Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Posts Tagged ‘condiments’

Quick Indian Chili Pepper Pickles (Mirchi ka Achar)

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 26, 2016


My mom made the best Indian pickles in the world.  Before she died,  I transcribed some of her recipes (minimal as they were) onto my iPhone Notes.  Unfortunately, when I bought a new phone,  these files did not survive and now these recipes are nothing but a memory on my tongue.  So I was delighted to come across some recipes on the website called Indian Simmer.  I adapted and annotated the simplest one and used the last of my garden’s serranos to make a pickle you can prepare in just a few minutes and eat within a few hours.


  • 250 gm chili peppers, any combination.  I used a mix of red fresno and serrano peppers, but Thai bird peppers are traditional and much, much hotter.
  • 4 tbs.  brown mustard seeds, coarsely ground in a coffee grinder.
  • Generous pinch of Asafoetida (Hing).  Skip if you cannot find it,  but this is like fish sauce and adds a lot of umami, although it would taste awful if you placed a pinch on your tongue.
  • 5-6 tablespoon oil, preferably mustard oil  (this oil really lends the distinct Indian pickle flavor, but swap with other unflavored oils if you have to). There should be enough oil to fully coat the peppers.  This is the second preservative.
  • Salt to taste  (1 used 3 tsp- this acts as a preservative, so don’t skimp.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tbs. Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric powder



  • Stem the chillies and pulse them in a food processor to get smallish pieces (this will only take a few pulses) .  You can also cut these by hand which is traditional.
  • Place the chillies in a medium sized bowl and add salt.  Dry brine the chillies for 1/2 hour (or longer).
  • You can drain the water from the chilies if you want to reduce the heat after the brining.
  • Heat the mustard oil until it is smoking, then turn off the stove and allow it to cool completely to room temperature.  This reduces the pungency of the mustard oil.
  • In a small  bowl, combine the ground mustard, asafetida, oil, salt, sugar, lemon juice and turmeric powder.  Mix thoroughly.
  • Toss the spice mix with the chillies.
  • Taste and adjust the salt and lemon to taste.
  • Transfer the pickles to a glass jar.   You should probably sterilize the jar or run it through the dishwasher.
  • Let the pickles sit on the counter for a day and then store in the fridge.  These should keep for a long time.




  • The pickles will taste better after a few days, although they can be used right away if you cannot wait.
  • The pickles will also lose some of their heat over time.
  • These pickles can be used as an accompaniment to any Indian meal, but are also great on buttered toast, on eggs, you name it!



Posted in Asian, condiments, Indian Food, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Onion-cilantro dip (Onion chutney)

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 26, 2011

This dip is taken from the book Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan.  It has a number of exquisite recipes and if you are a vegetarian or would like to expand your repertoire of Indian foods, particularly Southern Indian foods, this book is for you.  This chutney is made by  sauteing onions with spices and then grinding the onions with cilantro/coriander leaves for freshness.  A feature of south Indian cooking, the use of lentils as spices is really well showcased here.  This dip is lovely with any flat bread or pita chips or as a side with any Indian meal.  And it could not be simpler to make.


2 tbs. oil

2 large sweet onions (or any yellow onions of your choice), diced in the food processor

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

3 dried cayenne peppers (omit if this is too hot for you)

1 green hot pepper , e.g, thai bird pepper or serrano (optional)

4 tsp washed urad dal

1/2 tsp asafetida/hing

1 marble sized dollop of tamarind concentrate

salt to taste

1/2-3/4 cup coriander leaves and tender stems (rinsed)


The original recipe requires 3 steps.  In the first step you infuse your cooking oil with spices and set these aside (tempering).  Then you saute you onions.  Finally, you  grind everything together with coriander.  I did this in 2 shots with perfectly delicious results.  So here goes.  Heat oil in a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed pan.  When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, the red and green chilies if using,  the hing and the lentils. Turn down the flame and continue to cook till the lentils are roasted and pick up a red/roasted look (2-3 min).  Now add the onions and saute till they are soft and golden-brown.  Now add the tamarind paste and mix thoroughly with the onions.  Add salt.  Allow the onions to cool, then transfer to a food processor or blender.  Add the cilantro to the food processor and blend the chutney till fairly smooth. Adjust the salt if needed. The lentils will remain partially unprocessed and will provide a contrast to the otherwise smooth chutney.  Serve as you would any dip, with pita chips or naan or as a side at an Indian or middle eastern meal.

Posted in Asian, condiments, Indian Food, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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