Of Indians and pickles…

Anybody who has ever heard anything about Indian food knows the obsession that Indians have with pickles. Garlic, mangoes, gooseberries, tomatoes, tamarind, bamboo shoots: you name it, we have pickles for it. Almost every Indian can tell you stories from his childhood of stolen pickle jars, of grandmoms and aunts preparing mounds and mounds of pickles, of that long trip in the train where bread and pickle kept him well fed and alive, of those jars of pickles that he still carries from home back to wherever in the world that he is staying now… Yes, it is a long and inseparable association.

When I was young, I used to shrink away from pickles as I always found them too spicy for my taste. But after staying alone and far away from home for almost a decade , it now associates me with memories of home and home-food and spice-laden afternoons when the pickle jars were laid outside to soak in the sun. Magical times.

But, what’s totally not me? Making my own pickles. Now, I know you will ask me why don’t I just buy some from the local Indian grocery store. Yes, I know I can do that.  But its never the same as one made at home, right? Store bought pickles have tooooo much spice and oil, and never taste half as good as a simple home-made-ones ever.

Anyway, so, sometime back, M bought (as usual) an excessively huge quantity of fresh green chillies. We both are great fans of the gentle heat of the green flesh, and usually scoop out the inner seeds and vein, where the actual full-blast HEAT comes from.

I am going to digress now – green chillies look very pretty. Look at them lined up like so!

So, coming back to the topic, he bought these lovely green chillies and suddenly got this idea of me pickling them up instead. And I said why not! So I called up my recipe storehouse a.k.a.Mommy and also browsed through a few recipes online. But then Mom knows best!

So here it goes…

Momma’s Pickled Green Chillies:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh green chillies: about 2 cups of these.
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 Tbsp bishop’s weed or ajwain
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1/4th cup vinegar – I used white wine vinegar, you can use plain vinegar
  • 1/4th cup mustard oil – I was afraid of the strong mustard flavor totally dominating everything else, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The more the oil, the longer the pickle will keep. If you add very less oil, keep the pickle refrigerated
  • Salt to taste, and half a teaspoon of sugar

Procedure:

  1. Wash and dry the green chillies, and then chop them up. De-seed and de-vein them in case you want mild heat, or just go for it! Set aside.
  2. Take all the other ingredients, excluding oil and vinegar, and coarsely grind them in the food processor. Take out the mixture in a bowl and then move on to step 3.
  3. Heat the mustard oil till it smokes a wee bit and then pour it over the mixture from step 2. Let the ingredients combine for a little while – 5 minutes odd.
  4. Then to this mixture in the bowl, add the chopped green chillies and mix well. Finally, add the salt, sugar and vinegar and mix again.
  5. Transfer the pickle to a glass jar and set aside for a couple of days. As i already mentioned, increase the quantity of oil if you want to keep this pickle non-refrigerated and for a loooong time.

This is how it looked like after 2 days:

M eats it with chicken nuggets, burgers, with tortillas, rotis, paranthas… Umm mm!

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