Spotlight: Chai Wallah Achaar

We’ve been big fans of Chai Wallah for quite some time (if you couldn’t tell by the chai on our menu and our shelves) - but when they announced that they were producing a new product called Achaar, our love grew more than we knew possible…not unlike when the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes in one day!

We spoke with the Chai Wallah masterminds and got the story behind what inspired them to start cooking up batches of this lesser-known condiment...

“When we started Chai Wallah, it was about two things: brewing a delicious cup of spicy, aromatic, authentic Indian tea and creating opportunities for women experiencing homelessness and poverty to do meaningful work for a fair wage.

As we learned about The Nashville Food Project and their Growing Together program we wanted to to find a way to join them in their mission of creating urban agricultural jobs for refugees from Bhutan and Burma.

But you can't grow tea in Middle Tennessee.

One thing we love at home is a jar of southeast asian "pickle," also called "achaar." It's tart, hot, spicy and goes great on daal, vegetables, or just plain basmati rice with yogurt.

So we worked with The Nashville Food Project to source tomatoes and got a cooking lesson from some of the Bhutanese refugee farmers that they partner with.

We came up with two Achaar recipes that we love. One is a traditional Bhutanese achaar that's light and spicy with Ginger and cumin (we call it 'Ama's Achaar'). The other is a classic Indian achaar with tamarind, fenugreek, and garlic. This second variety (which we call 'Anyam's Achaar') is currently available at Crema on Avocado Toast and in jars.

For every batch, we source tomatoes from Growing Together.

We’ve been carrying Anyam's Achaar on our shelves and featuring it on an avocado toast special for a couple months now, but after keeping it in our own homes for awhile, we realized how versatile it is - truly, we’ve tried it on EVERYTHING. Caring is sharing, so we wanted to share with you some of the many ways we’ve found ourselves using it at home

Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 TBS milk (can sub with unsweetened dairy-free milk)
  • 1-2 tsp Spicy Tomato Achaar
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt + pinch black pepper
  • Oil/Fat of choice to cook in (ghee, butter, coconut oil, etc)
  1. Preheat pan over medium and add enough of your cooking fat to coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Beat eggs, milk, achaar, sea salt & pepper until combined.
  3. Pour eggs into the pan and fold eggs over themselves until they are mostly cooked.
  4. Remove from heat 30 seconds before you think eggs are done and allow them to carry over cooking in the heated pan before serving.
  5. Serve with avocado and micro greens (and more Achaar, if you’re really feelin’ it!)

Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 2-4

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 8 oz ground meat of your choice (or crumbled organic tempeh for a vegan option!)
  • 1 TBS Achaar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish/deliciousness
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice Zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeded middle.
  3. In a sauté pan on the stovetop heat up 1/2 TBS cooking oil over medium-high heat. Once warm, add ground meat or tempeh.
  4. Add the spices from sea salt through cardamom as the meat/tempeh browns.
  5. Remove from heat and add the achaar to your stovetop mixture.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture into your zucchini boats and place on a baking sheet or in a glass baking dish.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until zucchini is tender, but not falling apart.
  8. Remove from oven, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Heavenly Sandwich

Oh hey! This needs no recipe - make a sandwich and spread achaar on one (or both!) of your pieces of bread before assembling said sandwich. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven (share a bite with the angels!)

Spicy Tomato Salad Dressing
Makes about ½ cup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (sub in 2TBS flax oil to get your healthy on!)
  • 2 TBS Brown Rice Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 1/2 TBS Spicy Tomato Achaar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (~2tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper
  • (Add 1TBS Tahini if you want it to be a creamy-style dressing)
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or jar and blitz/shake until well-combined. (If using tahini, you may have to add a little water to thin out)
  2. Pour over salad ingredients and toss - ENJOY!