What is life without pickles, right? The unique combination of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours add to our simple joys in life. No doubt, pickle happens to be the most favourite meal accompaniment in every Indian household. With winters still lingering on, making pickles with different seasonal veggies, like carrots, turnip, cauliflower and others is a common practice. But making pickles is not so easy. It requires a lot of hard work, patience and should be made in a hygienic way, or else the pickle won’t stay fresh for long. Madhushree Basu, a home chef, said, “Every year, in winter, I make pickles with vegetables, especially with red carrots, cauliflower and sometimes, I add green peas to it. The key process in pickling vegetables is that you have to wash them really well. So, I keep them soaked in water and then wash them under running water thoroughly. Then, I spread the vegetables on a tray and leave them in the sun for a couple of days to ensure there’s no moisture left in the vegetables.”
Spices used for making an achaar can vary from home to home and should be used in right proportion. “I use panch phoron coarsely crushed and red mustard powder along with plenty of mustard oil, dried red chillies and whole garlic. Vegetables are covered in the oil and finally I add salt and vinegar. When I store the pickle, I ensure it has enough smoked and cooled mustard oil floating on top,” added Madhushree.
So, here are some easy ways to pickle your winter veggies that have both nutritional value and also taste yum. Read on…
The sweet and tangy carrot pickle is very popular in north India. To make this, take four cups of carrots cut into long pieces, three tablespoons of brown mustard powder, two tablespoons of turmeric powder, two table spoons red chilli powder, two tablespoons mustard oil and salt to taste. Wash the carrots and dry them in the sun for minimum eight hours up to two days. Mix all the spices thoroughly with the carrots, put them in a glass jar with a lid and cover it. Next day, add smoked and cooled mustard oil and keep the jar in the sun for seven to 10 days. Don’t forget to shake the bottle regularly. After 10 days, the tasty carrot pickle will be ready. Carrots promote weight loss, have high antioxidant properties, are rich in
vitamin K and also help in metabolism.
Cauliflower and turnip pickle
This pickle is a bomb of flavours and is widely consumed in Punjab. To enhance its taste, carrots are also added to gobi and shalgam achaar. To prepare this, first, the extra moisture is dried from vegetables by keeping then under the sun for two few days. Other ingredients and spices that are needed to make this pickle include jaggery, ginger, garlic, mustard seed powder, red chilli powder, Punjabi garam masala, malt vinegar, mustard oil and salt. Heat the mustard oil in a non-stick kadhai, add coarsely ground ginger and garlic and sauté till light golden. Saute the spices for a few minutes. Add jaggery, salt and then add veggies. Cook for another three to four minutes. Let it cool. Stir in the vinegar and keep it in a glass jar.
Beetroot pickleBeetroot pickle
Beetroot is another winter vegetable that boosts our metabolism. It is widely made in north Kerala. To prepare this, cut the beetroots in thin strips. Cut ginger and garlic in small pieces. Then melt jaggery with two tablespoons of water and strain it. Boil a cup of water with salt and vinegar and set it aside. Fry ginger-garlic pieces until golden brown. In the same oil, put some mustard seeds and once it starts spluttering, add beetroot, turmeric, red chilli, asafoetida and fenugreek seeds. Saute along with fried ginger and garlic. Add two tablespoons of vinegar and a little jaggery. Cook till the pickle thickens and store it in air-tight container.
Amla or the Indian gooseberry is a great source of vitamin C and also helps boost immunity. The amla pickle is quite tangy and can be made spicy too. The key spices in making this pickle are asafoetida (hing), crushed fenugreek, nigella and fennel seeds. Just wash the amlas thoroughly, boil them in water for six minutes to soften them, drain the water and cool. Then cut them into wedges after deseeding. Make a coarse mixture of the spices like fenugreek seeds, nigella, fennel, red chilli powder, asafoetida, turmeric, salt and smoked and cooled mustard oil. Mix the amlas in the mixture and let it soak for two hours. Store it in an air-tight container.