Skip to main content

In A Pickle


Pickles are serious business in India. Because quantities are huge and the room for error high, only the eldest women in the household take on pickle making. When my mother took on pickle making many years ago, it was with the combined consent of her mother and her mother-in-law. Recipes from both my grandmothers, closely guarded and never written down, were enhanced with experience and tips from friends over the year.

In my home, we make only two kinds of pickles. Mango pickle in summers and now, with the onset of winter, the gobhi gajar achaar - spicy, sour, sweet cauliflower and carrot pickle. I'd try and get you my favorite mango pickle recipe sometime. But even this one was hard to pin down, requiring translation from best guesses to measurements. But here it is:

Separate 1 kg cauliflower into florets. Cut 1/2 kg carrots into long fingers. Wash the vegetables, then dunk them in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain, then spread out on a tray and let dry in the sun for an hour or so. If you live in a place where the whole sun-drying business is not possible, you can try leaving them in a very low oven for a bit.

Grind 100 grams fresh ginger to a paste. Separately, grind 10-12 cloves to garlic to a paste. Combine 5-6 black cardamom pods, 5-6 cloves, a tbsp of cumin seeds and a tbsp of peppercorns. Grind all these spices to a powder.

In a separate, preferably stainless steel pan, mix a cup of white vinegar (the industrial quality is fine here) and 2 tbsp of jaggery or your darkest brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the sugar melts completely.

Just to complete your mise en place and because you will need these in a rush later, measure out a tsp of rai (black wholegrain mustard), 3 tbsp of salt and a tbsp of red chilli powder.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a really large pan and add garlic paste. Stir until it starts to brown slightly, then add the ginger paste and stir fry until it's browned. Reduce the heat and add the powdered spices, rai, salt and chilli powder. Turn off the heat and mix in the vegetables until they are completed coated with the spices. Pour over the vinegar-jaggery mixture. Let cool, then store in a glass jar.

Keeps for a month or so just like this, but I prefer to keep it in the fridge.

Comments

Aparna said…
I really love the sound of this. And frankly, the best pickles are those ones made by our grandmas amd moms! :)
Anonymous said…
I always wanted to learn how to make such pickles. I'm a big fan of gajar ka achar. My desi plate is incomplete without gajar or hari mirch achar! Hopefully, I'll try your recipe soon!
brilliant. I've always wanted a gobi gajar recipe but never bothered looking it up. I've ad it at nawab saheb at Renaissance and it is so so good. i like that they put so so many cloves of whole garlic too. I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks!
Sunshinemom said…
I love this pickle but depend totally on M aunty for it. Thanks for the recipe!
notyet100 said…
my mother prepares this every winters,.;-)lovely pic,..
jayasree said…
I love this pickle. Our hostel warden used to make this for us during winters. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Srivalli said…
That looks great simmy..will try it one of these days!
Laura said…
All of the Indian pickles I have had seemed not to have vinegar in them--which was a shock to my American self. :) I will try these--they sound fabulous.

And what a perfect submission, btw. That is so wild, that only an elder female gets the pickle secrets!
Anonymous said…
An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker
who had been conducting a little homework on this.
And he actually bought me dinner due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him...
lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!!
But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this topic here on your site.

Popular posts from this blog

A Bowlful of Comfort

I have a friend who is quite the globetrotter. Lunches at her place, often right after her trips, are a treasure trove of global flavours. But the last time we met, she was just back from Tamil Nadu and out she brought a bowl of curd rice. I love curd rice and have eaten a lot of it over the years but my friend's version was so full of flavours and textures, it was a revelation. Obviously, I asked for the recipe.

The genius of this curd rice lies in adding the tempering or the tadka twice, once to mix in the rice so it absorbs all the flavours. Then you make a second batch to top the rice with just before you serve, so it adds crunch to the usually mushy dish. The recipe also has a few other elements added in for texture, freshness and flavour.

I over-ate at lunch at my friend's and I over-ate again when I made this for myself for lunch. Plus, all the ingredients you need are likely in your kitchen already so you may as well go make it now.

Ingredients
1/2 cup rice
1 cup plain…

Fruits of the Forest

I know there hasn't been a new recipe on these pages for a while. But worry not, I'm back with a real zinger. Earthy, creamy, crunchy - this is an appetizer that ticks all the right boxes. And if you happen to be a mushroom lover like me, this is the best way to eat mushrooms I've found so far. I present to you, for all your year end parties and appetizer cravings - creamy mushroom pate on toast.

Its mushroom pate two way - just on its own and panko-crumbed and fried. Both go on a crisp garlic baguette with watercress and some kewpie mayonnaise. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
Crunchy garlic butter toasts (I buy them as is, but you can also slice and toast baguettes)
200 grams button mushrooms
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
kewpie mayonnaise (or regular mayonnaise)
watercress or micro herbs
salt and black pepper to taste
oil for deep frying

First, make mushroom pate. Y…

Summer Garden

Think of healthy food in Mumbai and Bandra immediately comes to mind. When these Bandra hipsters are done hanging out at Yoga House and head to work to Lower Parel, there are the likes of 212 All Good to lunch at. But try eating healthy food outside of these two neighbourhoods and your choices are a couple of sad salads tucked in the corner of restaurant menus.

Summer Garden is changing that for Powai. Set a tiny bit away from the busy Central Avenue, the outdoor cafe is right next to Hakone entertainment centre. It twinkles with fairy lights at night and pets are welcome all day (they even get their own treats!). We sit down with our freshly squeezed juices to chat with the young and bubbly chef Suchin on her food philisophy.

Cute handwritten menus aside, there is much to love about how they cook at Summer Garden. Nothing comes our of a jar or a bottle. There is no refined flour or white sugar or refined oil in any dish. They soak their whole grains and bake their own bread and jui…