Pickles form an integral part of the Indian cuisine. India has a rich and diversified culinary heritage and the oldest one is the art of pickling. While the process remains the same of preserving fruits and vegetables in brine or vinegar, there has been a difference in the ingredients used.
As mango, chilies, and lemon pickles are quite popular in India, there are several other varieties of pickles made in different parts of the country. Here are the recipes of some handpicked and authentic pickles from India.
1. Jackfruit Pickle
Ingredients: 3 kg kathal (jackfruit)-peeled and cut into chunks, 1 1/4 cup salt + 1/4 cup for the water, 1 cup turmeric, 2 1/2 cups powdered mustard seeds, 1 cup coarsely ground red pepper, 2 Tbsp onion seeds, 2 Tbsp asafoetida, 2 kg mustard oil.
Procedure: Boil jackfruit with 1/4 cup salt in it. Drain out the water and leave to dry up. When cool and dry, mix in salt, mustard, red pepper, onion seeds, and asafoetida and mix well. Keep this covered and marinated for 4 days and stir once a day. Pack this tightly into a sterilized jar. Heat the oil and cool to room temperature and pour over the jackfruit. The oil should come above the mixture. Let the pickle mature for another 2-3 days before you consume it.
2. Mustard Green Stalks Pickle
Ingredients: 500 grams mustard greens stems, 3 tbsp mustard oil, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 4 tsp mustard seeds powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 3 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, water
Procedure: Remove the thicker mustard stems from the leaves & peel off the hard stem covering. Wash these under running water and put it in a large pot. Add as much water as will almost submerge them. Keep the heat around medium and let the water come to a boil then put off the heat. Strain out the stems spread them on a large sheet and allow them to dry completely. Put the dry stems in a large pot and add all the spices & salt. Pour the mustard oil and vinegar over this. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the pickle to a clean and dry jar/bottle and close the cap tightly. keep the jar in the sun for 4-5 days after which the gandal pickle is ready to eat.
3. Prawns Pickle
Ingredients: 1 kg king prawns, Dash salt (to taste), 1 tsp. turmeric powder, 2 dozen dry red chilies, 1 small piece of ginger, One large head garlic peeled, 4 tsp. cumin seeds, 3 cups (750 ml.) white vinegar
Procedure: Wash, shell and devein the prawns and let them dry. Mix salt to taste and the turmeric powder in a small bowl and rub into the prawns. Let it marinate for 1 hour. In a food processor, grind the red chilies, ginger, garlic, and cumin seeds, adding a little bit of vinegar (but not all 3 cups) to help make into a thick, smooth paste. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat and stir-fry the prawns until golden. Drain prawns on paper towels and allow to cool. Fry the spice paste in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until the oil begins to separate from the masala. Add the remaining vinegar, season with salt if necessary, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes more. Allow it to cool completely. Place the prawns in a glass pickling jar and pour the cooled spice mix over them. Mix well and allow to rest for a few days before eating.
4. Lotus Stem Pickle
Ingredients: Lotus stem (cut in diagonal shapes) – 1 cup, Fennel seeds – 1 tablespoon, onion seeds – 2 teaspoon, Carom seeds – 1 teaspoon, Mustard oil – as required, Green chilies (chopped) – 1 teaspoon, Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon, Dry mango powder – 1 teaspoon, Red chili powder – 1 teaspoon, Vinegar – 1 teaspoon, Salt – to taste, Water – as required.
Procedure: Boil water in a pan and add chopped lotus stems and bring it to boil. Keep them aside after straining. Dry roast fennel seeds, onion seeds, carom seeds for about 1-2 minutes then transfer to a dinchik and slightly crush to a coarse powder. Heat around 1 cup of mustard oil in a pan, add onion seeds, boiled lotus stems, chopped green chilies, and saute it. Add turmeric powder, dry mango powder, red chili powder, give it a mix, then add the prepared powder, salt (to taste) and also add vinegar at the end.
5. Sardine Fish Pickle
Ingredients: Sardines – ½ kg, Garlic – 1 pod chopped, Ginger – small piece chopped, Green chillies – 6 cut into rings, , Some Curry leaves, Mustard seeds – ¾ tsp, Fenugreek seeds– ¼ tsp, Turmeric powder – ½ tsp, Kashmiri Red Chilli powder – 2 to 3 tbsp (adjust according to the spice level), Vinegar – 1 cup or more, Salt to taste, Sugar – 1 tsp, Gingelly oil – ½ to ¾ cup
To marinate the fish: Kashmiri Red Chilly powder – 1 tsp, Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp, Pepper powder – ½ tsp, Salt to taste
Procedure: Clean and wash the fish with salt & vinegar first, then wash well in running water, drain. Make small pieces or make 3-4 gashes on each side if you use the whole fish. Marinate the fish with chilly powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder, and salt, keep aside for at least ½ hour. Heat oil and fry the fish pieces until it is crisp on both sides and keep it aside. Pour the remaining oil to the pan and splutter mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Then add garlic, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves and sauté until it is light brown. Reduce the heat and add chilly powder, turmeric powder and then stir and add vinegar, sugar, and salt. Add the fried fish and allow it to simmer on a slow fire. Store it in a bottle when cold.