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Unique pickle recipes 

Pickling is considered an ancient way of preserving food in vinegar, brine or some other natural preservative bases. It has been an age-old tradition to preserve fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat for a longer duration by pickling. Findings say that Mesopotamian and Tigris cultures cured and stored food in salt water. Pickling and pickles are an important part of Indian culture and food habits. 

Pickles add up the spice in our lives. No food is complete without pickles. Indians love them as sweet, spicy, sour and even salty. Every state or region boasts of their unique way of pickling and the taste of the pickle. Most pickles need a lot of patience and vigilance. Minute things like a drop of water or less oil or less salt may contaminate the pickle faster than usual. There are some pickles that are instant and need less time to souse. Let’s embark on a mouth-watering journey and learn to make some pickles that are instant and some that may make you wait it out before relishing them.  

Instant Pickles

Avocado Pickle

Cook time: 20 mins  

MakesOne 500ml jar 

Ingredients: 

Avocado: 500 grams 

Red chilli powder: 3-4 tbsp 

Salt: 1 – 1 ½ tbsp 

Sesame oil/mustard oil: 2 cups 

Cumin: 1 tsp 

Mustard: 1 tsp 

Fenugreek: 1 tsp 

Nigella seeds: 1 tsp 

Fennel seeds: 1 tsp 

Vinegar: 4-5 tbsp 

Method: 

  1. Cut the avocado into two and twist to separate. Remove the stone and scope out the fruit. 
  2. Slice it and mix it in salt and red chilli powder and let it sit. 
  3. Take a wide wok and heat the oil to smoking point. Lower the flame and add in cumin, mustard, fenugreek, nigella seeds and fennel seeds. Let them splutter. 
  4. Once they splutter toss in the avocadoes and the spice powder. Sauté well for a couple of minutes. 
  5. When it cools down, store it in a clean and moisture-free jar or bottle. Add in the vinegar once the pickle is transferred into the jar. 
  6. This pickle can be had immediately or stored for later consumption in the refrigerator.  

Raw Papaya Pickle

Cook time: 30 mins 

Makes: one 500ml jar 

Ingredients 

Cumin: 1 tsp 

Fenugreek: ½ tsp 

Nigella seeds: 1 tsp 

Fennel seeds: 1 ¼ tsp 

Cinnamon: 1 inch stick 

Cloves: 4 

Red chilli: 3 

Black cardamom: 1 

Green cardamom: 2 

Raw papaya: 3 cup (peeled and grated) 

Jaggery: 1 cup 

Coconut oil: ¾ cup + ¼ cup 

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp 

Salt: 1-1 ½ tbsp 

Vinegar: ¼ cup 

Method  

  1. Dry roast cumin, fennel, nigella seeds, cinnamon, cloves, red chillies and black and green cardamom. Grind them coarsely. 
  2. Heat ¾-cup oil in a pan and add the grated raw papaya. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on a low flame.  
  3. Add in the coarsely grounded spice mix and toss well.  
  4. Add red chilli powder and salt. Sauté for another 3 minutes after adding salt.  
  5. Finally, add jaggery and mix well. On adding jaggery a lot of moisture will be released. Keep stirring for another 5-6 minutes till all the moisture is absorbed and the oil starts separating. At
  6. At this stage add ¼-cup of oil and cook on a low flame for 5 minutes. 
  7. Add in the vinegar and allow it to cool. Store in a clean and moisture-free jar. Ensure the oil is at least an inch above the pickle. If it is not enough, more oil can be heated up and added.   

 

Pickles That take Time 

Prawn Pickle

Cook time: 30 mins + drying in the sun and pickling time 

Makes: one 500ml jar 

Ingredients for marination: 

Prawns: 500g cleaned, peeled and deveined  

Turmeric powder: ½ tsp 

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp 

Salt: 1 tsp 

Ingredients for pickle: 

Sesame Oil: 1 cup + frying 

Mustard: 1 tsp 

Fenugreek seeds: ½ tsp 

Asafoetida: ½ tsp 

Curry leaves: 2-3 sprigs 

Garlic: 10 cloves peeled 

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp 

Tamarind paste: 1 tsp 

Vinegar: ¼ cup 

Salt: to taste 

Method: 

  1. Take a wide plate and marinate the prawns with turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. 
  2. Leave it in the sun for 3 days. 
  3. After 3 days take a wok and heat the sesame oil. The prawns with the marinade can be deep-fried in this hot oil.  
  4. After frying, take out most of the oil, leaving only 4-5 tbsp in the wok. Heat this oil and add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Once they splutter, add in the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  5. Sauté well. Throw in the garlic cloves and fry them. Add the prawns, red chilli powder and the tamarind paste. Sprinkle some water and let it cook on a low flame for 5 minutes. Add in some more oil at this stage. 
  6. Once the oil starts to separate, splash in the vinegar and take it off the heat.  
  7. Cool well and transfer in a clean moisture-free jar. Do keep the jar in the sun for at least 10-15 days before consumption. Ensure to keep an inch of oil over the pickle to avoid the pickle from spoiling.  

Green Chilli and Ginger Pickle

Cook time: 15 mins + drying in the sun and pickling time  

Makes: 300grams jar 

Ingredients: 

Green chillies:  250 grams 

Ginger: 50 grams  

Mustard seeds: 2 tbsp  

Fenugreek seeds: 1 tsp 

Sugar: 1 tsp 

Salt: 1-2 tbsp  

Turmeric powder: ½ tsp 

Asafoetida: ½ tsp 

Chilli powder: ¼ tsp 

Lemon juice: ¼ cup 

Method: 

  1. Wash clean and dry chillies and ginger. 
  2. Slit the chillies and leave it with the stalk. Cut the ginger in julienned. 
  3. Coarsely pound mustard seeds, fenugreek, sugar and salt.  
  4. Take a wide plate and mix in the pounded spice into the chillies and ginger. 
  5. Transfer into a dry and clean jar. 
  6. Add asafoetida, turmeric and red chilli powder. Shake and mix well.  
  7. Pour in the lemon juice. You can also top it with vinegar. 
  8. Keep it in the sun for at least a fortnight before consumption. 

Chicken Pickle

Cook time: 30 mins + drying in the sun and pickling time 

Makes: one 500ml jar 

Ingredients: 

Boneless chicken: 500g cleaned and cut into small bite-sized pieces 

Ginger: 50 grams 

Garlic: 10-15 cloves peeled 

Green Chillies: 4-5 

Mustard Oil: 1 cup  

Asafoetida: ½ tsp 

Red chilli powder: 2-3 tbsp 

Vinegar: ¼ cup 

Water: ¼ cup 

Salt: to taste 

Method: 

  1. Clean and roughly chop ginger, garlic and green chilliesPound the three into a coarse paste. 
  2. Take a wide pan or cooker and put the chicken and half the quantity of the coarse paste. Add water and some salt and cook till the chicken is soft. Cool and use a fork to shred the chicken. 
  3. Heat oil in a wok to a smoking point. Lower down the heat once smoke emits. 
  4. Add the asafoetida, rest of the coarse paste, red chilli powder and chicken shreds along with the masala and water, if any. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. 
  5. Cook for 5 minutes on a low flame till fat separates. Splash in the vinegar.  
  6. Take off the heat and cool well before transferring into a clean and dry jar.  
  7. Place it in the sun for at least 10-15 days before consumption. Ensure an inch of oil floats over the pickle. Once you start consuming,  refrigerate the pickle. 

Pickles can be made out of practically every vegetable, herbs or meat. One can master the art of pickle-making, but the art of preserving them is tricky. The spoon, chopping board, mixing bowl or any other equipment that is used should be absolutely clean and dry. Refrigeration is another way to save the pickle from getting spoilt. However complicated or tedious it might sound, they are an absolute necessity when making pickles. Pickles are an excellent way to add a dash of culinary excitement in our lives. 

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