Chilli Pickle

We were given a big bag of chillies yesterday and seeing as how I’m the only one who eats them, I decided to preserve a few. This is my Chilli Pickle recipe – this is a great way to spice up a mild Indian dish without using hot sauce, which may kill the Indian flavours.  

BEFORE STARTING: Do your research on  pickling and health issues associated with pickled foods – ALWAYS adhere to health and safety standards. Proper canning and a sterile environment will avoid the development of any nasties! This is how I do it, but take personal responsibility for you and your family.



2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric
A pinch of salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 small knob of ginger (grated)
3 tsps brown sugar
1/8 cup groundnut oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
250 grams chillies
Juice of half a lemon (or cut lemon into thin wedges)


You need the long, thin chillies to keep the Indian flavour. Jalepanos or the like will not give the same flavour.


Chop the chillies in to segments – larger pieces can be cut in half again. Don’t take out the seeds – this is meant to be hot! You’ll also lose a lot of the bulk by removing seeds/pith.


Gently fry the chillies and ginger in the oil. Don’t fry on too high a heat or they will burn. A gentle fry kills a lot of the heat, but the oil will retain the flavour.


Add in the cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric and salt and allow to reduce.


You can add in a squeeze of lemon for extra tang. If you’re stupid (like me) you can cut half a lemon into thin wedges and add that in to the pickle. Carry on frying gently for about 10 mins.


Add in the vinegar and brown sugar and cover. Reduce to a low heat for 10 more mins.


During this time, boil some water and put your jar in for a few mins to sterilise – move the jar around so all surfaces are sterilised.


If you’re foolish, open the lid and take a big breath in through your nose – it’s very, very powerful. If you want it more powerful, add in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.


Put in to jars.


The pickle is ready immediately, but leaving it for a couple of days will help to intensify the flavour further. Keep in the cupboard for a couple of weeks or a fridge for a couple of months. Great as a condiment to spice up your milder dishes without losing the Indian flavours.


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