Pickled Before the Storm

Hurricane Sandy is a’ comin’! Maybe they’ve downgraded it to a tropical storm this minute. Or maybe we’ll get a few showers and call it a day. It’s hard to take a weather system that changes its mind so frequently seriously. Instead of running around like a headless turkey, rechecking my flashlight’s battery for the 10th time, I decided to make some chilli pepper pickle. In my earlier post I mentioned how we’re deluged with peppers of all kinds. Well, here’s another way to use some of them–in a spicy pickle that instantly dresses up any blah weekday meal.

I’d always thought making a pickle was a grandmotherly activity that took days and days of rumination and preparation, and a skill that one only acquires with grey hair. Apparently not! A quick google brought me to this prolific blogger’s website with a recipe for an instant pickle. Thanks, Anita @ A Mad Tea Party. The first time I tried this recipe, I followed her exact spice combination. The pickle quickly became our favorite and, with repeated attempts, has evolved into as formidable a condiment as any grandmother’s! I hope you enjoy making and devouring it as much as we do ๐Ÿ™‚

Instant Chilli Pickle (Mirchi ka achar)

1 bumper picking of chillies…er… 1 cup sliced chillies, various (I used a combo of long Indian, banana and jalapeno chillies)
1 tsp black mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil (I prefer the former)


Combine all the spices in a mortar and crush the heck out of them. Or, if you aren’t feeling too Hulk-y, just jostle them around with the pestle until they’re somewhat crushed.

Pour spice mixture into the jar of chillies. You can use canning jars or other fancy equipment but I’m a reuse-as-much-as-possible kinda girl so my container today is a decidedly unfancy jar of Tostitos salsa (what can I say, in another era I was naive enough to think that supermarkets actually liked us, the consumers. The hubster, in fact, is still not fully converted). Well, at least the jar was clean!

Heat oil to just before smoking, before pouring it into the jar containing chillies and spice mixture. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Tighten lid and shake well.


Although the pickle can be enjoyed immediately because the hot oil partially cooks the spices, it definitely gains merit by sitting awhile in the sun. If you remember to prepare it in the morning and leave it out in the sun, or even just on the counter, the evening will have you endeavoring to stop at just one helping. Or, if you’re like us, the pickle will replace a curry and last much less longer than you thought it would.

Until the next bumper picking of the relentless pepper plant.


2 thoughts on “Pickled Before the Storm

  1. I am glad it is cleared that pickle (and knitting as well, I hope) are no more grandmotherly endeavors than baking is! Your modification can be used to pickle any other vegetable as well! See if you want to try pickling cauliflower, onions, or beans even!

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