Any meal is incomplete without a spicy Pickle and crispy Poppadum in Rajasthan and your scrumptious meal will be always judged by how good you are in making pickles! My mom's house is full of ceramic jars bursting out with new pickles every season, most of which goes to some of the relatives nearby or to unexpected guest who would have praised her cooking after a hearty meal at home.
Oil and salt act as a preservative to the pickles and help it stay fresh for long. Most of the pickle varieties have oil floating up to the brim of the jar, which eventually avoid the formation of molds and fungus and increase its shelf life.
My mom makes a pickle which is water based, and we call it as 'Paani wala Achaar'! I am not a big fan of pickles but often make some of these oil free versions to go with my stuffed Indian flat breads. These two pickle recipes which is very popular in Rajasthan and need less oil.
Most of the houses in Rajasthan eat plain or stuffed chapatti (Indian flat bread) for their breakfast, pickles make a lovely accompaniment. Since I and my hubby do not like much of oily foods, such Pickles make a rare appearance on our table. But there are a few recipes which require minimal oil and can be a good substitutes for any oil laden pickle.
For making the pickle we require a special kind of chilly which is called Athana green chillies, it is broad & fleshy and is found mainly in Jodhpur city of Rajasthan in India. You could make the same using any other chilly which is slightly broad and fleshy. Normally the chillies are pickled whole with a stuffing of various flavorful spices.
Traditionally these green chillies are pickled along with the seeds for that fiery taste, but I remove the seed for a much mellowed pickle.
12-15 Athana Green chillies or any fleshy chili pepper
1/2 cup coarsely ground mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp coarsely ground aniseed powder (saunf)
1 tsp. Turmeric powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (optional)
1 tsp onion seeds (optional)
1 tbsp. rock salt/table salt
1/2 tsp. asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Method; Wash the green chillies and pat dry them carefully using a kitchen napkin. The chillies should be clean and dry without any traces of water on them.
Make an incision or slit in each green chilly length wise from top to the end part. Remove the seeds with a kitchen knife if you want your pickle to be less spicy and fiery.
Take a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients except the oil add lemon in it and mix it well. Stuff the mixed spice mix in each slit green chilly. Fill the stuffed green chillies in a clean jar. Heat oil in wok and pour over the chillies.
1st version (No-oil) ; Take a clean glass jar and fill it with all the stuffed green chillies. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the pickle and cover with a muslin cloth. Keep this jar in sunlight for 7-8 days before consuming.
2nd version (less oil); The other way is to heat oil in a wok and cook the stuffed green chillies for just about 1-2 minutes, without much stirring so as to avoid the stuffing coming out of the chillies. Fill the same in a jar, squeeze the juice of one lemon and keep it aside for a day for the flavors of spices to get infused in the pickle.
This pickle stays good for about a week when refrigerated. Add extra oil to preserve the pickle for longer time.
Serve the pickle with any Indian flat bread of as an accompaniment to any rice recipes.
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