Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Indian Seafood Pickle Cheatsheet

Model Recipes

Sayantani's Bengali Prawn pickle uses mango as a souring agent and mustard paste as a preservative. Her use of water, green chillies and coconut would no doubt make the pickle tasty, but would dramatically shorten the shelf life of the pickle. If you cut out coconut, replace green chilies with chili powder and water with vinegar, the shelf life would greatly improve.

Ramana Dukkipati's prawn pickle uses lemon juice as a preservative. Though warming lemon juice ( he has the innovative technique of adding lemon juice to hot pickle to warm it !) increases the shelf life, the water content in lemon juice does not permit the pickles to be stored for long. Replace lemon juice with vinegar or citric acid crystals dissolved in vinegar for a longer shelf life. Instead of rinsing and simmering prawns in water, using vinegar would dramatically improve shelf life.

Nisha's Tuna Pickle demonstrates there is just a thin line between a curry and a pickle.

Yummy Team's fish pickle reduces water content of the fresh fish first by blotting it with a tissue and then by deep frying it. However, Fish, green chilies, garlic and ginger do retain some of their water content, even after cooking. This water would shorten the shelf life, but the generous addition of vinegar balances it out.

If I am to judge pickles by how long they last, the easy winner is
Addie's dry fish pickle. This would keep the longest as he only avoids using water in the recipe, but uses dry fish to ensure the recipe has virtually zero water. This pickle will easily last years in a refrigerator, getting better with age ! Remember, water is poison to pickles.

Think of any pickle as a really sour, really spicy curry, cooked with very little water ! In fact you can easily turn any curry into a pickle by adding a generous dose of souring agent & pickling spices.

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