Pickles/Preserves · Vegetarian

Pickled Winter Vegetables

Pickled Winter Vegetables, via Sinfully SpicyNo winter is complete without a jar of pickled vegetables. Crunchy, tangy & spicy, these appear as a side to all my winter meals. While most of you are euphoric about holiday baking, in our house, it’s all about soups and pickling at this time of the year. Mornings are colder, sun is lazy to show up and nip in the air is here to stay. When I am not stirring pots of stews, I love to steer around the house with jars of pickles, chasing sun light.

Winter Vegetables, Pickled

As far as I m concerned, all meals are better with pickles, I have a soft spot for them. Hot & oily ones in particular. If the pickles are sun cooked, even better – which is how my family usually does it.There is something incredibly priceless about what solar cooking does to concoction of spices & mustard oil – the heat from the former and pungency of the oil lend them a distinct flavor & aroma.

Indian Pickled Winter Vegetables, Sinfully Spicy

The vegetables I use in this recipe are available all round the year, but back home, we get first batches of those red, juicy carrots, fibrous sem phalli (indian broad beans),earthy tasting cauliflowers and subtly sweet indian radishes and turnips – that’s when you know its time to bottle up!

In all honesty, I will either eat homemade pickles or have none at all. Lets just say that I m too picky about my pickles.I am clingy about my grandma’s pickle recipes and seriously wish I could replicate her taste each time. Sometimes, its not the recipes but the magic of hands which brings in the taste. Her pickles certainly fell in that category.

Indian Pickling Spices

This pickle is typical to northern parts of India during winter months – you will find almost all road side dhabas (diners) serving it as a condiment alongside meals.Honestly, the real joy in eating these pickles is when you pair them with flatbreads and curry on the side or drizzle few extra teaspoons of that flavored oil atop your bowl of rice & lentils – a taste which cannot be defined, just devoured.

Indian Mixed Winter Vegetables Pickle

Ingredients ( Yields 1 pound of pickle)

  • 1 lb mixed vegetables (cauliflower florets, sem phalli (indian broad beans), mooli (indian radish or daikon), carrots, turnips)
  •  4-5 cups of water + 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp rai ( tiny brown mustard seeds, no substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar/ jaggery powder (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup mustard oil

Also needed :-

  1. Kitchen Towels
  2. Glass bowls
  3. Plastic Wrap sheet
  4. Clean, dry Wooden Spoons
  5. Wide-Mouthed, Sterile Canning Jars (preferably with plastic or glass lids).Click here to see how you can sterlize the jars.

Method :- 

Prepping the vegetables :- Thoroughly wash all the vegetables under stream of running water to remove all dirt & grit.

Since 50% of the carotene content of carrots is in the skin, I don’t peel them if it looks clean, cut the carrots into thick 2″ long batons.Peel the skin of turnips (if using) and slice them. Scrape the skin of the radish and cut them into 2″ long batons. De-vein the broad beans. If any of the beans have tough seeds,discard.Cut off the cauliflower stems and cut medium size florets.

Bring 4-5 cups of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add the salt and take water off the heat. Add the prepared vegetables to the hot water and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Drain and spread the vegetables on a kitchen towel till they completely dry out.

Making the pickle :-

Using your coffee grinder, coarsely grind the rai seeds. Transfer to a small glass bowl and add the hing, turmeric, red chilli powder, sugar and salt to it. Combine the spices with a dry spoon. Lightly warm up the mustard oil. Transfer the dried vegetables to a large glass bowl.Sprinkle the spice mix over the vegetables and pour 1/4 cup of oil. Using a clean, dry wooden spoon or your hands, mix well so that all the vegetables are well coated with the spices & oil. At this point, if you taste, the pickle will be very bitter. But dont worry, it will be okay after sun cooking.

Transfer the vegetables to canning jars.Top up with the remaining 1/4 cup of warm mustard oil. Don’t fill till the top of the jar but at the same time don’t leave a lot of room for bacteria in air to get moldy. Leaving 1/2″ space from the top is okay. If you are using jars with metal lid, you will need to cover the mouth of jar with plastic wrap to avoid the contact between pickle & metal. Let the jars sit in sun. The pickle is ready when the spices taste sour and you see vegetables releasing their juices at the bottom of the jar but still remaining crunchy. You would want to check the salt of the pickle after about 3-4 days and adjust.You will need to shake the jars periodically. In Las Vegas winter sun, it took about 8-10 days to get that stage.

There is no need to refrigerate.Sun-cooked pickles normally last at room conditions. Always use a clean spoon to serve the pickles, they keep for months together.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Appetizers/Snacks · Easy Recipes · Side Dishes · Vegetarian

Achari Paneer Tikka – Skewered Indian Cheese With Pickling Spices

 

 

Achari comes from the word “Achaar” which means pickle in Hindi. Tikka is any kind of boneless meat or vegetables baked or roasted on skewers. Pickles in India are a serious business involving lots of spices, lots of oil & lots of solar energy. Achari is a method of using the pickling spices to make curries. The spice mix is pungent and resonant with bold flavors from fenugreek (methi dana), mustard (raai) & nigella(kalonji) seeds.These spices are not hot, rather they are pungent, quite bitter and have a very strong aroma.In pickles, they ferment over a period of time & give a tangy taste. In curries, they lend a really unique & piquant taste. Achaari preparations don’t taste like normal curries, the taste is acquired & unusual, but at the same time can be very very addictive. Having said that, this should not stop you from trying these skewers coz they are different and really delish. Give these tikkas a chance – trust me it will take you straight to India.You just need to stock up on few spices which last forever from indian stores.


 

Ingredients (Serves 2-3) 

  • 400 gms /14 oz paneer ( Indian cheese, pierced with a fork,cut into 1” cubes)
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10-12 grape tomatoes, whole
  • 1 medium red onion,diced
  • Oil for brushing
  • Lemon Wedges, Cilantro for garnish
  • 10-12 bamboo skewers

Notes:-

  1. Paneer is easily available in Indian stores under different brands.
  2. Paneer can be replaced by extra firm Tofu or Halloumi /Any cheese which can withstand grilling or roasting without melting.
  3. You can use any vegetables of choice here – zucchini,mushrooms work great. Just ensure that the cooking times of vegetable dont vary much.
  4. Dice the vegetables smaller/thinner than paneer, coz it takes less time to cook than veggies.
  5. For the Non vegetarian Version– Use boneless & cubed lamb, mutton, beef, chicken(dark portions) or shrimp.

For the Marinade:-

  • 1/2 tsp each of cumin, fennel, coriander & brown mustard (raai) seeds
  • 1/4 tsp each of nigella & fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies or red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp plain, thick greek yogurt, slightly sour
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mustard oil (preferable for better taste, can be substituted with canola/olive/corn oil) 
  • Salt to taste 

Method:-

  • If using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for atleast 2-3 hours.
  • Soak the cubed paneer in enough warm water seasoned with salt for about 15 minutes.Once soaked, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  • In a small sauce pan, on high heat, lightly dry roast all the seeds under the “For the Marinade”.Roast for about 20 seconds or till you smell the aroma.Remove into a small bowl and let cool.
  • Next, in the same pan, roast the whole red chillies for about 20 seconds.
  • Tip the cooled, roasted spices along with red chillies into mortar or coffee grinder. Grind to a smooth powder to get a achari spice mix.
  • In a bowl (big enough to hold the marinade & ingredients), combine the yogurt, achari spice mix, ginger, garlic,oil,lemon juice & salt.Whisk well to mix.
  • Combine the paneer with the achari marinade,toss gently, cover the bowl with a cling film and set to marinate for 30 minutes,refrigerated. 
  • Add the vegetables to the marinade 5 minutes before ready to cook the skewers. This is important to keep the moisture of vegetables intact.
  • Once marinated, thread the marinated paneer & vegetables on soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with oil on all sides.
  • Cooking the Tikka :- I grilled the skewers on high for 4 minutes each side. You can cook them in my broiler till the paneer edges started to turn brown.About 10-12 minutes.You will need to flip them sideways to cook on all sides. Alternatively you can cook them in a skillet/griddle (about 8-10 minutes)
  • Serve warm with green coriander-mint chutney and flatbreads or rice. 

Notes:-

  1. If using red meat or chicken for making this recipe, marinate the meat overnight or atleast 6 hours to get better flavors.