Thursday, November 10, 2005

Stuffed red chili pickles

I saw small red cherry peppers in the farmers' market that screamed to be stuffed. This is my way of stuffing them- with lots of spices and pickling them in oil. This is a traditional pickle from Northern India made with long red chilis. I usually buy 'Mother's recipe' brand of this pickle from India. I am out of it and so this will be my substitute till my next trip to India (if it lasts so long). The Indian red chili is more fiery. Cherry peppers are very mild and so if you want it very spicy, you need to increase the red chili powder to suit your taste.

Stuffed red chili pickles

20 cherry peppers
1 cup oil
2 tbsps mustard seeds
3 tbsps cumin seeds
2 tbsps aniseed/fennelseeds
3-4 tbsp red chili powder or more to taste
1/4 cup coarse mustard powder (available in Indian store)
4 tbsps amchoor powder
about 8 tbsp salt, or more to taste
Juice of 3-5 limes
1 tsp asafoetida

Wash and thoroughly dry the chillies. Trim the stems. Remove the stem of chili and remove most of the seeds and membranes without breaking apart the chilies.

Roast cumin seeds, mustard seeds and aniseed/fennel seeds on a slow fire till mustard pops. Cool and grind very coarsely.

Mix this with the mustard powder, chili powder, raw mango powder and salt. Add just enough lime juice to this mix to make a thick paste. Taste the mixture before stuffing. It should be very salty, spicy and sour. Stuff each chilli well with the paste. Put the chillies in a dry, wide-mouthed glass pickling jar (the glass should be able to withstand hot tempratures).

Heat the oil (if you like the taste, mustard oil will be more authentic) in a pan and when very hot add the asafoetida and immediately turn off the fire. Pour the hot oil over the chillies in the jar. Keep jar open till oil cools. Seal the jar and keep it out in the sun for a week to ten days. In this wet and cold weather, this is not possible. So keep them in a cool place in your pantry. This just means that the chilis will take longer to marinate and soften. Shake gently each day to make sure the oil coats the chillies well.

It goes great with chappatis and parathas.


  1. Mika, where are the farmers markets held? I was under the impression that they are around only in summer (I still don't know Pittsburgh well enough).

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  3. Btw, those stuffed chillies make me drool!

  4. Well that's an interesting variation ,the picture looks terrific ,let me know how long the juicy pickle can be stored !

  5. Mika, they're making my mouth water! I love all kinds of pickles- the spicier the better :)

  6. Very nice recipe, Mika. Well I will be trying out this recipe and also you buttermilk pound cake..interesting recipe.
    Btw this is sailaja(india) and have my own food blog.Can we exchange links?I am putting up your link in mine.

  7. Wow, that is a unique pickle I have never come across. Great masala stuff. Just by imagining it tastebuds explode here too, ufh ho.. a must try! Sabash!

    Just to answer Lera, if you use mustard oil, it can go upto a year :-) Mika - am I right?

  8. Thanks for all your nice comments.

    Lonely traveler- The year round market in Pitt is the one in strip district. May be not exactly a farmers' market, but the produce is fresh all the same. I have seen hoardings for a farmers' market happening at Oakland till the end of November.

    Lera- The pickles can keep for upto 1 year if it is thororughly covered with oil. If you are not familiar with canning like me, it is better to store in the refrigerator after the first week.

    Hi Shammi- we South indians are major pickle consumers, no doubt:-)

    Hi Sailu- Welcome! I like your idea of ayurvedic cooking. thanks for adding my link.

    VKN- this is a North indian pickle. Our family was exposed to it 'coz it happened to be sold at our favorite samosa shop. Very different from our south Indian pickles in the use of spices.

  9. Thanks Mika! Must check out the one in Oakland - do you know where in Oakland? Sorry about the volley of questions in your comments section. Btw, I live in the Squirrel Hill Area.

  10. Lonely traveler-I have seen hoardings for the oakland market (on Blvd of the Allies). But I have never been there. I live in the north hills.