Pickle making process in India is a very ancient tradition which has been loved, followed and passed on from one generation to another. The Western world regards it as an art of preservation or fermentation but for us, it is a creation of a unique accompaniment that goes with every meal. No meal is complete without them.
Over the years, the traditional art of pickle making at home is slowly fading and being replaced with mass-produced pickles that are readily available in the market but these products lack those typical rustic flavours that one get in the home-made pickles. The long process of pickle making from sun-drying the ingredients, soaking them in oil and spices, and finally let them age in the sun for a few days to develop the flavours may seem tedious as it is time-consuming, but it is ridiculously simple. But as it is said, “patience is the key to paradise” and here paradise is that tangy savoury juicy taste which goes well with our meals.
Different oils and spices render different characteristics to the pickles. Salt adds to the flavour, draws moisture and inhibits bacterial growth. The oil is also essential as it acts as a barrier to prevent the ingredients from becoming dry and keeps them moist. As the pickling season is going on, I truly believe that we should not forget to relish our home-made pickle recipes that are passed from our ancestors. In order to encourage our upcoming generation, I share with you two traditional Bengali pickles that are simple to make!
Recipe 1: Beguner Achar (Eggplant Pickle)
- 500 gms Eggplant (black long eggplant preferably without seeds)
- 4-5 Garlic clove, paste
- 1 heaped tsp ginger paste
- 1 heaped tbsp Panchphoron
- 1 tbsp Red chili powder
- 1 tbsp Cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tbsp Bhaja Moshla (Dry roast cumin seeds and dry red chili powder)
- 4-5 Green chilies slit
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4-5 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 ½ cup Emami Mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- Cut eggplant into small cubes. Apply salt and turmeric powder, deep fry and drain. Keep aside.
- Heat rest of the oil, add panchphoron, ginger & garlic paste. Combine all the powder with a tsp of water and make a thick paste, now add that paste to the pan. Sauté until oil separates.
- Add sugar, salt to taste and vinegar and let the mixture come to a nice boil. Add the fried eggplant, green chillies and simmer for 3-4 minutes until oil floats on top. Sprinkle bhaja moshla.
Recipe 2: Tetul & Dhonepatar Achar (Tamarind & Coriander Pickle)
- 2 cup coriander leaves, chopped
- 4 green chili, roughly chopped
- 150 gms tamarind paste or 2 -3 tbsp readymade pulp
- 1 cup jaggery, grated
- 2 cups Emami Mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- Add everything in a blender except oil and blend it to a smooth puree.
- Heat oil in a pan. Pour the heated oil on the paste.
Enjoy cooking and keep pickling!
Till then stay tuned for more recipes on Happy Tummies Around the World.