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Tag Archives: pickle

Prawn Pickle

An Indian meal, no matter how elaborate it is, stays incomplete without a pickle by the side. It is perhaps only in Indian cuisine that pickles are so diverse in preparation and flavours. And over years, we have learnt to pickle just about any ingredient!

Seafood pickles are extremely common in South India, especially in Kerala owing to the state’s enviable coastline. Today’s prawn pickle is inspired by the flavours of Kerala; it is spicy but sour and tangy too. A complex myriad of flavours in every spoonful.

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Small prawns or shrimps are used to make this pickle generally. The prawns are marinated first, deep fried and then tossed through the pickling mixture which is a fiery concoction of red chilli, aromatics, curry leaves and spices like fenugreek, mustard and asafoetida.

Pickles always develop flavour over days and it is best to store this one too for a few days in your refrigerator before enjoying it.

Pickles are more of a condiment, and supposedly to be enjoyed in small quantities along with the main meal. I tried so hard but failed miserably in this regard as this prawn pickle was so delicious that it became more of a main dish than the condiment. All I needed was a bowl of rice and some thick yoghurt!

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I am sure you will agree on this too, so let’s not waste anymore time talking and get straight on to the recipe.

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg small prawns/shrimps; deshelled and deveined
2. Vegetable oil; to deep fry the prawns

For full recipe, click here.

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

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Achari Mushrooms (White Button Mushrooms sautéed with aromatics and Achari spice blend)

Now, there are tons of recipes floating on the cyber culinary world with the pre-fix ‘achari’. For those who aren’t aware, achari or achar refers to pickle in Hindi. The Indian pickles, unlike the Western counterparts, are an indulgence of spices and these very spices are used to flavour other dishes too, which have ended up being labeled ‘achari’.

You might have read the ‘achari okra’ recipe that I had posted on the blog a while ago. In that dish, I used a spoonful of the pickle itself to add flavour to the okras. But in today’s dish, achari mushrooms, I made the achari spice blend and this was used to add flavour to the white button mushrooms.

The achari spice blend is a flavourful and fragrant medley of mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, carrom, dry chillies, dry mango and nigella (the seeds, not the diva!)

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It is an extremely versatile blend that can be used for flavouring barbecues, meat skewers etc…apart from of course, Indian dishes. Do take the effort to make the spice blend from scratch, it’s not a difficult one and you can store the extra in an airtight container for a few weeks.

I used mushrooms only because I found some great ones at the market but you can use just about any vegetable or meat for this one. I have tried it with chicken and the result was delicious.

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Achari mushrooms would make a great starter. The fragrant and delicious spice blend flirts with the onions, aromatics and tomatoes to coat the mushrooms lovingly in a flavourful thick sauce. A squirt of lemon, the freshness of chopped coriander and a pinch of dry fenugreek leaves, all add to the delicious drama unfolding….

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Adapted from a similar dish by Meera Jayaram.

Ingredients:

Achari spice blend:

1. 2 tbsp mustard seeds
2. 2 tbsp cumin seeds
3. 2 tbsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4. 2 tbsp fennel seeds
5. 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
6. 1 tsp carrom seeds (ajwain)
7. 75 gms dry red chilli
8. 2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)

For the dish:

9. 500gms white button mushrooms; washed, dried and halved
10. 3 tbsp mustard oil
11. 1 red onion, chopped finely
12. 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
13. 1 inch ginger, chopped finely
14. 1 large red tomato, blanched and pureed
15. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
16. 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
17. 1 tsp achari spice blend
18. ¼ tsp dry fenugreek leaves
19. Salt, to season
20. juice of ½ lemon
21. ½ cup chopped coriander leaves

Method:

• Dry roast all the spices except the red chillies and dry mango powder. Keep aside to cool. Roast the chillies separately taking care not to burn it. Cool and grind all the spices together. Mix in the dry mango powder and you have the achari spice blend.
• In a pan, heat oil and sauté the chopped onions. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
• Meanwhile blanch and puree one tomato.
• To the onions, add turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and achari spice blend. Saute on low flame for a minute and add the tomato puree. Continue to cook on low flame till the puree thickens and the gravy comes together.
• Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes on high heat; season with salt. The mushrooms release a bit of water which helps to bring the dish together. Taste at this stage and adjust seasoning accordingly. Do not cook the mushrooms for too long; it should still have a bit to it when finished.
• Take off flame and add the fenugreek leaves, lemon and coriander leaves.
• Serve hot.

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Achari Bhindi (Okra with Indian Pickling Spices)

Pickles are, perhaps, the most revered condiment in Indian cuisine. An age-old technique which began as a means to preserve excess food, today pickles hold a very important part of our cuisine.

There is a ginormous variety of pickles in Indian cuisine today and every household seems to have a favourite one too. Unlike other regions of the world, the Indian pickles are slightly different in that a large variety of spices are used to maximize the flavour. All kinds of ingredients are used to prepare the pickles – vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, the list is endless….

Today’s recipe is not that of a traditional pickle but uses the delicious spicy, tangy, chatpata (for lack of a better word!) masala incorporated in the pickle. Using the pickle masala as a base for the dish is such a genius idea as the flavours incorporated in this masala is not just tasty but extremely well-balanced. Saves a whole lot of time; it is as if you are using a pre-packaged masala where you throw all the ingredients into a pan and the dish is done.

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You can use any type of pickle masala for Achari Bhindi. I like the spicy, tangy ones so used the masala from mixed vegetable pickle. The idea of using pickle masala can be extended to just about any ingredient including seafood and meats.

So, here’s a recipe for Achari Bhindi – the medley of aromatics and spices and the nuttiness of the mustard oil coats the shallow fried okra beautifully. A winner dish!

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Recipe Adapted from maayeka

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gms baby okra (also known as bhindi or lady’s finger)
  2. mustard oil – 3 tbsp
  3. 1 ripe red tomato, chopped
  4. 2 green chilli, slit
  5. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  6. ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  7. ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  8. ½ tsp fennel seeds
  9. ¼ tsp nigella seeds (also known as kalonji)
  10. 1 ½ tbsp pickle masala (add less if you require less heat)
  11. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  12. Salt, to season
  13. 1 tsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Cut off the top ends, wash and pat dry the okra. Since I used baby okra, I left it whole.
  2. Heat mustard oil in a pan, crackle the mustard seeds and then add fenugreek, cumin, fennel and nigella seeds.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies.
  4. Add the turmeric powder, okra and season with salt. Mix well.
  5. Cook on low heat and turn only occasionally so that the okra remains dry and not gooey and slimy.
  6. When almost done, add the pickle masala and mix through.
  7. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  8. Serve hot.

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Cut Mango Pickle

As any true-blooded Indian, I love pickles. I always thought that making pickles is a long and arduous process best left to grandmothers and hence never tried it at all. Recently, I began to re-kindle my interest once again in the art of making pickles and was delighted to find that there are many recipes which are quite simple and easy to prepare.

One good example is the cut mango pickle made using raw green mangoes. I love this one especially as an accompaniment with hot rice gruel. Oh yum!

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Ingredients:

1. Raw mango – 2, cut into tiny pieces
2. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
3. Red chilli powder – 2 tsp (add more if you like it really hot)
4. Salt – to season
5. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
6. Curry leaves – a big handful
7. Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp (since I store the pickle in the fridge, I added less oil. You will need to add lots more if you want to keep it outside)

Method:

• Place the chopped mango pieces in a large bowl.
• Add salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder and rub well into the mango pieces.
• Heat oil in a large pan, crackle mustard seeds and add the curry leaves.
• Add the mango mixture and stir on high flame for 2 minutes.
• Cool and store. Pickle ready!

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