Achard légumes is a Mauritian mixed vegetable pickle that originates from the Indian dish, achaar.
Though it took me a long time to acquire an appreciation for the taste of achard légumes, its place on the table in my family is a nostalgic one. This bright yellow, orange and green dish has been present at almost every large family gathering and for me, conjures the same comforting summer feels as strawberries and cream.
Achard légumes is one of the best side dishes you can make because it compliments such a wide variety of meals. It can be eaten with a curry or rougaille along with many other side dishes, or it can be eaten with a roti (Mauritian flat bread) or fresh bread, it can go into a sandwich or on a salad and it goes great with a BBQ or a cheese board. It’s a really flavoursome way to bring a variety of vegetables to whatever you’re eating.
Just like the rougaille recipe I shared last month, this achard légumes recipe is my Mum’s, so there are variations. Her adaptation is that she doesn’t use vinegar or cauliflower because my Papa, her Dad, didn’t like it so he didn’t use it. Many of the tweaks to our Mauritian recipes come from my Papa not having liked something!
This achard légumes can last up to two weeks if refrigerated if you do the following:
Fry all of the onion as this recipe tells you to. Some recipes will tell you to only fry half and add the rest in raw but this makes the achard watery and it won’t preserve for as long.
Add salt just before eating. Salt will also make the achard watery and again, it won’t last as long.
Prep your vegetables the day before you are planning to cook it. By allowing the vegetables to dry out overnight, the achard will last longer.
I almost forgot to point out, though you will be able to work it out from the ingredients list below, it’s vegan and vegetarian!
This recipe will serve 4-6 people.
3 stringless flat beans
1/4 small white cabbage
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 fresh or dry chilli (add more if you want the achard to have more of a kick)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fresh turmeric (can be dry if you can’t get hold of fresh)
2 tsp fresh ginger
4 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper
A wok or a large saucepan
Large cooking spoon (black or metal, keep in mind that the turmeric will stain it)
When it comes to washing these up, use an old tea towel as the turmeric will stain it.
1. Prepare your vegetables a day before and allow them to dry out.
Julienne the carrots and beans.
Shred the cabbage.
Cut the chilli(es) in half, lengthways. If you don’t like too much spice then remove the seeds, if you don’t mind then keep them in.
2. When you are ready to cook, peel and finely slice the shallots, mince the garlic and ginger and grate the turmeric.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the wok/frying pan on a medium heat and fry the shallots.
4. Add the garlic, turmeric, mustard seeds, chilli, pepper and ginger and stir through. Let them heat through for a few minutes to release their flavour.
5. Add the carrots and beans. Stir frequently so they get covered with the spices.
6. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil along with the cabbage and cook it until it wilts. The length of time you cook your achard really depends on whether you want the vegetables to be crunchy or soft. The longer you cook it, the softer it gets, so stop cooking it when you are happy. We cook ours for about 10mins so there’s still a little crunch.
7. Serve with your food of choice! Add salt just before eating.
8. Pop the rest into a container (be mindful that this pickle will stain plastic) and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Bon appétit, Gabriella