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 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 (You can use a vegetable chopper for this task) 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 powder, 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 the 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.
South Indian Pickle Powder
- 1 tbsp turemeric powder
- 30 – 40 dry red chillies
- ¼ cup fenugreek seeds
- ½ cup mustard seeds
- 2 tsp Asafoetida powder
- Salt to taste
- Cooking spray to roast dry red chillie
- Heat oil in a non stick saucepan and roast the dry red chillies until they turn crispy, about 5-8 minutes.
- Dry roast fenugreek seeeds for couple of minute. Make sure you don’t burn it.
- Dry roast the mustard seeds until they pop. It takes around 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye to avoid burning.
- Dry roast the cumin seeds
- Cool and grind them to smooth powder. Add in the turmeric and asafoetida powder.
- If using asafoetida chunks, roast them in 1 teaspoon oil and grind it along with other roasted ingredients.
- Add salt. use a mixer grinder to mix the ingredients well. Store in airtight container.