There’s seemingly no end to the varieties of pickles in Indian cuisine. These are flavor-packed condiments used to enhance foods and, as is the case with ginger, ease digestion. Try a couple spoonfuls added to your next favorite Indian meal, stew, or simply added to some rice or soup.
In spite of being called a “pickle,” if you’re new to Indian cuisine and its pickles and condiments, this will be a bit different than what you’re used to. In this instance, there’s no vinegar involved, and the limited “brine” won’t necessarily submerge all the veggies or show visible signs of fermentation. This is a common characteristic of Indian pickles and due to the salt, acids, and process involved, you can rest assured it will be safe and preserved.
Baby ginger available in some Asian or international markets, particularly in the fall, has no tough fibers and is the ideal choice. If using mature ginger, try to use fresh specimens and discard the peel and any fibrous bits.
This is an easy recipe to make and will stay good for months or more. In the refrigerator it can last indefinitely, in case you’re concerned about preservation techniques.
You will need:
- Pint mason jar
- Knife & cutting board (or grater or mandoline)
- Measuring spoons
- Medium mixing bowl
- Small frying pan & spatula
- Suggested: mortar & pestle
- Suggested: citrus juicer
- Suggested: canning funnel
- 250g peeled, fresh or baby ginger (shredded, thin sliced or matchstick cut)
- 4 limes, juiced + 1 tsp zest
- 1 TBSP cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black salt (kala namak)
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
- 1 serrano pepper (or similar hot pepper), thin sliced
- 1/4 tsp asefoetida
- 1 tsp sugar (optional; if you prefer to balance any bitterness)
1.) Peel the ginger (suggested with a spoon for ease). If using baby ginger, peeling is not necessary. Cut or shred it as desired. Place in mixing bowl.
2.) In the pan over low heat, toast the cumin and fenugreek seeds for 1.5 – 2 minutes, stirring and moving so as to avoid charring. Then transfer to mortar & pestle and coarsely crush, then add to mixing bowl.
3.) Juice the limes and add to the mixing bowl.
4.) In the mixing bowl, add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Then transfer to jar (using optional canning funnel) and seal tightly.
5.) Place the jar outside in a sunny area for 1-2 weeks. Shake every other day.
It is now ready for serving. Enjoy! You may store at room temp for up to six months, or refrigerated at least a year.