Nepalese tomato achar

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 x 250 ml


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

A favourite among Nepal’s many ethnic communities, achar increases the appetite and is generally eaten as a side dish with roti, or dhal bhat tarkari (lentils with rice and vegetable curry), enhancing the flavour of the whole meal. Try dolloping it on your curries; it’s also great spread on burgers and wraps. Add a splash of lemon juice if you’d like it tangy.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes


  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1–2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)


Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok over medium–low heat. Once the pan is hot, add the whole tomatoes to the dry pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning as necessary, until the skins are slightly wrinkled and split.

Add the chillies to the pan and dry roast them for a further few minutes.

Remove the tomatoes and chillies from the pan. Roughly chop the tomatoes, and chop the chillies a bit more finely.

Heat the rice bran oil in the pan and add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, ginger and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until the fenugreek seeds are just browning. Add the cumin, ground coriander, tomatoes and chillies, stirring well. Cook over medium–low heat for about 10 minutes, until there is no liquid left, and the mixture is like a thick paste.

Stir the chopped coriander through just before serving.

This chutney is best served straight away, but will keep for a day or two in the fridge.