We've been having some lovely sunny weather recently, so this weekend I went to the Sweetmart to pick up ingredients for some pickles.
My family's personal favourite is raw mango pickle. I have been basically following a recipe for "Rajasthani mango pickle with fennel seeds" from Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian" book, with just a few changes.
After washing and drying well, the whole mango is cut up, including the stone, though the seed in the middle is discarded.
Fennel and fenugreek is toasted for the spice powder.
It is ground up with mustard seeds. The recipe calls for the hulled split kind, but I usually just grind up wholue mustard seeds.
This is added along with turmeric, chilli powder, asafetida and salt to the cut up mangos and mixed well.
Next I heat some mustard oil. I don't heat it to smoking point as this would mellow the flavour, but I do get it nice and hot.
The oil is poured over the spiced mangos and mixed well.
Finally, I bottle the mango in a preserving jar with a seal on the lid. It needs to sit in the sunlight for as much as possible whilst it is pickling. I like to leave my pickles at least three months before eating, as this gives them a chance to mature and settle. Then I bring them out of the sun and transfer the mixture to smaller jars. Usually I take out one jar to use straight away, and put the rest in the back of the cupboard to mature even more. If you make pickle well and keep it sealed, you can enjoy it after a few years and it will have an amazing flavour!
After making mango pickle, I turned to the limes I had bought. This is the first time I have made this particular recipe, which is an unusual pickle that Madhur Jaffrey says is a simple version of her Grandmother's black lime pickle.
After wiping with a damp cloth and being well dried off, the limes are split into quarters in such a way that they remain joined together at the base.
The spice mixture that the limes are stuffed with is made of cumin, whole black cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves. I ground the whole spices up with salt.
The mixture is divided into six (one for each lime) and one part is stuffed into each lime.
Then the limes are put in a preserving jar.
They will sit in the sun for a day or so, and then I will add some lime juice to them. Then they will sit in the sun for a month or so more, before they are brought into the house to mature for a month or so longer. Don't forget to shake your pickles once a day when they are maturing, to keep everything evenly coated in oil/ juice and spices.
Tomorrow I plan to make garlic pickle, and maybe carrot pickle too.