Not a lot happened here on my blog but there was still a lot going on in the kitchen. There were some new recipes developed, some new flavors tasted and some old school Indian recipes that I tried to learn. Some of them that I am really proud of are my mother-in-law’s kadhi that now I can tell her that I have mastered and a few pickles that my mom makes. My take on mummy’s aam ka aachar, pickeled raw mangoes in which I used green apples instead (will share the recipe soon) and pickled red chili peppers.
My mother might not be the most adventurous cook in the world but there are few things that no one can ever, ever cook better than her. She makes okra fry that I have never tasted anywhere else and I have eaten a lot of okras! And no one can pickle red chili peppers like her. I am not saying this because she is my mom and her food will always be the best in my eyes, but seriously she just knows how to do it right! I have tried a lot of her pickle recipes but never tried pickling red chili peppers because I never found the peppers that looked like the ones she uses to make hers in India.
But few days back I got lucky when I entered a small grocery store run by a Mexican family. They have the freshest and gorgeous looking produce from the local farms right in their tiny store. And I fell in love with the place the moment I saw those red chili peppers lying on a brown jute basket underneath the shelves. I swear I screamed when I saw them, grabbed as many as I could, brought them home and did what I had wanted to do with them for the past six years. Filled several jars with pickled red chili peppers.
Although according to my mom you should not eat it until its been in there for at least a couple months. They say the longer you keep Indian pickles sealed and stored in a cool, dry place the better they taste. Longer they are allowed to blend in with the spices the more they absorb flavors and taste better. If stored in favorable conditions they stay good for years. But I couldn’t resist and a half jar is already gone. So beware, they can be hot, spicy and way too much addictive!
About 45-50 medium sized red chili peppers (I used Fresno peppers)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Nigella
50 grms fennel seeds (approx. 2 oz)
50 grms coriander seeds (approx. 2 oz)
50 grms mustard seeds (approx. 2 oz)
50 grms Aamchur (dried mango powder) (approx. 2 oz)
200grms Salt (approx. 7 oz)
8 oz virgin mustard oil.
Thoroughly clean the peppers with water, pat dry them, spread it on a baking sheet or something similar and lay it out in open sun to dehydrate a little. 4-5 hours of nice hot sun or an hour in the oven at 170 deg. F should be just right. You just want the outer skin just to get a few wrinkles.
Clean the jars you are going to use for canning and let them air dry as well.
In a pan roast fennel seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds and nigella over medium high heat just for 3-5 minutes until begin to smell the spices. Turn of the heat, set it aside and let it cool.
Coarsely grind all the spices mix it with half (around 4 oz) of oil.
To fill the peppers you can do it in two ways, either make a long slit lengthwise and fill it with the spices or chop the head off, take out the seeds from inside and then fill it with the prepared spices. I do the latter and I also mix the seeds I take out from inside of the peppers into the spice mix and fill it into the peppers.
After filling the pepers you can either dip each pepper in oil and then place it in the jar or fill the jar with the stuffed peppers and then pour oil over it.
Airtight the jars and store in cool, dry place.
Every couple days shake the jars a little so the oil slowly coats all the peppers.
You can dig into the pickles in a couple weeks time but ideal would be to open the jars not before at least a month.