Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Spicy Eggplant Pickle

There are no words to describe this pickle. It has a whole bunch of notes that hit your palate, starting with sweet when you first taste it to a complex depth of flavours, and finally finishes with a spicy tingle in your mouth, making you want to dig in more!

This is a typical Goan pickle that is always a favourite with most locals. This version has just  the right balance of sweet and spicy. Once you make it, I will guarantee you, you will make sure there's a bottle of this goodness always in your fridge.



Spicy eggplant/brinjal pickle
Spicy Eggplant/Brinjal Pickle


Ingredients:
4 thin long brinjals
20 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of ginger, each about 3 "long
1 tsp fenugreek powder
1 tsp of cumin seeds
12 cloves
4 tsp chilli powder
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of oil
2 heaped tsp of mustard seeds
a handful of curry leaves
4 1/4 tsp of salt
1 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 cup of vinegar

Method:
Cut the eggplant into small cubes.. sprinkle with 4 tsp of salt (reserve the rest for later) and set aside for 1 to 2 hours..



Chopped Eggplant


In the meanwhile, prep the rest of your ingredients. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic and set aside.

In a mixer, blend to a paste the ginger, garlic and turmeric powder, chilli powder, fenugreek powder, cloves, cumin seeds and vinegar.

After 1-2 hours, you will notice that the eggplant has released a lot of water.. drain off this liquid. Squeeze the eggplant cubes lightly, drawing out any more water left..



Diced Eggplant


Heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves. Be careful at this point that your heat is not too high or your spices will burn.



Spice Paste For Brinjal Pickle


Add the paste mixture in and cook on a low to medium heat for around 10 mins.. cooking the paste first, helps cook off that tart taste of the vinegar. Add the drained eggplant cubes and cook for a further 10 mins till tender. Add the sugar at this point. Cook for another 5 mins till you start to see oil leave the sides of the dish. Turn the heat off and spoon hot into cleaned glass bottles. Cover the bottle and leave to cool.



Brinjal Pickle



Note: I added the sugar at the end as once you add it the masala colour darkens and starts to almost caramelise. The picture above is not the final colour of the pickle, it was taken before adding the sugar. Adding it at the end, meant I made sure all the rest if the ingredients were cooked before so it didn't need a lot of extra cooking time once the sugar went in..

With regards to the heat, you can reduce the amount of chilli powder to say 3 tsps and see how comfortable you are. Sugar should then be adjusted as well, reducing it to half a cup or 3/4 cup. So my suggestion for a lower spice level, would be to start with 3 tsps of chilli powder.. cook as normal and then when  you add the 1/2 cup of sugar, taste it and see. If it's too mild then add in the extra tsp of chilli powder and balance sugar.

Bottling the pickle while it's hot and quickly covering it creates a vaccum which will help prolong it's shelf life. Once cooled, you can store it out for a day or two to let it's flavour mature, then store it in the fridge.

On another quick note, I have never sterilised glass jars when I make pickle or jam. Take an old glass bottle and make sure you have rinsed it out well with soap. Ensure it is properly dry and that there's no moisture and you are good to go.