Ats Jaar, or Achar

Mixed pickles in the Indian manner have graced Lowcountry tables for centuries. In my childhood Charleston restaurants set tables with a tray of the bright ochre vegetables, cured in a bath of salt, turmeric, and vinegar. All sorts of vegetables not included here may be added, including asparagus and bell peppers. Some cucumbers, if too ripe, will become soft in the mixture, but when served as a condiment alongside complex rice dishes such as Country Captain they are delightful nonetheless. This recipe must be begun at least one day ahead.


For the Vegetables

  • 1 cup pure salt
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • ½ pound fresh young green beans, trimmed
  • 1 pound (about ¼ head) green cabbage, cut into small pieces
  • pounds small cucumbers, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 pounds , broken into small flowerets
  • ¼ pound peeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound (about 7 ribs) celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ pound radishes, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 pound small (about 8 egg-sized) onions, peeled and halved or left whole if smaller
  • ½ pound (about 5 heads) garlic cloves, peeled

For the Pickling Solution

  • ¼ pound (about 5 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 3 or 4 fresh or pickled chili peppers (1 for every other jar)
  • ½ gallon white vinegar


To prepare the vegetables, dissolve the salt in the water, then pour over the prepared vegetables in a nonreactive pot (unchipped enamel, glazed crockery, or stainless steel). Let stand overnight, at least 12 hours.

The next day, drain the vegetables well, then pack into hot sterile jars. Bring the pickling solution to a boil and pour over the vegetables to ¼ inch from the top of the jars. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes or refrigerate for a few days before eating.