So we saw these beautiful long red chillies at the grocery store a few weeks back. They were so pretty that we couldn’t resist not buying them. Don’t you agree? We only took about 5-6 of them knowing we couldn’t do much with them other than make pickle. With just the two of us a pickle with 5-6 chilies would easily last over a year.
I made a similar pickle last year with green chilies and mango and there is still some left. Last time around, I just researched a little bit and made my own thing. This time I was going to take my mum’s recipe- she makes the best pickle in the whole wide world!
Back home in India, at any given point of time there are more than 2 varieties of home-made pickle at my house- mango, green chilies, red chilies, carrots, cauliflower and what not. In fact, my mum makes pickle in such large quantities that it then gets distributed to our extended family and friends and sometimes there is little or nothing left for us. Yes, we Indians are very passionate about our pickles. 🙂
So anyway, I got the recipe from my mum and made this really good looking and delicious pickle. Some of you may get intimidated with the thought of making pickle, but don’t be. I always was intimidated with the thought of making pickles as a kid and even until last year when I made my first batch but believe me it’s not difficult at all. Just a little bit of patience will get you raving reviews. 🙂 Since I was dealing with hot red chillies and spices, I couldn’t take pictures of the process but hopefully the instructions should be clear. So, here is how I made it:
- 5-6 long red chilies (you could also use green chilies)
- 2-3 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
- 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 ½ tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon Nigella seeds (kalonji), optional
- 4 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 ½ tablespoons mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried mango powder (amchoor)
- 1 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
- 5 cloves garlic
- a cup of Mustard oil
- For this recipe you need to prepare a few things a couple of days in advance of actually making the pickle. So I have split this step-wise in 3 days:
- Wash and pat dry the red chillies. Lay them on a kitchen towel and keep them in the sun for a day.
- Remove the green stalk from the chillies and slit them lengthwise from one side. Do not cut right through them. Just slit in a way that you can stuff the filling in it.
- If you don’t want your pickle too spicy, discard the white seeds and the flesh from inside the chillies. I kept the seeds intact as we like our pickle extra spicy.
- Next, sprinkle the chillies with about ½ tablespoon of salt and keep them in the sun for another day. I did this to get rid of the excess moisture. My mum said this was not necessary but my chillies had a lot of moisture in them so I did this.
- Next, smash the garlic cloves with your knife and sprinkle just a little salt over them and keep them in the sun for a day.
- With your kitchen towel, dry off any moisture that is on your red chillies and garlic and keep them aside while you get the filling ready.
- First, dry roast the fenugreek seeds in a pan for about 5 minutes, cool them and grind them in your spice grinder. Set this aside in a bowl.
- Next, dry roast the cumin seeds, Nigella seeds, fennel seeds, carom seeds and coriander seeds together for 5-7 minutes. Allow them to cool and grind them in your spice grinder. Mix this with the ground fenugreek.
- Next, grind the mustard seeds and add to the spice mix.
- To this spice mix, add in the dried mango powder, asafetida and the remaining salt. Take a taste and adjust for salt.
- Add it to the dry spice mix and incorporate it well, preferably with your hands.
- Then, add in a tablespoon of mustard oil and garlic and combine well. The mix should be the texture of coarse wet sand. Add in another teaspoon of oil of the mix is too dry.
- Then, fill in this mix in the pocket of red chillies. Stuff the chillies well with the filling.
- Put the stuffed red chillies in a sterilized dry jar and fill it with the mustard oil making sure that all the chillies are soaked in the oil. If you have some of the filling left, you can put that as well in the jar.
- Close the lid properly and keep the jar in the sun for a good 10-15 days.
The pickle will taste better as it matures so the longer it stays the better it gets. You can of course have it fresh as well but I suggest you wait- it‘ll be worth it. Have it with your fav Indian curry or even use the pickle oil and some of the filling to marinade your paneer or chicken to make achaari tikkas and you’ll be amazed at how awesome everything will taste!
The pickle should last you at least a year. Just make sure you use a dry spoon while taking the pickle or the filling out of the jar. As long as there is enough oil in the pickle and no moisture, it could last longer than a year.