One of my most endearing memories of childhood with my grandparents is the large ceramic jars stuffed with pickles of all kinds which my grandmother used to make herself. Living now in Gurgaon, I realize that pickles are an integral part of the North Indian food culture. Most of us know what pickles are but for the uninitiated these are food accompaniments which add flavour to any meal. Vegetables such as the raw mango, lemon/lime, carrot taste heavenly in their pickled form. For this recipe be sure to sure large fresh red chilies which are bright in colour. The stuffing I have used can be used in other pickles. Once stuffed the chillies have to be aged in a glass jar and kept out in the sun. This enhances and matures the pickle. The good thing about the pickles are that they can be consumed over a long period time sometime several months. So good to get this done in large quantities and store which is what my grandmother used to do. The red chili pickle not only adds flavour to dishes but the jar sitting on the dining table adds a dash of colour and panache to any meal.
From Grandma’s Kitchen
- 13 – 15 large fresh Red Chillies ( approximately 300 gms)
- 4 Tbsp Mustard Seeds (Sarson)
- 2 Tbsp Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)
- 4 Tbsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
- 4 Tbsp Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
- 6 Tbsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur powder)
- 1 ½ Tbsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
- ¼ Tbsp Asafoetida (Hing)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Salt (as required to taste)
- 5 Tbsp Mustard Oil to be mixed with the spices
- 1 cup Mustard Oil
- Wash and rinse the large fresh red chillies with water. Pat them dry using kitchen paper tissues.
- With the help of a knife remove the crowns of each of the chillies. Gently slit them from one side to help stuffing. Make sure you only cut one big slit keeping the red chilli WHOLE.
- Using the back of a small spoon handle, tenderly scrape out the seeds and the pith from each of the red chillies. Once done, cover them and keep them aside.
- In a grinder jar, grind together the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and carom seeds. Grind to a coarse powder (not a very fine one).
- Transfer the coarsely ground spice mix to a bowl. Add the mango powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt. Mix well and blend together.
- Add 5 Tbsp of mustard oil to the pickle masala. This is to help moisten and bind the powdered spices together which in turn will help easily stuffing the red chillies. You may add a tablespoon more of oil if required.
- Take one red chilli at a time to stuff with the prepared pickle masala. Complete stuffing each one of the red chillies.
- Place the stuffed chillies in a glass or a ceramic jar. You may want to sterilize the jar by keeping it in the sun for a few hours before using it. In case you have any of the pickle spice masala in excess it is a good idea to add the excess masala to the jar.
- Next pour 1 cup of mustard oil to the jar. Close the jar lid to give it a good shake. The idea is to coat all the chillies evenly from all sides with the mustard oil.
- Now remove the lid, secure a muslin cloth over the mouth of the jar using a band or a string.
- Place the jar in the sun over the next 7 -10 days. Remove the jar every evening and keep it in a dry place in your kitchen each night. Shake the jar each morning to coat the stuffed red chillies with the mustard oil before putting the jar out in the sunlight.
- To understand whether the pickle is matured and is ready to be consumed, you must taste it. If the chillies are a bit crunchy or the spices are tasting a little raw, you need to keep the jar out in the sun for a few more days. The chillies must soften and the spice mix must change their raw taste due to the heat from the sunlight.
- Once the pickle is ready and matured you may keep it away in the refrigerator or in a cool place and start serving it with your meals.
- Serving Size: 4