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9 Sri Lankan Pickles You Should Know About

Some achcharu to eat your buth with.

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When it comes to improving a basic plate of rice, achcharu is something of a godsend. Spicy, sweet, sour, zesty, and tangy, the ensemble of flavours they produce can make any boring meal taste really good.
With awurudu around the corner, let's have a look at the most popular types of achcharu we have in our culinary fare.

Sinhala Achcharu

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An indispensable element during the awurudu season, Sinhala Achcharu is often being referred to as Papol (papaya) Achcharu. It's easy to make, and the ingredients are quite simple. The main ingredient is young papaya, and the rest includes red onions, green chillies, garlic, ginger and a range of spices, like mustard, turmeric, salt and pepper.

Ruhunu Achcharu

Image credits: Shikifood

A medley of fried halmasso karawala (dried sprats), red onions, green chillies and spices - ground mustard, chilli flakes, turmeric, pepper and salt, this Ruhunu Achcharu also has a kick of vinegar and is slightly sweet. The recipe is almost similar to batu moju. You deep fry the main ingredients, bubble up some vinegar, temper the spices and sugar, and later on, add the main ingredients to it and cook until the vinegar disappears. Easy peasy!

Malay Achcharu

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Made with red onions, dates, green chillies, ground mustard, minced ginger, chilli powder, sugar, salt and vinegar, this is a sweet and spicy delight. A spoonful of Malay pickle is all you need to add an extra kick to a plate of rice - whether it be plain rice, fried rice, biriyani or nasi goreng.


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A pickle that requires just three ingredients - lime, vinegar and salt, Lunudehi is so intensely sour, and a pinch of it is enough to make you pucker.  

Polos Achcharu

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Polos makes a great curry, and it's amazing as a pickle too. Marinated with spices (pepper, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt) and fermented with vinegar, this is one spicy, tangy, zesty treat that also contains red onions and green chillies. In fact, you can replace the green chillies with kochchi for extra heat. 

Sudu Loonu Achcharu

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Fried garlic and green chillies, immersed in a cooked blend of vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, chilli powder, and sugar (optional), this garlic pickle has a bold spicy flavour, and a lingering aroma that makes it iressistable. 

Raabu Achcharu

Image credits: Shikifood

The Raabu Achcharu is essentially radish (thinly sliced) cooked and fermented in vingar, along with red onions, green chillies, red chillies, and a mix of spices - ginger, garlic, mustard, turmeric, chilli powder, cardamom and salt. Make sure to grind the garlic, ginger and mustard into a fine paste first, with a little bit of vinegar. Then, add it into a clay pot with bubbling vinegar, cook it for a few minutes, add the rest of the spices, and later on, the other ingredients. Let the whole thing rest in a sterilised container at least for a day for a better flavour. 

Keselmuwa Achcharu

Image credits: Shikifood

The key elements in the Keselmuwa Achcharu, AKA Banana blossom pickle, includes fried banana blossom (thinly sliced), fried red onions, fried green chillies, fried halmasso karawala (dried sprats), which later get tossed into a mixture of vinegar, ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, salt, and the mustard-fennel-cumin paste infused with vinegar.

Streetside Achcharu

Image credits: Indi Samarajiva

This stuff isn't usually consumed with rice, but it's a great snack! Streetside achcharus are always fruit-based, and we at YAMU are fortunate enough to have an achcharu truck right next to our office. 

It's mandatory to avoid aluminium pots/spoons to make achcharu, as all of them involve fermenting the ingredients with vinegar. Therefore, they're commonly made in clay pots, and later sealed for fermentation to take action.

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