Recipe | Fresh Turmeric & Gum berry Pickle – Two Unusual Spicy Treats from a Colorful Indian State
A pickle is to any meal what a smile is to a beautiful woman, both enhance the subject perfectly! If you happen to be in the colorful state of Rajasthan in India, your meal is incomplete without extra spoonfuls of ghee (clarified butter) and a dash of spicy pickle served by your generous host. Not to forget the yummy ghee laden sweets to wind up your hearty meal.
Pickled fenugreek seeds, Ker Sangari, Gum Berry, Athana green chilly, fresh whole green peas and the list of such unusual ingredients to make pickles is endless. Each pickle is unique for the spice mix that goes in it, by the way it is prepared or for the ingredients used to make it. Some of the food ingredients used to make these pickles are indigenous to Rajasthan and is difficult to get in other parts of India.
Pickle making is a close guarded family secret and the recipe is meticulously transferred from one generation to another by the elders. The way raw ingredients are treated before adding them to the pickle, a blend of spices and the time of setting determine the quality of a good pickle.
If Gum berries are steamed in some recipes before adding to the pickle, using raw berries is the most important pointer for others. Like wise when making a fresh turmeric pickle many would add grated ginger and cook strictly in mustard oil.
These are the few pickle recipes my mom follows and I have grown eating for years as long as I remember. Now that I reside in a city where Gum berry is hard to find, I make sure to bring my jar of Gum berry pickle during my yearly visit to my mom’s place.
Turmeric rhizomes are in abundance here during winter season and I sow the ripened turmeric roots to get a fresh produce from my backyard every year.
1. Gum Berry or Gunda Berry Pickle
- 500 gms Gum berry/gunda
- 1 cup red chilly powder
- 1 cup oil
- 3/4 cup mustard seeds (rai)
- 1/2 cup fenugreek seeds (methidana)
- 1/2 cup salt (preferable rock salt)
- 2 tbsp. fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tsp. Turmeric powder
Method; Wash Gum berries in water and wipe them clean. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large wok and add all the gum berries. Cover with tight lid and cook for just about 2 minutes stirring in between.
This process makes sure that the gum inside these berries gets set and will not make a sticky pickle.
Take out all the berries in a plate and remove the stalks and the large seeds from inside.
Grind mustard, fenugreek and fennel seeds into a coarse powder. Empty the coarse powder in a bowl and add salt, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and a pinch of asafetida (optional). Mix well.
Add 1-2 tbsp. of oil in the above spice mix. Fill this spice mix in each Gum berry. Place all the filled berries in clean glass jar.
Heat the remaining oil till it is slightly warm. Pour it over the jar filled with stuffed Gum berries.
Use half of Gum berries and half of raw mango to make this pickle, the combination is a winner.
Keep the pickle in sun light for about 10 days before serving.
2. Fresh Turmeric Root Pickle
- 1 cup diced Fresh turmeric roots
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 4 green chilies
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Nigella seeds (Kalonji/onion seeds)
- 1 tsp. aniseeds (saunf)
- 1 tsp. Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp. fenugreek seeds
- A pinch of asafetida powder
These are the fresh produce from the semi dried turmeric roots I sowed last year at my backyard. I use them frequently in all my Indian curries and for making turmeric milk.
Method; Wash the roots thoroughly with clean water and wipe them clean with a kitchen towel. Scrape the skin of turmeric roots with a peeler.
Dice the roots into very small pieces of grate it with a grater. Chop green chillies finely.
Heat oil in a wok, crackle mustard seeds and then add fenugreek seeds, aniseeds, and Nigella seeds. Fry the dry spices just for a few seconds and add diced turmeric pieces. Cook for 4-5 minutes on low heat and take off the flame and let it cool a bit.
Add diced green chillies, asafetida powder, salt and lemon juice to the spices.
Fill the fresh turmeric pickle in clean glass jar and refrigerate. This pickle stays good for about a month. Use more warm vegetable oil and fill the jar to increase the shelf life of this pickle upto one year.
More about turmeric;
- Many like to remove the large single seed before making the gum berry pickle to avoid the sticky viscous liquid. But I keep the seeds intact. Steaming or quick frying for a few seconds helps in making the berries free from the sticky glue.
- Add extra oil in both the pickle recipes if you wish to store it for longer time. The pickle should be fully immersed in a layer of oil to increase the shelf life.
- Diced raw mango slices are also added to the Gum berry pickle to give a tangy flavor.
- Add Amchoor or dry mango powder to the recipe if you can’t get fresh raw mangoes.
- You could use the same process and spice mix to make pickles using other berries and fruits.
- Make this fresh turmeric root pickle and enjoy the health benefits of the spice whole year.