If you don’t want to wait a month to prepare tangy lemon or lime pickle, ginger pickle is a good choice. It is pretty much ready to enjoy as soon as it is cooled and jarred.
Premade pickles are readily available in Toronto Indian markets but when I began making pickles, in Whitehorse, Yukon, ingredients were much more challenging to source. Even in Toronto, I can generally only get fenugreek seed, and hing in Indian markets. Though more and more international foods and ingredients are showing up in local supermarkets, the prices tend to be better in specialized markets.
This recipe will make roughly 1 kg of ginger pickle. It does not take as long to make as the other pickles either. It’s pretty much ready to eat once it’s prepared.
1 kg ginger
2 tbsp crushed red chilies
2 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida (also known as hing, available in Indian markets)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup mustard oil
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Peel the ginger. Chop in into small pieces roughly the size of the top joint of your thumb. Roast the fenugreek in a dry pan on low heat for about 1 – 2 minutes. Grind the fenugreek seeds to a fine powder in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Repeat with the fennel seeds.
Heat the oil in a large pan with a thick bottom on high heat for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Add the asafoetida, ground fenugreek, ground fennel, and mustard seeds. Mix them constantly to prevent burning. Add the salt, turmeric, chili and again mix well. Allow this mixture to cool for about 5 minutes or so. Transfer the ginger and garlic into the pan in small batches, mixing to coat evenly. Remove one batch to a large bowl before adding the next batch. Add the sugar and lemon juice to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
Let the pickle cool to room temperature then transfer the pickle to air tight, wide mouth glass jars.
Be sure to roast your seeds separately as they take their own time to roast. Also you do not want to crowd your pan while dry roasting, as this will produce a lower quality result and risk scorching your spices.
Because this pickle is ready to eat once prepared and does not need to be cured with further heat, you can use plastic jars or containers. Store the pickle in a dry, dark cupboard in airtight containers and it will last a few months. It will last longer in the refrigerator but remember to let the pickle come to room temperature before serving. It is unpleasant to flavour your hot parantha or roti with cold bits of ginger pickle.
Do not use table salt or iodized salt. It will not produce the same result.
You can substitute mustard oil for canola or any other light oil but it won’t have quite the same tang. Also, canola oil has a lower smoke point than mustard so watch it carefully while heating and reduce the heat if the oil begins to smoke.
Peace and love,