share your experience or your favorite food at any of our Zingerman’s businesses. We will happily share it on our Instagram and Facebook @Zingermanscommunity