during citrus season i become a pickle making machine. i know marmalade is the flavor of the month for most, but my year’s meals would be incomplete without jars of fermented citrus lining up in my fridge at the ready to pack just about any dish with salty, spicy, sweet, and puckery flavor. from the left is salt and pepper preserved kumquats, gingery lime pickle, north indian lime pickle, and sweet preserved kumquats.
yes, i’ve realized that to complete this set, i need to give you one more recipe. get your limes ready, and…chop, chop!
or more appropriately, slice, slice, of course.
north indian lime pickle
8 limes, plus juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup salt (scant if yours is fine)
1/4 cup sugar (i used coconut palm sugar, you can use any natural or raw light brown sugar)
1/8 cup cayenne powder*
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 tablespoon garam masala (see recipe below)
1. slice the limes lengthwise in quarters, then slice each quarter across in 1/4 inch pieces as in photo above.
2. toss everything in a bowl except for the lime juice and stir.
3. place everything in a quart jar and pour the juice of 3 limes over.
4. set the jar on a sunny window sill and give it a shake every day. if you have it in a jar that you know won’t leak turn it on it’s head one day, and then back again the next. do this every day for 6-8 weeks, length of time will vary by the thickness of your limes’ skins. you can start tasting around the 5 week mark, if your teeth can chomp through the skin with no problem – they are ready. don’t let them get mushy though!
technically, you don’t have to keep this in the fridge, but they will keep fermenting if kept in warmer temperature, and eventually become too soft. i put mine right in the refrigerator when determined done where they will store quite possibly forever.
around my crib, we eat indian pickles with just about everything. my general rule is, if you’re serving a meal that has a bowl of grain, flatbread, or side of yogurt attached to it, place a little bowl of these on the table too.
*i lower the sugar and add cayenne to this recipe, ’cause that’s the way i roll. but if you are less of a hottie, you can do what a lot of north indians do to their lime pickles – omit the cayenne powder and up the sugar by a 1/4 cup.
wait, there’s more! … my garam masala recipe.
garam masala is an ubiquitous north indian spice blend, you’ll find in india that no two are exactly alike. you could buy some already made at the store, but for best flavor, freshness, and the judicious mix of spices, i recommend making your own. this is my favorite way.
1/8 cup cumin seeds
1/8 cup coriander seeds
3/4 tablespoon cardamom seeds (smash the green pods with the side of a knife, or a pestle to get to the seeds)
1 cinnamon stick (a 3-inch long piece, broken)
3/4 tablespoon cloves
1 & 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorn
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground or grated nutmeg
1. heat a dry frying pan on medium, use an iron one if you have it.
2. add all of the spices except the nutmeg. give the pan a shake so they spread evenly over pan.
3. roast for approximately 5 to 8 minutes, until you smell a heavenly aroma and the cumin and coriander get just a shade darker gold. keep shaking the pan back and forth a few times as they heat, and be careful not to let them get too dark because they will burn. if you are unsure, take them off, quick!
4. when done, take the pan off the heat and stir in the nutmeg. pour into a plate to cool.
5. once cool, grind in a spice or coffee grinder. i use this. whatever you don’t use right away can be stored in a sealed jar away from light for up to 6 months. use it in 3 months if you can, for top quality taste.