As I've mentioned before, we are deep in the finishing phases of our latest script. After being screenwriters for years we're obviously used to this, but as a food blogger for only the last two years, I'm not. You see, some strange stuff goes on around here when we're in finishing mode. We spend longer hours in our office. I don't cook any big fancy dinners for 8. I do what anyone else under work pressure does, I rely on easy to fix old standby meals, things that are easy to make ahead and keep on hand. I also get bored with that pretty damn fast and go looking around to see what kind of food trouble I can get into. I only have a couple of rules for this adventuring. It has to be easy, I have to have the stuff on hand, it has to seem like fun and it must be something I've never tried before.
This is the time when I want to make marshmallows or grow my own mushrooms, or mix up cupcakes in a coffee mug and bake them in the microwave. Like this.
And yeah, it tasted about as good as it looks. You see what I mean. I am looking for a challenge and I want it to turn out a hell of a lot better than that cupcake in a coffee mug thingy. Whatever project I undertake has to take minimum effort (in other words, easy) and have a maximum success rate (it'd better taste good when I'm done). I was stuck and puzzled and then I stumbled across a new post from my friend Prerna at Indian Simmer. She'd written a delightfully intriguing post about pickling peppers. I was hooked. She had me at pickle.
I am crazy for anything I can jar, salt, pickle, cure or preserve. The idea of making traditional Indian pickled peppers was exactly the experiment I was looking for. It met all my criteria. It was easy, doable and I had all the stuff. Well almost all the stuff. As it turned out I was missing the pickle part.
After a flurry or tweets where I sent Prerna a few Instagrams of the wrong sort of peppers to pickle, she offered to send me some of the right sort of pickles. How could I refuse such generosity?! Sure enough a few days later a lovely bag of what turned out to be Fresno Peppers arrived at my door. I took them out of their bag and as she instructed, cut the heads off them and set them out doors in the Sonoma heat for the day to dry out a wrinkle a bit.
Indian Pickled Peppers
Here's what to do:
Cut the tops off of 45 or 50 Fresno Peppers.
Set them outside in the sun for 5 hrs or in a warm 170 degree oven to dry out and wrinkle a bit.
Wash out the jar or jars you will be using for canning the peppers. Let them air dry.
Remove the seeds from the interior. You may want to wear gloves while doing this as these peppers are hot stuff.
In a skillet dry roast :
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp of nigella seeds
Roast them over a medium heat until they become fragrant. Take the spices off the heat and let them cool.
Place the dry, roasted spices in a spice grinder or processor along with:
4 Tbs of fennel seeds
4 Tbs of coriander seeds
4 Tbs of mustard seeds
4 Tbs of amchur powder (dried mango powder)
11 and 1/2 Tbs of Kosher salt
Grind all the spices together in a spice grinder or blender along with 1/2 cup of mustard oil.
Mix everything together until you have a thick paste.
Stuff the paste into the empty chili peppers.
Rotate the jar everyday to move the oil around the peppers. Store the jar in a cool dry place for at least a month before enjoying the peppers. Prerna told me that these peppers are going to be hot, hot, hot after a month of curing. I can't wait to try them. Easy, fast and hot. Who could ask for more?
Coming up next , Can I get Indian fries with that? Yes I can. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori