Lockdown tit bits: EVERYONE COPES DIFFERENTLY
However much you buy pickles from the market, there’s a distinct magic in those homemade ones. A somewhat “hatke” “different” kind of taste and flavour. For all Indians, pickles are more than just an adjunct to their dishes. It’s the pride of the one who made it and the ultimate garnish of the whole meal.
People love to flaunt their pickles - more the variety, higher will be the status. The jars and bottles used for preserving too have a special place of their own. Then there’ll be different styles of pickling- North Indian style, South Indian style, Bengal style, North east Indian styles-all having their unique organoleptic appeals.
Now, coming to our story, this lockdown has revealed to humanity, many softer sides of fellow beings. The isolation has led people to delve within and rediscover themselves. Similar discovery was one when I was in for a pleasant surprise from my bro-in-law, Sasanka, when he posted pics of his “homemade achar” in our family WhatsApp group. I was amazed- okay, we knew him to be an excellent cook, nicknamed Chef Sasanka, but pickles were beyond the range! And it made me crave for some on my own.
I asked him for the recipe and his inspiration. “Cooking might be therapeutic for him”, as my sister says, “It is keeping him sane and relaxed this whole ‘stay home’ period”. Indeed, it’s been a different kind of adjustment for an otherwise super hectic, 24x7 busy corporate, to be locked up with two ever active young boys. And we appreciate how well he has coped.
Many partners are doing the same for their respective spouses who are in essential services, one being our sister, who works in a bank and we at 'Oh Life’s Beautiful' acknowledge that spirit of love and understanding and bow in salutation.
Chilly pickle- the lockdown discovery
The inspiration- In Sasanka's own words, “We were not fully prepared for the first phase of lockdown. Being at home, for the first time in years,we started experimenting with varieties of dishes. As a result, within days, vegetables started vanishing from the fridge. After a few days, what was left were only a few green chillies”. Then the idea of pickling came to his mind as he thought, “with the flavour of pickle a minimalistic meal too could be relished”. So, he rang up his mother, took her recipe and tailor made it to suit his available ingredients at home. And to believe my sister, this easy to prepare pickle has become an integral delicacy of their meal times.
2 bowls of green chillies (slit in the middle)
4 tbsp of white mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera powder
1 cup mustard oil
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt to taste.
· Wash, wipe and slit the chillies into half without detaching.
· Let them wilt a bit in full sun for atleast 3-4 hours.
· Grind the mustard and jeera seeds into powder using a mixie.
· Heat oil in a karhai (pan). Remove from fire and keep aside to cool down.
· Mix the green chillies, mustard seed powder, jeera powder and oil well.
· Transfer the contents into a fine glass bottle.
· Add vinegar and mix well. Keep overnight.
· Add salt to the pickle mix according to taste.
· Keep the bottle under sun for atleast 3 days, till the chillies become tender, olive green and soak up the flavour and taste of the masalas.
· Your green chilly pickle is ready to be relished.