Our house smells kind of awesome right now, let me explain why….
The weather in our fair valley has turned, autumn seems to have come to a premature halt and it certainly looks and feels like winter out there right now. Of course that means our little vegie patch, along with everyone else’s, has entered that semi dormant state, which means before we can recondition the soil and sow our cover crops and some broad beans and garlic for spring, we need to clear the remnant summer vegetable fruits that are clearly struggling now that the cold snap has bitten. Luckily, we have already eaten most of the eggplants and there were only a few lonely zucchini bravely hanging on, but our tomato plants were still hopeful, holding a couple of kilos of green tomatoes that were never going to get any riper or sweeter.
Being a frugal type I really didn’t want to waste them so we decided to preserve, but following which process. Frankly I am not a fan of green tomato chutney but I do love a good South Indian Style Pickle. As with all recipes there are many variations and methodologies but when it comes to green tomato pickles there are a few main schools of thought. Starting out with pretty much the same ingredients, they are either simply salted and fermented or cured in the sun, but both of those take patience and time. Others fast track the process and involve a little cooking, and the following recipe takes this route.
At once salty, sour, bitter, spicy and pungent, these pickles are kind of addictive, but oh so simple. Mustard seed and fenugreek are really the heroes and that’s what’s making the house smell so good, but on the down side as a fresh unfermented pickle they don’t last long, but that’s not going to be a problem. And so as I write this blog, despite the cold weather and drizzle, I have fired up our tandoor for some smoky grilled eggplant, yogurt marinated lamb, naan bread and those delicious green tomato pickles…. Excuse me while I eat!
Green Tomato Pickles
60ml mustard oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seed
½ teaspoon asafetida powder
1 teaspoon fenugreek – ground
1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder
750g green tomatoes – roughly cut in 1cm dice
50 ml fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon salt
- Heat oil in a stainless steel saucepan until almost smoking, remove from heat and allow to cool, then reheat oil, add mustard seed frying gently until it starts to crackle and pop
- Add asafetida, fenugreek and chili powder and continue to fry for one minute
- Add tomatoes, lime juice and salt and bring to a simmer
- Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until the oil starts to separate then remove from the heat, fill into sterilized jars and seal or place in a storage container and refrigerate until needed
Note: if not sealed into sterilized jars this pickle is best eaten in between 7– 10 days if covered and stored in the fridge