Mamta's Kitchen

Kumquat (Orange), Sweet Pickle

Hazara Santre ka Meetha Achaar/Achar

Mrs. Vinodini Rastogi

Note from Mamta: This recipe comes from my sister-in-laws mum, who was a renowned cook in her time. Now in her nineties, she still dictates an occasional recipe to me when I meet her in Delhi. Kumquats, also known as Calamondin in the East, are, small, tart, edible oranges that grow in hot climate. The plants are evergreen and have shiny green leaves, nicely scented blossoms and are often sold as ornamental plants in the West. You can make it with fewer kumquats than in the recipe, as in the pictures, just reduce the other ingredients accordingly.


  • 250 gm. (approximately 25) kumquats oranges. You can use other tiny ornages in place of kumquats.

  • 2 tsp. salt

  • 200 gm. jaggery/gur/brown sugar (adjust to taste and tartness of oranges)

  • 1 tsp. brown cardamom seeds, coarsely ground

  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (adjust to taste)

  • 1 tsp. coriander powder

  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds (saunf), coarsely ground (you can use whole seeds too)

  • 1 tsp. nigella seeds or kalaunji/kalownji (nigella sativa)

  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1-1.5 tbsp. malt vinegar*, enough to make a paste

  • Note from Mamta* I use 0.5 cup vinegar and I cook the Kumquats. I find that cooking kumquats in vinegar reduces chances of it developing mould later on. See Notes & last picture.


  1. Make 4-6 crosswise cuts into each orange, leaving the base intact, so it can open like a flower.

  2. Place oranges and all other ingredients in a bowl and mix well, adding only enough vinegar to make the spices cling to the oranges.

  3. Place in sterilizes jars, tie a muslin on top and leave in hot sun or a sunny windowsill for 1 week.


  • *For longer lasting pickle, use 1/2 cup vinegar and cook the kumquats in a pan, simmering briskly, for 10 minutes or so. Now bottle in sterilised jars.

  • Also see Pickle and Chutney Selection.

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