Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Stuffed Chilli Pickle

Pickle of red chillies stuffed with spices
The storm that brewed yesterday in the afternoon had a bark that was worse than its bite! Dark clouds, the roar of  thunder and a strong wind that made me almost run to get the washing inside...and my precious jars of red chilli pickle that were curing in the sun. Well it did rain but only for a short while and our temperature's back to where it was before the dark clouds loomed overhead. Despite complaining about the heat, you certainly don't want the rain. Not when you are pickling.
Apart from the strawberries, my husband had also brought some beautiful ripe red chillies. It's been ages since I had made pickles using such chillies and the weather was just right.
Ingredients:
25 ripe red large chillies
Fenugreek seeds
Mustard seeds
Cumin seeds
Coriander seeds
Fennel seeds
Red chilli powder (optional)
Amchoor powder
Rock salt
Turmeric powder
A pinch of panch phoran (This is a mix of five spices and used in Eastern Indian cooking. The mixture consists of equal parts of fennel, cumin, fenugreek, mustard and nigella seeds).
A pinch of hing/asafoetida
A few tejpatta leaves
1/3 cup of vinegar
Mustard oil
I am not adding the exact amounts of the spices as I simply added what I felt to be right. One must remember that methi must be added in a quantity that is less in proportion to other ingredients.
One was different and I'm drying it for the seeds
To start with, wash the chillies and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Score all the way from the bottom till you get near the stalk. Let the stalks remain.
The chilli should remain intact. Remove the seeds and the white portions.
There aren't many seeds in this type of chilli. Gently shake each one so that all the seeds fall off.
Rub a mix of rock salt and turmeric and place the chillies in the sun. Turn once or twice depending on how long you leave them to bask in the sun. I put them out for almost three hours.
Meanwhile get the masala ready.
Toast the seeds separately and grind them. 
In the same pan, toast the chilli powder, if using. Care must be taken to keep the heat low as spice powders burn easily.
Heat the mustard oil in a kadhai. As soon as it comes to smoking point, add the hing, tejpatta and the panch phoran. Set aside to cool.
Take a plate and add all the powdered spices along with the amchoor and the chilli powder. Add a bit of the cooled oil and the vinegar.
Mix well. Then take one chilli and fill it with this mixture. Repeat till all the chillies and the spices are used up.
Take a clean/sterilised jar and place the stuffed chillies in it.

Pour some of the oil over the chillies. Unlike other pickles, the oil need not cover the chillies. This kind of stuffed chilli pickle does not drip oil.
Place the jars in the sun for about a week.
Because of the intense heat here, my chillies have softened down, the spices have married well and they are being eaten!!
We started the day with roti, curried chickpeas and this pickle. It was a good start, I must say!:)
These chillies only have a bit of heat in them which is why I added some chilli powder to the spice paste. I didn't have to use gloves while handling them. In fact there's a hint of sweetness in these beautiful red chillies. 
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