South Indian-Style Raw Turmeric Pickle 

Summer is slowly closing in on Bangalore, and the days are getting hotter. There’s still a nip in the air in the mornings, though, and sometimes in the evenings. I think I should tell you all about the winter-special raw turmeric pickle that I made about a month ago, before winter leaves us once and for all. 

Bunches of raw turmeric sold in the Bangalore markets, just before Pongal

Come Pongal, and bunches of raw turmeric start making an appearance in the markets of Bangalore. They play an important role in the Pongal celebrations, tied around the pot in which sakkarai pongal is cooked on the day of the festival. The turmeric makes for a beautiful pickle too, which is believed to generate heat in the body, much needed in the months of winter, and help internal wounds to heal. 

I make the raw turmeric pickle the traditional South Indian way, the way it has always been made in our family. I am sure there must be other ways of pickling raw turmeric, but this is the way we have always made it. 

South Indian-style raw turmeric pickle, the way my family always makes it. Hand model: Amma

Here is how we make the pickle. 

Ingredients (makes a small bottle) :

  1. 100 grams raw turmeric 
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil
  4. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  5. A pinch of asafoetida
  6. Juice of 2 lemons
  7. 2 green chillies, slit

Method:

1. Wash the turmeric roots thoroughly under running water, ensuring that they are completely free of dirt. Pat them dry using a cotton towel. Make sure no moisture remains on the roots. 

2. Peel the turmeric and chop it into small pieces. 

3. Take the chopped turmeric in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, the slit green chillies, and lemon juice. Keep aside. 

4. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the mustard seeds. Let them pop. Switch off the gas, and add the asafoetida. Let it stay in the hot oil for a second, then add all of the seasoning to the other ingredients in the mixing bowl. 

5. Mix well. Let the pickle cool down completely, and then transfer it to a clean, dry bottle, preferably glass. 

Notes:

1. The pickle can be stored for 4-5 days at room temperature, slightly longer if refrigerated. 

2. Always use a clean, dry spoon to take the pickle out of the bottle. 

3. Store the pickle in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. 

4. This pickle has a rather strong taste of turmeric, so not everyone might like it. Also, one can eat this pickle only in small quantities, thanks to the strong taste. It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to curd rice. 

5. To tone down the strong taste of turmeric, some people pickle it along with mango ginger and raw ginger. I prefer making the turmeric pickle separately, though. 

You like? How does your family pickle raw turmeric?

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