I’m sure if you go to your kitchen right now, you’ll probably have a jar of achar right there, sitting idly, waiting for the next meal where the spices seem a little inadequate. Achar has been a part of India’s traditional cuisines for hundreds of years now, but seems like elsewhere, people are just discovering its palette magic!
A tiny operation called Brooklyn Delhi has been manufacturing achars that the locals just can’t enough of! While achaar is a common condiment throughout India, it isn't always easy to find in the U.S. The achaars that are available tend to be very oily and they rarely use fresh ingredients. This is where Chitra Agrawal comes in, who is the founder and owner of the set up, along with her fiancé Ben Garthus. After bringing home some achaar from a trip to India, Agrawal introduced the stuff to her then-boyfriend, Garthus, who became instantly hooked. Agrawal and Garthus realized that achaar in the U.S. was not only difficult to find but lacking in comparison to the kind from India.
The best part is that Chitra makes these achars herself! She started making her own achaar with ingredients found locally in Brooklyn, and Garthus, a designer and sculptor, designed the packaging. Agrawal makes her achaar at St. John's Bread and Life, a soup kitchen, food pantry and social services non-profit in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
What makes the achars irresistible is that Chitra uses only locally farmed, organic materials which she obtains from various orchards and farms in and around New York. There are a variety of flavors, inspired by both North and South Indian cuisines (e.g. Rhubarb Ginger, Roasted Garlic,etc.)
Word is that people have started combining these achars with other food items such as tortillas, sandwiches, grilled chicken, etc. We might just be witnessing the beginning of a new global cuisine!