Achari is a popular Coasterian candy, dessert or snack. It is often sold on the streets (come to think of it, I’ve never come across it on any of the popular supermarkets) in sachets ranging from as low as KShs. 20.
The candy is basically made from dried mango strips either sold plain or dipped in red food colour flavoured with sugar and chilli.
To get the perfect Achari, one needs to select a medium-ripe mango, this is because well ripened mangoes often give rise to achari that seems a bit fermented. The mango variety is also critical as it is the main determinant of how your achari will taste.
After selecting the perfect mango, peel the skin then chop the flesh into thin strips. The strips are then sun dried out in the open for about 2-7 days until they are dehydrated depending on how hot the sun is. At this point, your achari is ready for consumption if you want it plain.
To create the candied type, soak the mango strips in a warm concentrated sugar and food colouring solution for a couple of hours until the pieces are completely saturated with the mixture (The kitchen is probably the only place where you’ll apply that Osmosis knowledge you learnt in Biology on a daily). Repeat the process as with the plain achari.
There are many ways to kill a rat when it comes to cooking, what matters is the end result. Some people usually do the complete opposite; i.e. drying the strips first, soaking them in the sugar and colouring solution, then dry the strips again.
NB//: I’ve never actually tried either method, so I’ll let you be the judge on which one of the two is more effective. Give it a try and let me know, ok?