03 November, 2011

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar | Stuffed Red Chilli Pepper Pickle Recipe

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar
We Indian’s LOVE our pickles. Period.

I know I should stop here but I just can’t stop leave it when the topic in question is one of my most favourite things. Given a choice, I am among those who can rant on for hours and also end up writing PhD thesis on the subject of pickles. My love for pickle is talking point among my loved ones who know my weakness for this irresistible treats. When God created me, he forgot to give me sweet tooth. Instead I was blessed with a taste bud that swirls around doing Tango when it meets its love, irresistible spicy pickle. I know that there are many people out there who are just like me, who love pickles more than any sweet desserts and delights.

Come summer, my mother gets busy with a preparation for big batch of tender mango pickles along with lime, hog plums and Indian gooseberries. All her pickle recipes have zero oil in their preparation. Tender mangoes are pickled in simple brine till their skin wrinkles and all the juice from brine is absorbed. Then they are stored in large ceramic jars immersed in spicy pickle base of red chillies, mustard, methi/fenugreek seeds and some other selected aromatic spices depending on my Amma’s mood. A handful of sea salt is spread on top and the thin muslin cloth covers its mouth before the ceramic jar is tightly sealed and stored in cool, dark place for the flavours to develop. These pickles lasted for a year or two depending on how much it was packed for other family friends and family members. I pretty much grew up eating these no-oil pickles for every course. I even fought shamelessly with my siblings and dad if they took out the biggest mango from pickle jar! Person who got the largest piece of mango was in a same situation as the target for shooting squad! He or she was blamed and little bullied till the next meal was served and then the target was shifted to other person who got the biggest piece of pickle. Our dining table was a battle field where every one of us fought for the best piece of pickle!!! That much power was bestowed on a small piece of pickle!

We Indians take pride in our large pickle recipe collections. When it comes to pickle, there is no boundary or no language barrier. Unlike the pickle we get in western countries where vegetables are stored in brine with few selected herbs, the Indian pickle is a whole different story where we use a bounty of aromatic herbs and spices. Come summer, we get busy pickling raw, tangy tender mangoes in all forms, flavours and shapes followed by Lemon, Lime, Hog Plums, Amla (Indian Gooseberry), Cucumbers, Ginger, Garlic, Sweet Dates, Chillies and winter vegetables. And the best part is each state, every region, and then every individual house has their own secret pickle recipe to tantalise one’s taste buds. Some use good glug of oil in their pickles and some don’t. While the pickles from Andhra Pradesh, a south Indian state, are super hot and spicy, some regions are famous for their sweet lime, mango and dates pickles. Some are instant pickles while many develop their flavour over a period of time. There are so many varieties of pickles when it comes to taste, method of preparation etc that you are spoilt for choices. Well, I am not going to complain about it! :) After all our taste buds enjoys such treats that makes them tingle and dance in joy!

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Today I am sharing one such pickle that makes a lasting impression on your taste buds. This Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar or stuffed red chilli pepper pickle with aromatic Indian spices is from Rajani’s wonderful blog Eat Write Think. Glossy and gorgeous winter Red Chillies are stuffed with slow roasted and coarsely ground aromatic spices. Few days in direct sunlight and you have one of best tasting, finger-licking good pickle to jazz up any boring meal. This Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar may sound fiery hot due to the main ingredient used in this pickle, which is chilli peppers. But these winter Red Chilli Peppers surprisingly mellows as they absorbs the flavours of spices used in stuffing. And not to forget the fact that these chilli peppers are deseeded before stuffing with coarsely ground spice mixtures. If you don’t get red chillies, simply substitute them with any mild green chilli peppers. But you are quite adventurous and like your pickle really spicy, go for hot varieties or simply leave the seeds. I made few changes to the recipe by omitting few ingredients, substituting other and adding some other ingredients. Original recipe uses pungent and very aromatic Mustard Seed Oil. Alternatively you can use Sesame Seed Oil or Olive Oil. I simply used good quality vegetable oil. And also, original recipe uses a tbsp of Vinegar or Sirka while mixing the coarsely ground spice mixture for stuffing. Since I am not a big fan of vinegar in my pickles, I simply omitted it. Also the addition of Amchur Powder or Dry Mango Powder is optional as the original recipe doesn’t call for it. The result is one of the delicious and very simple Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar that not just teased my taste buds but made it into one of my favourite top pickle chart!

Red Chilli Peppers for Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Aromatic and colourful spices used for making Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Slow roasted spices for stuffing Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar (Stuffed Red Chilli Pepper Pickle with aromatic Indian spices)
Prep Time: 20-30 mins
Cooking Time: 5-10 mins
Resting Time: 5-10 days depending on the amount of sunlight you get
Makes: One large jar
Recipe Level: Easy to Intermediary
Spice Level: Fiery Hot
Recipe Source: Eat Write Think
Shelf Life: Up to 6 months in an air tight container when refrigerated
Serving Suggestions: Goes well with Stuffed Parathas or Rice & Dal/Yogurt

18-20 Long (winter) Red Chillies
1 cup Oil (Sesame/Mustard/Vegetable Oil)

For The Spice Mix & Stuffing:
2 tbsp Fennel Seeds
1½ tbsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1½ tbsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
2 tbsp Mustard Seeds
½ tbsp Kalonji/Nigella Seeds
1 tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
2 tbsp Amchur Powder/Dry Mango Powder (Optional)
¼ - ½ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
3-4 tbsp Salt (I used Sea Salt)
2 tbsp Oil (Sesame/Mustard/Vegetable Oil)

Coasly ground spice mixture for stuffing Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Prepare the Spice Mix:
  1. Take fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and nigella seeds in a pan and dry roast them on low heat till you can smell the aromatic spices, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to a clean dry plate and let them cool to room temperature.
  2. Once cooled, transfer all the roasted spices along with turmeric powder, dry mango powder and hing in a mixer or spice grinder and pulse it 3-4 times to make coarse spice mix. Make sure that you don’t grind them to smooth powder. Add salt and about 2 tbsp of Oil and mix them well. The spice mix for stuffing is ready.
Proceed to make pickle:
  1. Wash the chilli peppers under running water and dry them completely by spreading them on kitchen towel. Make sure that there is no moisture/dampness on the chillies as any water content will reduce the shelf life of any pickle.
  2. Once the chilli peppers are completely dry, slit them right through the middle and deseed them. Make sure that the joints are intact as you will be stuffing them with aromatic ground spice mixture. You can either remove the stalks or just leave them as I did. And also if you like your pickle fiery hot, you can retain the seeds for fire in the mouth, literally! ;)
  3. Stuff the chillies with coarsely ground spice mixture you had prepared earlier. Make sure that you stuff the chillies all the way.
  4. Once you have finished stuffing all the chillies, place them vertically in a clean and dry sterilised jar and pour about a cup of oil (mustard/sesame/vegetable or olive oil) over them and seal the lid.if you have any spice mixture left, just add it to the jar before sealing the lid.
  5. Place them in direct sunlight for 3-5 days. if you live in a place where sunlight is at premium or a luxury and it rains most of the time, place the jar in a windowsill where the sunlight filter through for most of the day. Your pickle should get ready in about 10-14 days.
  6. You can serve this delicious Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar with Rice or Stuffed Parathas and Dal, simple lentil soup. I like mine with steaming bowl of fluffy rice and chilled yogurt!

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar: Pickled and Ready

Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar

Sia’s Notes:
  • Original recipe uses 1 tbsp Vinegar when preparing ground spice mixture. I simply omitted it.
  • Addition of Amchur Powder or Dry Mango Powder is optional. I used it as I like my pickle to have little tangy taste.
  • You can destalk the chillies before stuffing as mentioned in original recipe. Also if you like your pickle really spicy, you can leave the seeds on. This variety of red chilli pepper is milder compared to green chilli peppers.
  • You can also use mild green chillies in place of red varieties.
  • Make sure that the chillies are completely dried and there is no moisture or dampness as they will reduce the shelf life of the pickle. Also make sure your hands, chopping board and the knife too are clean and dry.
  • Use large clean, dry, air tight and sterilised glass bottles for storing the Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar.
  • You can store this Bharwan Mirch ka Achaar in refrigerator for up to six months in an air tight jar.


  1. Oh my, this's fabulous! I LOVE it. Totally! And the pictures are GORGEOUS!

  2. Mmmm.. I am a sucker for delicious mirch ka achaar. Slather it on a hot and crisp paratha with a cuppa Joe or chai, I am set for a great day :)

    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

  3. An amazing recipe! Your pictures are wonderful too.



  4. Oh wow I love your pctures and my husband would love this pickel. I ought to try it!

    I saw that u add Hing to the pickel, isnt that suppose to be unhealthy chemical? thats whatI was told here at least.

    That you stuff the chillies makes it for sure a treat!

  5. Beautiful!! It indeed looks addictive.. Love those red chillies!!

  6. A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E! Love it.
    Gorgeous pics:)

  7. Omg, cant take my eyes from those beautiful clicks, hot fiery achaar..

  8. Yumm!! I make bharawan mirchi aachar every year!! In fact, we are enjoying last year's batch now a days :)

  9. beautiful, red chillies looks so good in every shot and I love bharwan mirch ke achar

  10. Sia, wow mouth watering pickle dosen't seem complex at all. bookmarked

  11. I made a similar red chili pickle a month ago! I got the recipe from Indian Simmer and the pickle has turned out fab! I am not planning on blogging it though :)
    I used the traditional mustard oil as I love the pungent flavor!

  12. These pickles looks so yummy and love the way u write up the post:)

  13. I made this today and it is awesome

  14. Thank u all

    Helen, Hing is not unhealthy. Infact, it aids in digestion process. It's a resin and usually sold as either solid or powdered form. Many in India who are pure vegetarians and avoid using onions and garlic use hing in cooking as it acquires a taste and aroma reminiscent of sauteed onion and garlic. It's true that you will be extremely lucky to get pure hing in powdered form as usually it has ground rice in it. I usually get my hing from India.

    AA_mon, that was so quick. I am reaaly happy to kw u liked it :)

  15. This is a brilliant recipe, Sia. I can smell the heavenly aroma from the spices and the stuffed chili pickles by just looking at the pictures. Spicy stuff but addictive at the same time. Thank God for savory and tangy stuff as well!

  16. i love this pickle.. usually get some loads of it sent from my in laws ever year.. but someday i should make my own! all those spices and hing! yumm!
    Richa @Hobby And More Food Blog

  17. Following this recipe for the third time, over the past 3 years! Simply amazing. Thank you for the recipe and the beautiful pictures that made me want to try it in the first place :)


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