Sunil Ghai, chef & co-owner at Pickle, Camden Street
Now doing takeaway for collection or delivery within 5km radius.
Pickle for me is like delicious butter with bread. I remember going to school and carrying my lunch box which would always be a paratha, a wholemeal griddled bread layered with butter and sometimes stuffed with potatoes or other veggies, but one thing was always there and that is a pickle of some sort – I always used to finish my lunch before the break!! My mother makes wonderful pickles and I have grown up in her kitchen seeing her mixing the spices and making a huge variety of pickles. I still have a mango pickle that she made 18 years ago, it is gone a little bit salty, but I can still taste loads of sweetness and of course her love and care in there too.
A good pickle is a necessary accompaniment to the majority of food from north Indian cuisine. Their use is almost essential in the region during the summers when the physical activities comes down to a low level and consequently the flow of the digestive juices is inhibited, pickles stimulate the appetite and promote good digestion. They are also pretty delicious and that helps too!
These recipes are almost 24 years old.
Aged Lime Pickle
This is a real favourite in Pickle, it goes so well with fish dishes and it keeps for up to six years – the older the better!
1 tbs mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Seeds from 2 star anise
4 small green chillies
125g brown sugar
1 tbs ground ginger
1. Cut the limes into quarters. Put them in a wide , flat bowl and sprinkle the salt
over them. Leave until next morning.
2. Heat the mustard seeds, fenugreek, star anise and chilies in a dry frying pan.
3. Cover with a lid because the seeds will sputter. When the sputtering subsides,
remove from the heat and put aside.
4. Strain the liquid from the limes into a pan. Add the sugar, ginger and the water
and boil until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool.
5. Put the limes and the roasted spices into a preserving jar, mixing them well.
Pour the cooled sugar mixture over the limes. Cover and keep for 6 to 8 weeks
We started making garlic pickle for ourselves in Pickle and when we gave samples to some regulars to try the response was very positive, so now this particular pickle is a favourite of many of our guests.
250g peeled garlic gloves
1 tbs salt
3 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs black peppercorns, crushed
1 tbs garam masala
1 tbs nigella seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp ground asafoetida
600/700ml mustard oil
1. Peel the garlic and check that it is free from blemishes.
2. Put the whole cloves together with the salt and spices into a preserving jar.
3. Cover with oil and put on the lid.
4. Place the jar in a warm place - on the boiler or in the sun if it is hot enough.
5 Stir a few times a day for 5 days. Leave for at least a 2- 3 weeks, still in a warm
place, before using.
This is pickle is quite sentimental for me, it brings back a great childhood memory I have of being a commis chef to my mother. I remember buying raw mangoes from the vegetable market, she would get 25/30 kg of raw mangoes and she would go through each one thoroughly to check it was perfect.
I know I am biased, but I would say my mother makes the best Punjabi mango pickle .
500 g Raw mango cut into ½ inch dices or wedges
100 g salt
1 tbs red chilly powder
2 tbs of turmeric powder
2 ½ tbs of brown mustard seeds
1 ½ tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs fenugreek seeds
1 ½ tbs nigella seeds
1 tbs of salt
1lit mustard oil
1. Rub the cut mangoes with salt and keep it in the sun for good 6/7 hours
2. Heat the mustard oil and keep it to cool
3. Toast all the spices listed above individually and then crush them in a mortar pestle
4. Now mix all the spices to make a pickle masala keep aside
5. Take a deep mixing bowl and mix the mango and the pickle masala gently using both hands Add half of the mustard oil to it and put this mix into an earthenware pickle jar or glass jar Keep it in the sun or warm place for good 3/4 weeks and add the rest of the mustard oil gradually over this time
Top tip - Don't use wet spoon for any pickles you make at home as the moisture will allow mould to grow.