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Category Archives: Pickles

Mixed Vegetable Pickle

Mixed Vegetable Pickle

In pursuit of a perfect pickle!

In days of yore,  pickle making was almost a community activity. People lived in sprawling, independent houses, and there were  huge lawns and open spaces or verandahs . After the daily chores were done, women folk  in colorful attires, from neighbourhood  would come together on sunny afternoons. They would peel the vegetables, and pound the spices manually and sip ginger tea in yera  glasses  while also exchanging gossips as the kids played  a home- invented game of gulli-danda, or  fought over  bantas or marbles .

Soon the vegetables would be neatly arranged,  to be dried under the warm winter Indian sun, on an old cotton sari placed on  a manji ( old-time wooden cot).

Alas, I was never a part of  that talented pickle brigade.   While they spiced up their lives, I was romancing with my Mills and Boon books. But, now when  I look back ,  I wish I had picked up the nuances!

I have regrets that I never learnt the basics from our next door Punjabi neighbor, er  who we lovingly addressed as bua ji (paternal aunt), while the rest  came under  a common nomenclature of bebe ji ( granny) in Dehra Dun. But a collage of memories of those pickling days continues to haunt me.

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Fast forward, four decades later… I find myself in pursuit of a perfect pickle just to recreate some magic for my now phoren son’s desi palate..He is the only one in the family who has a sweet pickle tooth.

For days, I have been on a pickling spree, and this is my offering of sweet pickle recipe which left me satisfied and happy with my experiments.

Well, in an Indian kitchen, rarely would you find us( at least my generation)  measuring and weighing the ingredients.  All measurements are eyeballed or as we say, andaaj se, a pinch of this and a dash of that…

so you may adjust the spices to your liking.

There are no hard and fast rules, feel free to innovate and experiment with the basic recipe given below:

Ingredients

2 cups carrots

2 cups turnip

2 cups cauliflower

6 tb sp ginger

4 tbsp garlic

1 ½ tbsp mustard powder

1 ½ tbsp red chilly powder

1 ½  tbsp garam masala

1 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp salt

1 cup jaggery/gur ( sugar can also be substituted)

¾ cup white vinegar

½ cup  mustard oil

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Directions

Peel and chop the vegetables and wash well.

Remember the carrots to be cut into sticks, turnips as circles or semi circles, and cauliflower into small florets.

Blanch for a minute in salted water.

Drain the vegetables and let it dry completely.( Place in a cotton towel or sun dry to remove the moisture completely)

Take a pan, add the vinegar and jaggery and give it a boil till jaggery dissolves. Let it cool.

Take a wok, add some mustard oil, heat it to a smoking point and then switch off the gas.

Add some mustard seeds, ginger-garlic paste, and switch on the gas again. Add the spices, and vegetables and finally the vinegar-jaggery liquid. Give a stir, and switch off the gas.

After it has cooled down, transfer the pickle to a glass jar. It would be ready to eat in 3 to 4 days. Would stay good for at least 6 months.

Serve it with aloo paratha… and enjoy!

(source: a hand me down recipe, with modifications after innumerable spoon licking sessions in my kitchen)

Red Chilly Pickle

Red Chilly Pickle

photo-47Whether it’s the humble dal- chawal ( lentil and rice) or the paratha, ( Indian bread) , no Indian meal can be complete without a dollop of pickle!
At the very outset, let me explain that  I  not a pickle expert, but every time I would pass by the vegetable vendor, I would eye those ruby-red chillies and would be drawn to them. Finally, I mustered up enough courage to buy some six chillies for my debut experiments in pickle making!

I wanted to exchange notes with my neighbor….pickle?She screwed her nose. So I thought it would be best to utilize the google power and finally I came to an unintimidating recipe for the mother of all pickles…aka Stuffed Red Chillies Pickle! Got the recipe approved by my mother in law, exchanged notes, and once I had a go from my mom in law, all hell broke loose in my kitchen!
Mustard oil, vinegar…. rush for grinding the spices, sterilizing the jars…I was twirling on my toes like my li’l grand-daughter, when she pirouettes for her ballet!
So this recipe is for all those first timers, taking their first leap in the art of pickle making! Believe me, it’s doable and worth finger licking! If I can do it, so can you.
Before I go any further, let me add that traditionally, Indian pickles are made in Mustard Oil, but you can always go for Olive Oil. Also, you can play up with the spice quotient, to suit your taste.
Try the recipe and do let me know how you like it. As for me, here I am sitting with my fingers crossed, eyeing my shiny  red chillies swimming in a sea of mustard oil….well, as they say, the proof of the pickle is in the eating and for that I have to wait!

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Ingredients

Red chillies 500 grams
Mustard oil 2 tb spoons (plus 1/4 cup for later use)
White vinegar 1 tbsp
Salt 2 tsp ( by mistake my image says tbsp, so do forgive me for that lapse)
Turmeric 3 tsp
Fennel seeds powder 1 tsp

Mustard powder 3 tb sp

Roasted fenugreek seeds 1 tbsp
Mango or amchoor powder 2 tsp or more
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp

(You can adjust the seasoning according to your taste.)

Directions

Wash and dry the chillies.
Remove the top part, and slit the chillies longitudinally.
Remove the seeds, use a spoon to scrape. These seeds to be mixed later in the stuffing.
In the meantime, make the oil, smoking hot, then cool it down. Mix in the spices, oil and vinegar. Stuff the chillies with the spice mixture.
Transfer the chillies to a glass jar, add remaining oil.
It would take at least a week for flavors to infuse.
Don’t forget to give a shake to your jar, every time you pass by your kitchen’s window sill.
Enjoy the spicy flavors of India!

( inspired by www. nishamadhulika.com )