Growing up in the South, pimiento cheese was always an enigma. Who thinks of combining shredded cheese, mayo, and roasted red peppers into a weird but delicious spread? I took this Southern staple and gave it the OG Spice Boy makeover by incorporating my mom’s classic Indian pickling spices. Serve this with some crackers, between two slices of white bread, or toasted naan.

Farhan Momin
August 2019

Gallery

Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

active:
15 mins
total:
3 hrs 25 mins
Yield:
6
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Ingredients

ACHARI MASALA
PIMIENTO CHEESE

Directions

Make the achari masala
  • Combine coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, kalonji, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns in a small skillet.

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  • Cook over medium-high, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet, and cool completely, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a coffee grinder or spice mill, and grind to a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in chile powder.

Make the pimiento cheese
  • Stir together shredded cheeses, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimientos, and salt to taste in a medium bowl.

  • Heat oil in a small skillet over medium until shimmering. Turn off heat, and add 1 tablespoon achari masala. Allow spices to bloom in hot oil, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. (Keep an eye out at this stage; the spices can burn easily if the oil or pan is too hot.) Remove from skillet, and let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Stir spice-oil mixture into cheese mixture until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or, for best results, up to 8 hours or overnight. Serve with crackers or on toasted naan.

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