Chitra Agarwal is the co-founder of Brooklyn Delhi, along with her partner Ben Garthus. Together, they make achaar, a traditional Indian relish. I met them recently at the Gluten Free Eat UP and picked up a jar of their tomato achaar.
When I crave anything, it’s usually either chocolate or Indian food. So on one of my Indian craving days recently, I popped open my jar, smeared the thick red sauce over two nice chicken breasts, and placed them in the slow cooker on low heat. About four hours later, I served the chicken over rice with a side of peas. The chicken breast cooked in the oil from the achaar, and the relish itself caramelized as it cooked down. It filled our mouths with flavor and heat, leaving no tastebud unturned.
“Sometimes achaar is referred to as ‘Indian pickle’ because technically the fruits and veg are pickled in the oil, salt and spices,” says Chitra. “Because it’s intense, usually, you just put a little on top of rice, curry or smeared on bread. I use less salt, oil and chili then traditional recipes so the flavor of the fruits and veg come out!”
Like most Indian food, achaar is not anything I would ever attempt to make at home because it is so complex. (The ingredients are listed as: fresh tomatoes, sesame oil, non-GMO canola oil, garlic, salt, red chili powder, tamarind, black mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, asafetida, and unrefined cane sugar.) Luckily, I can continue to use it straight out of the jar! I actually used about 3 times too much as I should have on those chicken breasts. It’s only a 6 ounce jar, but it packs a lot of powerful flavors.
Brooklyn Delhi is currently making small batches of Tomato, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Garlic and Rhubarb Achaar. They will have their Gooseberry Achaar in July, when Wilklow Orchards, which happens to be one of my favorite farms, brings them to market.
“With my products,” Chitra says, “I’m applying Indian cooking techniques to local vegetables and fruits, hence the rhubarb and American gooseberries.”
Pick up your own jars of on Saturdays at Smorgasburg through June! The Brooklyn Delhi website features many beautiful recipes and an online shop. Chitra also publishes the blog, The ABCD’s of Cooking, and she is working on a cookbook too, about traditional Indian cooking using local ingredients. I can’t wait till it comes out!
Weekend Market Picks:
Saturday, June 14, 2014
South Bronx Farmers Market: OPENING DAY! I was so happy to learn about this new farmers market in the South Bronx. The market opens this weekend with a great group of vendors, including Mimomex, Tello’s Green Farm and Nolasco Farm. It runs every Saturday through November 22, rain or shine! 10AM – 4PM, 138th Street between Willis and Alexander Avenues, South Bronx
Staten Island Mall Greenmarket: As if you needed a reason to go to the Staten Island mall, this convenient farmers market opened for the season just last weekend. Although it is fairly small by New York City standards, it brings fresh, regional produce, honey, baked goods, dairy products and meats to the borough. Plus, you can get my favorite apple cider donuts from Orchards of Concklin, a farm that has been run by the same family since 1637! 8AM – 3PM, Staten Island Mall, inside the main entrance parking lot on Richmond Avenue, Staten Island
Stoops Bed Stuy: This event celebrates the cultural heritage of the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood. It is going to be a day of dance, art, crafts and hanging out with neighbors, just like the good old days on front stoops throughout Brooklyn. 12PM – 5PM, Freebrook Mansion at 375 Stuyvesant Avenue, and Bed-Stuy Restoration West Plaza at Marcy Ave. & Fulton Street, Brooklyn
Vegan Shop Up: Back for its monthly market event, the Vegan Shop Up has another amazing lineup of fine vegan food purveyors, body products and apparel. If you are vegan or vegetarian, this place is your playground. If you simply love really amazing food, you need to go too! 12PM – 6PM, Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street, Brooklyn
Saturday & Sunday, June 14 & 15, 2014
American Crafts at Lincoln Center: Back for its second weekend of the summer event, this fine craft market is nestled along both sides of the Metropolitan Opera House. I visited last week, and I was impressed as usual with the consistently fine quality of handmade artisan crafts. Some of the clothing was so unique, and the jewelry was fabulous. If you are looking for great and unique design, then Lincoln Center is where you need to go this weekend. Saturday 12PM – 9PM, Sunday 10AM-9PM, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
PS 321 Park Slope Flea Market: The Park Slope outpost of the Brooklyn Flea is the continuation of a venerable flea market has taken place in that location for decades. Many of the original flea and vintage vendors are there each weekend, along with find handmade artisans and local food purveyors. Take your time at this market, and then stroll along charming 7th Avenue. 10AM – 5PM, PS 321, 180 Seventh Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets, Brooklyn
Sunday, June 15, 2015
7th Heaven Street Fair: This long street fair is one of the rare events that are both in and of the neighborhood. By that, I mean that the local shops participate by expanding into the street. Local artisans also set up their tables and sell beautiful jewelry, fashion, decor and much more. This is the 40th year for the event, so they’re obviously doing something right! 12PM – 6PM, 7th Avenue between 18th Street and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
See you at the markets!
~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City