A & V are Mr. & Mrs.Jha
Smt.Nirmala Jha – A’s mother and the Chief Cook:) (Seen below)
Smt.Nutan Jha – V’s co-sister and the Demonstrator (Seen below)
When I had posted dal khichdi sometime back I had quoted a popular saying from Bihar “khichdi ke chaar yaar. Dahi, papad, ghee, achaar”! I should have been more specific! When I said achaar I did not mean just any, but “Mirchi ka Achaar” more specfically “the” mirchi ka achaar that I had tasted long back at V & A’s place, and the one that I am sharing with all of you today! Again, this is not something I made – I am afraid I really have a long long way to go before I get a decent pickle ready:).
The pictures showing the pickling process have been taken and given to me by V, a dear friend. Above is the sprightly lady – Smt.Nirmala Jha who had been making this pickle for the past 40years before passing over the baton to her Daughter-In-Law, Nutan Jha (obviously a fine learner). Having tasted this you will never again look at the shop bought ones, and that is a promise! Just try it once for yourself:)
When TONGUE TICKLERS…… was still at its infancy I had once expressed my weakness for my dear friend, V’s Lal Mirchi Ka Achaar. She gave me a generous batch two years back around this time, and I remember how the infectious taste caught on among my office mates. Most of them pressed me to get them a batch too but it was too late as the chillies were no longer available. The result – V and her family started it as a business venture last year, and I was their ‘bribed’ middleman, selling their tasty achaar to my colleagues. They made a huge sale but also a huge loss – now we know what finance and marketing is all about!
V called me a couple of weeks back to ask whether I would like a jar of my favourite pickle (neki aur pooch pooch?). I was only too glad and least said I was jumping for joy and performing a jig all at the same time! Since the venture went kaput last time this year she decided on doing something better – her Mother-In-Law, has come here for good, and wanted to share her recipe with others! I am honored that she chose my blog as her platform – I guarantee you this one will have you licking your plate, your fingers and making you go smack with your tongue!! Get ready to get mesmerised by this age old and traditional method of pickling straight from the veteran’s hand!
Did I get you drooling? Then it is unfair to delay further! Drool more:)
The variety of red chillies required for making this pickle is the firm (not aged) ripe red one which is available between January and March in India. Take a look at the picture to get an idea.
The lady warns that you will experience a burning sensation in your hands after the pickling that will remain for at least 3 to 4 days!! No wonder they do not want a business anymore:)
Auntyji says it will last a year, but believe me – I am experienced and I know hogs lick the jar clean at the end of only 4 months!! Maybe you could eat in a conservative manner, but we ate it like there was no tomorrow:)
LAL MIRCHI (RED CHILLIES) – 3KG
AJWAIN (CAROM SEEDS) – 100GM
JEERA (CUMIN SEEDS) – 100GM
SAUNF (FENNEL SEEDS) – 100GM
AKHA SUKHA LALMIRCHI (WHOLE DRY RED CHILLIES) – 100GM
METHI (FENUGREEK SEEDS) – 100GM
KALAUNJI (NIGELLA SEEDS) – 50 GM
HING POWDER (ASAFOETIDA) – 100GM
NAMAK (SALT) – 200GM
KALANAMAK (BLACK SALT) – 100GM
AMCHUR (DRY MANGO POWDER) – 150GM
MUSTARD OIL – 1LT.
SYNTHETIC WHITE VINEGAR – 200ML
Wash theRed chillies & dry it in direct sun light for some time. Remove the head & deseed all the chillies. Keep the seeds aside.
Heat the kadhai/pan slightly & roast each ingredient listed as ‘B’ separately till you get a good aroma.
Grind the roasted ingredients (except the kalaunji) in a spice grinder to a fine powder.
Next grind the seeds of the chillies that had been set aside earlier.
Mix both the ground mixtures together adding kalaunji, and mix with D well till uniformly mixed. Warning – Your hands will burn for at least 3-4 days!
Pour some oil & hing in the end. The oil should be enough to help you gather the mixture. Let the mixture sun well for a day or two in good direct sunlight.
After sunning the mixture is ready to be filled into the hollow chillies. You may keep the chillies full or cut them into 3 or 4 pieces according to the size & fill the masala in the pieces.
Pour the remaining oil & bottle the pickle in clean, dry and sterilised jars. The jars must be kept in hot direct sunrays for at least 3-4 days.
After that the achaar is ready to be eaten.
This will last for a year if you eat it conservatively!!!!
Our reaction after one lick – “Uff uff mirchi, hai hai mirchi, uff uff mirchi……”
Mrs.Nirmala Jha’s suggestion for serving:
This mouthwatering pickle can be served with parathas or khichdi.
I just press out the masala and mix it up with some plain hot steamed rice and have it with chips on the side. Lip-smacking!!
Words and Meanings in this post:
Achaar – pickle
Khichdi – A semi-solid gruel made of rice and dal
“Khichdi ke chaar yaar – dahi, papad, ghee, achaar” –
“Khichdi is tasty when had with four friends – Yogurt, Fryums, Clarified butter and Pickle”
“Neki aur pooch pooch” – A phrase in Hindi which is used when you are offered something you want very badly, and it was totally unexpected by you.
“Uff uff mirchi, hai hai mirchi, uff uff mirchi……” – A famous song from the movie “Biwi No.1”
Dahi – thick plain fresh yogurt
Ghee – clarified butter
Bihar – a State in India famous for Laloo Prasad Yadav!!
Mirchi – firm red ripe variety of red chillies.
Performing a jig – creating a quake and loosening the foundations in general!
Hogs – who else but the Sunshine family trio of Pa, Ma and Jr.H! Jr.P is not much of a pickle person…not yet, at least:)
Other ‘Reds’ on TONGUE TICKLERS…… – Please CLICK here
Another pickle? – Tomato Pickle / Tomato Thokku (Vegan)
Another powder? – Tengai Podi / Coconut Powder
How about a chutney? – Pudina / Mint Chutney
Thogayal (lentil chutney) too? -Paruppu Thogayal / Lentil Chutney