South Indian Pickle Powder

Pickles are very famous in India. There is a variation between the pickles made in different parts of India. Pickling is a family ritual. It is done during summer.  We would sit around my grandmother to watch her clean, wash and cut vegetables into small chunks. Every family carries a recipe of their own. Learned and evolved  from one generation to the  next.  While the authentic process takes month to soak up the goodness, my grandmother has recipes for instant pickles. She would make a small batch of homemade pickle spice powder. We make instant pickles with raw green mango, lemons and cucumber (called dosakkai). All it takes is to chop the vegetable into bite sized cube and a simple dressing is made with hot sesame oil. I always keep this powder handy as my husband loves spicy pickles to go with South Indian meals.

This spice powder can be used to make chicken and shrimp pickle too. Just fry the chicken or shrimp in hot oil and mix in the spice powder and drizzle generous amount of  sesame oil perfumed with mustard seeds. This recipe calls for using freshly ground mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, tons of dry red chillies and turmeric powder. Sometimes I would like to add cumin powder too. To prepare instant pickle, all you have to do is to heat good amount of sesame oil, throw in some mustard seeds to pop and pour this hot oil into clean, dry mangoes or lemons or cucumbers or fried chicken or shrimp and add th spice powder and salt to it. Mix well and add more oil to soak up the veggies. Serve hot or warm. You can store it in airtight container for months together. Just make sure not to use wet hands or spoon.

This post is my entry for the photography exercise in Simone’s blog “Junglefrog Cooking. This month’s theme is HOMEMADE. We need to come up with something that’s homemade but it should not be a complete meal. The rule is “It has to be a condiment of sorts or something you use together with other food to make a dish”.


Source: My Achi

Yields: 2 cups


  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder ( I use homemade ones)
  • 30-40 dry red chillies (as per your heat tolerance
  • 1/4 cup fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 cup mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • Salt to tase, about 2 tablespoon
  • Cooking spray to roast dry red chillies or use less than 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan and roast the dry red chillies until they turn crispy, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Dry roast fenugreek seeeds for couple of minute. Make sure you don’t burn it.
  3. Dry roast the mustard seeds until they pop. It takes around 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye to avoid burning.
  4. Dry roast the cumin seeds
  5. Cool and grind them to smooth powder. Add in the turmeric and asafoetida powder.
  6. If using asafoetida chunks, roast them in 1 teaspoon oil and grind it along with other roasted ingredients.
  7. Add salt. Mix well to combine. Store in airtight container.

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  1. I have tried making pickle powders at home, always pick them up during pickle season from Delhi, and would love to try south Indian pickle powder with your recipe. Homemade powders definitely add extra flavour to the recipes.

  2. i saw this on pinterest and remember pinning it too. so gorgeous! i have to try making some achar myself some day.

  3. Beautiful photos! I never knew there was such thing as pickle powder!

  4. first time here on your blog!and i really love it. great photos.i am a great lover of pickles and i am sure this powder will come in handy.

  5. Such gorgeous colors in this pickle powder! I had never even heard of this but to me this sounds like a great recipe to try out instant pickling…:) thanks doe joining this month in the home made challenge!

  6. I dont know but this pickle powder does simply a magic to the pickle!

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