Thursday, 6 March 2014

Feel like a pickle?

I am not Nigella. I do not pout sexily on the few occasions I do enter my kitchen. Nope, I have a cook. Okay, update. I don't have a cook any more. She upped and left. So now I cook for my family and I mostly enjoy it. But no I still don't look like Nigella. Or cook as sexily as her!

But I do love to experiment. I love to bake pies, biscuits and my fondest wish is to someday bake cakes that will come out soft and "incredibly moist" as all the food blogs I sometimes drool over, tell me.

No, cooking is not therapeutic for me. It's supremely stressful--all that cutting, chopping, slicing and at the end of it all, cleaning. What I do love is the end product, specially if it's come out nice. It's a double-edged sword though. If my cake is lumpy and hasn't risen well, I sink into gloom much like my unrisen dough. But I'm determined to try, try and try till I become a dab hand at cooking and baking.

Anyway, for me, food has to have a little zest, a little crunchiness, a little tang, even a little fire, to be palatable. So pickles are something I love. Store-bought pickles, unfortunately, give me indigestion. Mainly because I take liberal helpings at lunch and dinner. So my solution is to make my own pickle, using leftover lime peel. My version is completely vegan, has no vinegar and contains very little oil.

Recently, I made my lime pickle again. And this time, I remembered to click an image. It's not a terribly great photograph, but serves the purpose.  Here it is:

Lime, chilli, garlic ginger pickle


Anyway, this pickle will help you re-use, recycle and stay rupee-wise.

If you're buying limes, don't get too many. I bought just five limes. After you've squeezed out the juice, you'll be left with rather sad-looking used peel. So, what you need is:

One glass bottle with lid (any size glass container will do).
Chillies (I put three pieces, slit length-wise and cut into smaller bits)
Salt (two tsp) or more
Ginger (2 or 3-inchlong pieces cut into slender bits)
Garlic (4-6 pods)
Ginger-garlic paste 2 tsp
Plus a dash of cooking oil (any kind) as preservative

Put the lime peel, the ginger and garlic, the paste, the chillies and the salt into the bottle. The salt will seep into the lime, the chillies, garlic and ginger and slowly but steadily, soften the mass. Leave for a week or two in a shady place. Shake well each day. The first time I made this, I did not refrigerate, but now that the weather's heating up, leaving it in the fridge is a good idea. Have a taste after a week or so. If the flavour is to your liking, leave it be. This is delicious with curd rice and adds a zing to any meal.

Enjoy.