I know, I know...its a pickle and the main ingredient is red chillies :)) Now thats a signature Andhra dish I think :D We do love the heat in our food guys ! My friends and I frequently get the "You are from Andhra..." thing when we say Hot or 6/6 for spice level at Indian restaurants. Its definitely in the soil I must say :D So, when I went to India last time I had my mom pack a small packet of pandu mirapakaya pickle (Ripe red chilli pickle) for me. But as fate would have it, I lost an entire suitcase on my way back and like a perfect example for Murphy's Law all the best pickles, my moms home made mixture and the handicrafts I bought were in that unfortunate baggage. And since I had very thoughtfully(!!) distributed the salwars and kameezs between the two suitcases, I was left with useless halves to haunt me:)) I cannot tell you what it feels like to have just the salwar/kameez or worse just the dupatta of your most fav chudidhar and loosing your first (and most fav) saree :(( The saree was the perfect red chilli color :( ( I told you its everywhere :P)
Well, so basically I could not get the pickle and the ones sold in the Indian store though good lacked the freshness & punch of home made pickle. When I read this post in Anusharaji's blog I was really thrilled. Raji made the pickle using fresno peppers (FREZ-noh) locally available at the grocery store. I was thrilled to find a recipe ! The next time we went veggie shopping I looked for them and found the plump red chillies obediently waiting to be pickled. I made it along with Kichadi the day before our move and the pairing was perfect. I was also surprised by the ease of the recipe. It hardly took me 15 mins...so much for the 1.5 yr wait !!! Thank you so much Raji :)
I made slight variations and adjustments to suit the near empty kitchen I had then.
- 5 nos -Ripe Red chillies/Fresno peppers
- 1 tsp - Fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp - Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp - Tamarind extract
- a pinch of hing/asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp - Oil
- Wash and wipe the peppers dry. Since I was not planning on using the blender I finely chopped them. Otherwise just rough chop them.
- Dry roast the fenugreek seeds and then heat the oil and saute the peppers for a few minutes until they get tender. Allow it to cool. I used ready-made tamarind extract from the fridge and so heated it along with the peppers for the last 30sec.
- Now transfer the all the ingredients to a blender and pulse to get a coarse paste. If using a pestle & mortar first crush the fenugreek and mustard seeds, then add the rest of the ingredients and crush.
This fresh pachadi was superb. It was very very close to the one we get back home and I absolutely loved it. The peppers were not as hot as I had expected them to be so I added a pinch of red chilli powder for the extra kick :P I also loved the texture that was the result of using a pestle and mortar. If you guys can I would recommend this method over the blender. This pickle was also the perfect match to the mellow kichadi I made. This recipe yields just about a cup of pachadi, not much at all and so it got done even before the kichadi :D Unfortunately these peppers are not so each to find near where I live. I got it at Kroger the first time but after that I went back twice and also checked at other branches but could not find them, Walmart does not stock them either :(
Tidbit: When you are done working with hot peppers/chillies/chilli powder rub & wash your hands with some yogurt/buttermilk. This will take off all the chilli juice and soothe your skin. Soap does not do a perfect job and your skin continues to feel irritated even after repeated washing. I learnt this tip from my aunt who is one the best food enthusiasts I have met.This one too is for Coffee to preserve and a special package is off to Nandita's Hot theme for JFI this month: JFI-Chillies and a huge Thank you to Indira for getting the JFI event rolling !