Pickled Red Chili Peppers

After two weeks of crying, whining and emotional blackmailing, today was the first day our little monster and I had a calm ride up to the daycare. It is a little tough to see that “maa why are you doing this to me/us?” look in her eyes but slowly things are getting better (at least beginning to!).  Abhishek aka A started his business school a few weeks back which got him busier and hence made it even tougher for me to answer all her questions, verbal and non-verbal. Where are we going? Why are we going? When will we get back? and now adding to the list, Is Papa coming? Why not? Why does he need to study? How long will he study?! Papa is the one who tells her all the stupid imaginative stories and answers all her questions. When he is not around Maa becomes clueless. I am neither imaginative nor a good story teller for a two year old! But after a month of exercising immense patience and perseverance, I am slowly getting a hang of that too (at least beginning to!). This is what kept me from coming here and sharing stories with you on Indian Simmer. After all the lion, mouse and dragon stories, I was left with no creativity by the end of the day and I did not want to write a post just for the heck of it. So I kept quiet here and tried to take care of one part of my life first. Hope you missed me because I missed you like nothing else!

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.

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.

Red HOT peppers

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.

Pickling 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.


  1. Hello prerna,
    We love your recipes, especially when its on Pickle.
    These are so delicious.
    I have always looked at your blog for the various pictures and the way you write.Just Love it!
    You have shared some nice information about Pickled Red Chili Peppers in this post.
    The points you mentioned are genuine and perfect.
    The content completely describes about the topic you wanted to portray with us.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable post.

    VentairIndia Team

  2. OMG!! I have been looking for this pickle all over. I even asked my brother to send it to me from Dilli haat. I’ll visit the local mexican store this weekend and will try to find the peppers. Thanks so much for the lovely recipe. The pictures lokk gorgeous.

  3. I just made this pickle yesterday. I measured the spiced wrong and now I have quite a lot of it extra. Can I use it for anything else? Is there any other vegetable/fruit I can pickle with this spice mix or just make a batch of green chilies may be?

  4. I got quite addicted to one type of pickled peppers in Singapore, and now you’ve introduced me to another equally tempting variety. I am exactly like you with no knack for weaving a good tale. It’s good to know that it becomes easier with practice!

  5. Stunning pictures and a delightful pickle recipe. Summers are here and I wanted to make my first home made pickle. One look at your recipe and now I know what I’m going to make.

  6. I have never eaten a mirchi ka achaar 🙁 Wonder why… probably because I grew up in Western india where the gujarati influence made us make more of spicy and sweet lemon pickles. After a long time, I took some time out to read your post and ogle at the pics. Glad to have you back and hang in there with little A! It’ll all get better with time 🙂

  7. oooh these look so gorgeous! I had a major pickle craving during the preg months and would have devoured your entire batch then! Hmm on second thoughts I still might 🙂

  8. LOVE those pictures! I have a similar recipe up on my blog, but your pickle looks so vibrant and tantalizing! I like the idea of getting the tops off–I think we can get in more of the masala that way. That’s what I’ll do next season. 🙂

  9. I love pickles of any kind- we make the same but stuff green chilis aand eat them immediately rather than pickling them. I find I eat more when I have pickles on the side!! Glad to hear A has finally settled. What a relief!

  10. Oh gosh prerna. The chillies look so beautiful. That third shot of red chillies is so tempting that I feel like eating the chillies raw. Can you believe that? 🙂

  11. Thanks guys! I am glad you all liked it!
    @Kankana- we live way too close for you to make them yourself. Just come over and I should have a jar ready for you 🙂
    @Sneh- Oh yeah green peppers taste divine too and best part they are not that tough to find.
    @Radhika- DEAL! Rather, send me your address and I can send some over to you.
    @Kathy- I am sure Mexican stores in your area should keep it, That is where I found mine too.

  12. Oooo La la.. A’s favorite and our stock (4 jars from last year that his mom had made) got over. But I haven’t seen these red chilies since then and can’t make it. Well I need to hunt the mexican groceries then.

    glad to hear that little A is adjusting.

  13. OMG I am just loving each picture and recipe too..love love love it… Never tasted red chilli pickle by stuffing in it. Only used to make green chilli pickle.. this is something i am going to try it out soon.

  14. I am smitten by this recipe Prerna. I will be a happy girl if someone serves me pickle with any kind of meal. If at all we get to meet, please make this for me.

    Hope you get settled down soon and delight us with your recipes regularly.

  15. Wow, spicy good it looks. I will try this recipe for sure. Aw! I know how challenging it is to take care of the lil one all by our self. Sid is too young to talk and ask questions but he always wants me next to him and I have no time for other stuffs. All I have to do is to sit and watch him play, if I get up and sit with a laptop, he comes right there to hit the keys. Ahem!!!Hopefully Abhishek will get the time to share more imaginary stories with your little one.

  16. I’ve never had a pickle like this before. I have a good crop of small chile peppers this year (super chiles), but they might be too small for this. I just might have to go find the right sized peppers and try this though!

  17. I am so happy to see this recipe. My A loves this pickle and he has been asking me to make it home and I had no clue which recipe to follow. Now that I have an expert sharing her recipe .. i feel more confident to give a try.
    I hope things slow down a bit for you and Abhishek gets time to tell more stories to your lil one 🙂

  18. Thanks so much Shayma! As I always say you visiting my blog and taking time is comment is more than an honor for me.
    Hyderabad is famous for its super spicy and hot food so I am sure a pickled chilli pepper must be there invention.

  19. Prerna, I adore these- we call this Hyderabadi style mirch ka achar in Pakistan- wonder if that is where they hail from? lovely photos, as always. x shayma

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