Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indian Sour Fruit Pickle Varieties

This cookbook lists variations of sour fruit pickles listed below. The technique is greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily prepare them. These are the simplest pickles of them all. Just mix in salt, turmeric powder with sour fruits, add flavouring, mix in additives and your pickle is ready in a few days! 

0.: Chopped raw mango pickle.
1.: Lemon pickle ( Elumichai Oorugai)
2.: Large Citron Pickle (Narthangai oorugai).  
3.: Small Gooseberry Pickle ( Aru nellikai Oorgai)
4.: Baby mango pickle ( vadu manga).
5.: Avakkai Pickle
6.: Grated mango pickle ( Manga Thokku)
7.: Large Gooseberry Pickle ( Peru nellikkai oorugai)
8.: Karanda Pickle (Kilakkai Oorguai)
9.: Fusion Pickles 

Core Logic: Salt sour fruits to draw out their natural acid. Mx in spice powders. Let soak and use. 

Pickling Basics: Pickles were invented as a way to preserve vegetables without refrigeration.  Enzymes within food / Microorganisms from outside spoil food.  So, the goal of all pickling is to retard the microbial/ enzyme actions.

Pickling in an acid (vinegar / wine) arose in the west. History records that these pickles were eaten by Roman soldiers and even by Cleopatra.

An interesting preservation technique is to let the food ferment, so that lactic acid bacteria can create an acid, which acts as a preservative. This process is similar to turning milk into yogurt, but a lot slower. Such pickling by fermentation arose in the east. Benign lactic acid bacteria digest plant sugar, produce lactic acid, carbon di oxide and alcohol. These inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria. Unlike vinegar / wine, which just preserve food, fermentation can actually enrich foodstuffs by making them more digestible, more flavourful and packed with vitamins. Kimchi, Sauerkraut and a huge variety of Japanese pickles are all fermented pickles. Yogurt, cheese, wine, bread, sausages - are all products of fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. India never learnt fermentation because the tropical temperature was too high for proper fermentation. This is why none of fermented products - leavened breads, cheese, wine or sausages are native to Indian cuisine.

Indian pickles rely on salting and use lemon juice / vinegar or natural acids of sour fruits as a preservation medium. The foodstuff is salted (even sunned and salted), mixed with antibacterial spices and covered with oil to seal the surface against the entry of other microorganisms. In sour fruit pickles, the preservative medium is the naturally acidic juice. Salting the fruit draws out the natural juices, reducing enzyme action. The sour juice acts as a natural preservative, preventing the growth of micro organisms.  Thus, these pickles easily last for months. Other fruit / vegetables, which do not have acidic juices (garlic, chilies, ginger etc) can be pickled the same way, but need to have an acid (vinegar / lemon juice) mixed in. By following a few simple rules listed below, you can easily prepare fool-proof pickles

. 1. Use fresh, unblemished sour fruits. The sourer the fruit, the stronger the acid and better the pickle.
2. Wash and completely dry fruits, bottles and spoons.
3. Never use a wet spoon or your bare hands to touch the pickle.
4. Aluminum, plastic or brass vessels react with the acid in pickles and should be avoided. Use glass / stainless steel / porcelain jars.
5. Salt always has moisture in it. So dry roast it / dry it in sun for a day before adding it to the pickle.
6. Sterilize the bottles before filling them with pickles. ( See below)
7. Fill the bottles almost to the top to reduce the amount of air sealed in.
8. Once pickles are ready, cover them with a layer of oil and refrigerate them to make them last much longer.
9. Optionally, mix in a tiny pinch of sodium benzoate, a preservative.
10. Optionally mix in half a handful of dried chickpeas / a spoon of fenugreek seeds / 4-5 garlic cloves with these pickles. These taste delicious when pickled in the sour juice.
11. If the fruits are not sour enough, mix in a spoon or two of vinegar.

The more rules you break, the less time your pickles will last. Follow all of them and your pickle will easily last for a year or more. .

South Indian Pickling powder:
 Take a handful of mustard seeds, half a handful of fenugreek, two handfuls of red chilies. (Optionally add in a spoon of dhania / cumin). Dry the mixture in the sun for a day.( Or microwave for a minute at the highest setting). Let cool and grind to a powder.


North Indian Pickling powder Take a handful of red chilies. Add two pinches each of onion seeds ( kalonji), fenugreek, cumin, peppercorns and  four pinches of mango powder.. Let dry in the sun for a day (or microwave at the highest setting for a minute). Let cool and grind to a coarse powder.

For south Indian pickles use sesame oil and for north Indian pickles use mustard oil. If you do not like the raw oil taste, heat the oil till it smokes, let it cool and then add to the pickle.

Sterilising bottles Fill a pan with cold water. Immerse the bottles and bring water to a boil. Boil for five minutes, remove bottles and keep them inverted in the sun till they are completely dry.

You can use this technique to pickle any sour fruit from across the world.  

1 comment:

Veggie Belly said...

I love these one page printables!

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