My favourite pickle, made with my favourite vegetable. This pickle, brinjal ka achaar, is deliciously hot and spicy.
Pickles are a staple in most Indian meals served as an accompaniment to each meal. They can also be served on their own, perhaps with some plain rice or bread, to give a simple, but flavourful meal.
This brinjal pickle is typical of pickles from Hyderabad.
You must practice stringent food hygiene when preparing this dish. Do not allow any water into the preparation, as this will encourage mould to form. You must sterilise the containers to prohibit any bacterial growth. The spices and acidity in this dish act as natural food preservatives, but don’t rely on them alone.
As described here the recipe will make enough pickle for two or three meals, with servings for four people. Note that this pickle will only keep for about two weeks, if kept in the refrigerator. You do need to start this recipe two days before you want to consume it, as it needs to stand for a few days.
Thoroughly clean and dry the eggplants. Cut into 1cm pieces and place in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and stand for two hours.
After two hours, shake off any salt, and squeeze the eggplant to remove any excess liquid. Pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 100ml of the sesame oil in a pan over a medium heat, and add the eggplant. Make sure you only have one layer in the pan, so you may need to do this in batches. Fry the eggplant for five minutes, tossing frequently, or until the eggplant takes on a light golden colour. Place fried eggplant and any remaining oil into a glass bowl.
Add the chilli powder, ground cumin, fenugreek and garlic to the eggplant and mix well.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan, and when hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and dried chillies. Fry for one minute, or until mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from heat and pour over the eggplant mixture. Mix well.
Allow mixture to cool enough to handle and transfer to a sterilised jar.
Keep in a cool, dark place for two days, then the pickle is ready to serve.
- Indian sesame oil is called gingelly oil, and is not the same as the Chinese variant, being less intense in flavour. A vegetable oil could be used as a substitute.
- This pickle will only keep for around two weeks after opening. It must then be kept in the refrigerator.