Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Pick A Pack of Indian Pickled Peppers

   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.

 I was all ready to make pickled peppers, and if you can get your hands on some Fresno peppers you can too.

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.

 When all the peppers are cleaned out, set them aside and prepare the spice filling.

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.

When all the chilies are ready, set them aside.

Place the stuffed peppers into the empty clean dry jars.

Pour 1/2 cup of mustard oil over and around the chilies in the jar.

Fill the jar.
 Make it airtight.

   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  


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  2. Fantastic colour -- and the filling sounds amazing -- I actually have everything I need to make the filling, just no peppers! Alas, I will have to live vicariously through you. Let us know how they taste next month! Theresa

  3. Beautiful post Missy. I did a spit take when I saw the cupcake in a mug. I almost made those and then didn't. I was too lazy even for that.

  4. What a fun post--and I love the title!

  5. Fantastic and colorful Red Chilli pepper pickle.Luks yummm.

  6. Interesting, my in laws from Kashmir are visiting & making 'pickles'. There's everything from lotus roots to kohlrabi drying on the roof. I've never had any type of 'achar' I didn't like.

  7. @Bibi,
    This is my first time making this sort of pickle... They look great though

  8. @Cucina49,
    Yes everybody around here has been teasing me about that.

  9. They look amazing! however in actual India you can't find red peppers! (bell or chilli) they are all green, unless you buy stale imported ones at the supermarket, the vegetable walla doesn't sell them! #sighs

  10. The way you have these presented in the jar, would make lovely Christmas gifts..nice!

  11. I live in Delhi and I make red chilli pickle every year in February.Fresh red chillies are easily available during this time.

  12. Thanks for the update you have nicely covered this topic. keep it up

  13. God just love the red colours...lit up a very grey day at Mumbai...thanks for sharing



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