9 May 2014

Stuffed Red Chilli Pickle

Though it sounds explosive, Bharwaan Mirchi Achaar or Stuffed Chilli Pickle is quite tame (!!) and a wonderful accompaniment for Indian breads in particular. There are two variations to this, the pickle can be made with Red Chillies and Green Chillies alike. The variety of chili best suited for this pickle is the "Bhavnagri Chili" which has its origin in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

It's very spicy and perennially available.
During my years in Delhi I never had problems getting hold of this chili or its brethren that would suit the pickle purpose, but sadly it is not available readily in Chennai, where I live now. I ended up buying it once in Switzerland from a Lebanese shop, and recently from the Dadar vegetable market in Mumbai.
I scoured through many stuffed chili pickle recipes the first time and made a combination that worked best for me. I have used the following recipes for many years now and the result has always been flawless :)

                                                  STUFFED RED CHILLI PICKLE

Ingredients : 

Red Chillies - 1/2 KG
Oil - 2 cups (Best to use Sesame oil)
Chili powder - 30 gms (6 tsps)
Methi seeds - 30 gms (Roasted slightly and ground)
Dry Mango powder (Amchoor) - 50 gms
Garam Masala - 30 gms (6 tsps)
Fennel Seeds (Saunf) - 100 gms (Roasted and coarsely ground)
Salt - 50 gms
Mustard powder - 50 gms (Dry roast in a pan for just 2 to 3 minutes, i.e, don't let it splutter, then dry grind)
Jeera powder - 50 gms (slightly roasted and ground)
Juice of 4 lemons, tends to cut down the spice and add some tanginess

1. Wash the chilies well and pat dry. Spread them on big platters and let dry well. The chilies need to be absolutely dry before being pickled, moisture being the sworn enemy of any pickle.
NOTE : Always wear disposable gloves when handling chilies and spices.

2. Once dry, remove the stem from the chilies, make a slit in the centre and de-seed. If the chilies are too long and/or narrow, cut them in half to make stuffing them easier.

3. Heat the oil to smoking point and let cool to room temperature. Keep aside. Meanwhile moisten the dry spices with lemon juice and mix well. To this add about 4 to 5 tbsps of the cooled oil. The remaining oil will be poured over the chilies in the end.

4. Fill the slit chilies tightly with the spice mix. Place them carefully in a large glass or ceramic jar. Once all the chilies have been stuffed, pour the remaining oil over them. As oil acts as the preservative here, if you find that all the chilies are not fully submerged in the oil, heat and cool some more and pour into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean muslin or cheesecloth and seal tightly with the lid.

5. Stir the pickle gently every day taking care not to let the stuffing spill out. If you are not comfortable with doing this in a jar a large urn can be used for the initial resting period. After about a week transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
If the climate where you live is humid and/or wet, it is very important not to store the pickle in a damp, cool place. Whenever possible, keep the urn/jar in the sun when it comes out and stir once. 
The pickle will be ready for consumption in about 2 weeks' time as you will notice the chilies become softer and would have absorbed the oil and spices alike.
The recipe for Stuffed Green Chilies pickle is here....

These are some typical Ceramic jars used in India to store pickles.....


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