As a tangy and spicy side condiment or as a main course with bread, the ‘Achard Legumes’ is a favourite dish among Mauritians.
The Blurry Origin of Pickled Vegetables
Achard Legumes, translating to Pickled Vegetables, is one of the variations of pickles. In Mauritius, different pickles are made, and this particular one includes vegetables. The origin of the word is not clear. It could be named after the Indian word for pickles, Achaar, or probably stemmed from the term Atcharu, a Tamilian word. Though, the word “achard” itself seems to originate from Persia.
Instead of asking questions, Mauritians simply acknowledge that it is Achard Legumes, and savour it. It is commonly called ‘Zassar Legim’ by locals. Moreover, it is a staple in Mauritian Cuisine. For non- citizens, however, it remains rather an exotic food.
Achard Legumes (Pickled Vegetables)- The Versatile Dish
Achard legumes our own local version of pickled vegetables, is one of the best foods to prepare, considering that it can be consumed in different ways. Its versatility is what makes it such a commonly eaten food in Mauritius, let alone its amazing taste. It goes well with so many meals as a side dish, and could even be a main course, or one can go crazy and use it as topping for some other Mauritian dishes. Even KFC was charmed by this flavourful dish and at some point was offering a special edition burger with ‘Zassar Legim’ in.
Whether with the renowned, mouth- watering Rougaille, or a tasty non- veg curry, Achard Legumes makes a great accompaniment. Or else, it can be stuffed into bread or sandwiched between bread slices. It can even accompany your typical rice- curry meal, or eaten with Dhal Puri or Roti. Simply put, Pickled Vegetables is a fun and appetizing way of including vegetables in your diet.
On top of that, you can practically find Achard Legumes at most street vendors around the capital, or even in many villages since it is usually rolled up in Roti or Dhal puri.
How to prepare Mauritian Achard Legumes (Pickled Vegetables)
As mentioned, Mauritian Achard Legumes is fairly easy to prepare. All you need to do is to slice your vegetables thinly; that is beans, carrots and cabbages. You might as well add other vegetables of your choice such as cauliflower.
Next is to soak the vegetables in salted boiling water, drain them and quickly dip them in cold water to keep the crunchiness of the veggies. Mix in some grated garlic and season to taste.
Now is the time to mix in some flavourful Pickle Spices, that is a tempting blend of turmeric powder and mustard seeds. Turmeric is known for its amazing antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties, so don’t hesitate to add as much as you desire, careful to to stain your clothes while doing so.
The last few steps is to add another super ingredient- olive oil. Stir until the vegetable slices are evenly coated with the luscious shiny spice and oil mix. All that's left now is to sprinkle some sliced chillies on top. Taste away! And add more salt or more heat with the chillies as per your taste.
Your very own Mauritian Cuisine- Achard Legumes is now ready to serve!