Sinhala Achcharu or Sinhala Pickle

20th September 2023

By Home Cook Sharmini Jayawardena

This is Sri Lankan cuisine. The side dish or accompaniment is to be eaten with boiled rice and curries of which Gournome abounds.

(Do not use any metallic containers or spoons when prepping a pickle. The reaction of the vinegar on metal can lead to food poisoning. Oops ! … although I use a metal spoon here. It’s stainless steel spoon.)

Sri Lankans consider the combination of mustard and vinegar to be a very potent portion. They add a piece of the moringa tree bark to the pickle to counter any toxins that may arise. Clean the outer bark, wash and dry before adding the murunga pottha to the pickle.


2 medium sized carrots

½ unripe papaya

10 green chilies (From my garden. Cut them in half if they are too long.)

25 small or red onions (The Indian variety)

2 tbsp mustard seeds

Water for soaking mustard seeds

300 ml white vinegar

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp granulated white sugar


1.First, soak the mustard seeds in water for about 20 minutes.

2.Wash all wet ingredients, clean and cut into pieces like so ⬇️

Check this out ⬇️ This is how beautiful it looks when you cut open a unripe papaya in half:

3.Strain the water out and pound the mustard seeds to a paste. Set aside.

Usually this is done on a grinding stone ⬇️.

4.The next step is to parboil all the cut ingredients in vinegar. I used my terracotta pot for this.

5.Parboiling the cut ingredients in vinegar in my terracotta pot.

6.This is how it all looks after parboiling ⬇️

All the ingredients should be crisp to the crunch.

7.Transfer the mustard paste into a glass bowl and add sea salt, white sugar and chilli powder. Mix well.

8.Add all the parboiled ingredients into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Check for seasoning.



Your pickle is ready. Let it cool down completely before bottling the pickle.

9. Refrigerate.



This pickle has been around the kitchens and on tables of numerous Sri Lankan homes especially on auspicious occasions. Although the health gurus say that white vinegar pickles do not have the health benefits of probiotics and prebiotics, I’m sure the humble pickle with vinegar and mustard as in the Sri Lankan version and the pure white vinegar delicacy as in the Vietnamese version, both, definitely have their very own place in the health benefits area.

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