Indian Chili Pickle

Bird's Eye Chili Peppers (Photo by Nate Gray/flickr)


1 kg/2 lb long, hot, fresh red or green chillies
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups mustard oil
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons nigella seeds
2 teaspoons crushed asafoetida


Wash chillies and dry them well. Cut off stalks and slice chillies across into 1 cm (1/2 in) slices. Sprinkle with salt and turmeric, toss to mix evenly, cover and leave for 2 days in the sun or place in a very low oven for 2 hours each day. Soak mustard seeds in vinegar overnight, and grind in an electric blender with the garlic.

Heat oil in a large pan and add the fenugreek and nigella seeds. Stir and fry until fenugreek is golden brown, then add the asafoetida, stir once, and add the blended mixture and the chillies together with the liquid that will have gathered.

Cook, stirring now and then, until oil rises and chillies are cooked but not too soft. Cool and put into sterilised jars.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)