Chilli Pickle 5 in Mustard Oil
Mirch ka Rai Wala Achar
This excellent recipe comes from my sister in-law's mum. She lives in Delhi and is a great Indian cook. I often add about 150 gm. ginger to this pickle. Makes about 2 jam jars.
Edited March 2012
250 gm. mature fresh chillies, red or green
150 gm. ginger, peeled and thinly shredded or finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp. black mustard seeds (rai)
1 1/2 tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. nigella/kalonji/kalaunji (Nigella sativa), dry roasted
1/2 tsp. carom seeds (ajwain), dry roasted
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste (approximately 1 level tablespoon). The spice mix should taste quite salty.
2 tsp. dry mango powder (amchoor) or dry pomegranate seed powder (anar-dana)
2 tbsp. mustard oil* for spice mix (mustard oil is the most commonly used oil for pickling in Northern India)
1-2 tbsp. mustard oil for topping*
*Mustard oil should always be heated to smoking point first and allowed to cool completely, before adding it to a pickle.
Remove stalks from chillies, wash and allow to dry completely on a towel left in a sunny place. They should be completely free of water or your pickle will not last.
Peel and wash ginger, leave to dry, along with the chillies.
Chop chillies and ginger into small pieces. You can do this quickly in a food processor, making sure that they are not chopped too fine. Alternatively, you can shred ginger in thin strips and leave chillies whole, see picture 3.
Ground mustard seeds together, coarsely. Keep aside
Grind all other whole spices a little finer than the mustard seeds, but not to the powder stage.
Place all the spices, salt and 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a bowl and mix well.
Fill in jars, close lid. If making it in hot summer of India, cover the jar with newspaper rolled around the jar to protect it from fierce sun, but allowing the heat to pass through. The strong sun sometimes discolours the pickle.
Leave in the sun for 10-15 days.
When Chillies are soft, add another 1-2 tbsp. mustard oil and store.
Kalonji can be spelled as Kalowunji on some packets.
A pinch of Sodium Benzoate added to pickles, acts as preservative and helps to keep them for longer without getting spoiled.
Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.