Beef Pickle Kerala Style / Erachi Achar
Beef pickle – The most appetizing form of eating meat.
When the rest of the world boasts of beef dishes and jerky they are surprised to find Kerala cow boys have been catering to the needs of the carnivores (people)with indigenous fresh and dry meat ( unakkal erachi)aka beef jerky since ages. Now all those boys have moved to the Gulf in search of greener pastures and the TN boys have taken over from them to supply.
Kerala, the melting pot has accepted carnivores of all faiths since the time of seafarers. Allowed them to cook meat to their liking without much taboos which has resulted in some of the most sort after delicacies.
Beef pickle mostly made with the sun dried variety can be kept in room temperature submerged in oil for long periods. Then there is the urgent need for pickle that is taken care of by frying the meat to perfection that’s what we have done here.
How to cut beef into small pieces ?
It is economical to buy a large piece of meat and slice it yourself or ask store’s meat dept butcher to cut it into small cubes (smaller than stew size) If u are going to do it then if the meat is not frozen freeze for 20-30 minutes until slightly firm on touch.This gives a firm grip to hold while cutting , gives similar sized pieces and cooks uniformly later. Use a serrated knife or kitchen shears for best results and cut into even cubes ( about 2 cm ). Place a damp newspaper or paper napkin under the cutting board to avoid it from sliding away and helps clean up too easier. If the meat is frozen then do not thaw the meat entirely instead start working when it is still slightly firm as stated above.Test if the knife is sliding in well first (do not apply too much force it will shred the meat)
Beef -1 lb (choose lean cut) I like sirloin
Vegetable oil / sesame oil / coconut oil-3-4 tbsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece+ 1 inch piece (crushed)
Garlic -3 pods (slit into 2 if big cloves)
Vinegar – 3 tbsp
(Some people like a little meat masala and fennel powder both 1/2 or so I have not added here)
The pickle should stay good for a month on the counter in room temperature if it is put properly( without any moisture content in beef or spices used)
***Note: If beef is not fried well till it becomes crisp (not burnt) the pickle will get spoilt fast.
How to check if beef is fried well? If u take a piece in ur hand it should feel hollow like a fried bread piece. If u bite into it it should be crispy and not soft inside.