What is Nepali food without a dash of ‘achar’? In recent years there has been an emergence of startups taking the responsibility to spice up the Nepali “dal-bhat” with their own traditional yet unorthodox range of ‘achars’. Arambha’s Homemade Achar is one such venture.
Long time friends Dikshya Shrestha, Dixita Vaidya, and Japa Vaidya, all ‘achar’ enthusiasts, got the idea for it when a relative loved a pickle the trio had made during their free time. What followed were questions about how and where the pickle could be purchased. And eight months later, Arambha’s Homemade Achar became a registered enterprise with four employees under the establishment and more order requests piling up every day.
They do free home delivery within the ring road and customize their products to suit their customer’s taste. Dikshya says, “Satisfying our customer’s tastes is our primary aim. Since everyone has different taste palates and thus their own preferences, we try and accommodate our products according to how one likes it.” She further adds that, to this day, they have used products from particular vendors, experimented with new ingredients, and adjusted their spices according to the requests of their customers.
What separates them from the tens of startups these days is their use of organic ingredients that are supplied from the very best sources in the market, “We use no preservatives,” claims Dixita adding, “I think it adds to the appeal of our products. We promote ourselves as a home-based enterprise and we make ‘achars’ as we would want them. We aim to deliver good quality pickles and we have been pretty much successful in achieving that.”
Tagging itself as a brand focused in providing women opportunities to earn on their own, Arambha’s Homemade Achar comprises of an all female staff with the exception of a male delivery personnel. “Should we feel the need to broaden our workforce, we will look for female workers who wish to make good use of their idle time,” says Dixita.
Rekha Jha is in charge of the preparation and is as much of a patron to the enterprise as the cofounders. Recounting episodes of spending office off hours peeling garlic and chopping onions late into the night, the team has brought out a range of ‘achars’ varying from chicken to mangoes, chilies to pork and also the hard-to-get ‘badel’. They claim to supply the freshest of pickles, clarifying that they do not really have the chance of storing up their products due to the demand.
They have hopes of expanding into snacks and other Nepal-centric food items like ‘gundruk’ and ‘mashyaura’ but remain mindful of retaining their core principles of promoting everything homemade. “There are more opportunities in Nepal than people realize,” says Dikshya adding, “The Nepali market is extremely experimental and the customers do not hesitate to try something new. So experimenting is always a good idea but it’s a gradual process that requires patience and persistence.”
They have plans of launching their own website very soon and currently have an outlet at Prazada, a restaurant in Baluwatar, Kathmandu, to allow sample tasting of their products. “We want to reach out to more people to remind them of the authentic Nepali taste,” concludes Dixita.