Delhi-Style Instant Sweet & Sour Carrot Pickle

There is such an abundance of gorgeous vegetables available this time of year that I cannot resist wanting to make some winter-special recipes. There’s the undhiyu that I want to make, sarson ka saag, parathas from radish and cauliflower and spinach, and a variety of pickles.

Very recently, I gave in to the urge of preparing a winter-special carrot pickle, something that I had always wanted to try but never got around to doing. This kind of pickle is popular in northern India, specifically Delhi, in the winter months when sweet, fresh carrots are available in plenty. It has a beautiful sweet-and-sour taste, and goes very well with parathas as well as simple daal rice.

Though I made the pickle for the very first time, it turned out absolutely beautiful. It is a delight to eat, and we have been munching away on it day and night. You must, must, must try this out at home, too!

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Here is how I made the pickle.

Ingredients (yields 1 bowl):

  1. 6 small-sized carrots, washed and patted dry, peeled and chopped into sticks
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 5-6 green chillies, slit length-wise, tops removed
  4. Red chilli powder, to taste
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 1/4 cup vinegar or the juice of 3 lemons
  7. 1/4 powdered jaggery or sugar
  8. 1 tablespoon garam masala or chana masala (I used Everest chana masala)
  9. 6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed using a mortar and pestle
  10. 1/4 cup oil, preferably mustard oil
  11. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds (crushed to a coarse powder in a mixer)
  12. A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
  13. 2-3 generous pinches of asafoetida (hing)

Method:

  1. Mix the jaggery powder or sugar in the vinegar or lemon juice. Keep aside.
  2. Take the carrot sticks in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the salt and red chilli powder to taste to the chopped carrots. Add the turmeric powder, garam masala or chana masala, chopped ginger, chopped or crushed garlic cloves, mustard powder, asafoetida, green chillies, as well as the vinegar/lemon juice-sugar/jaggery mixture. Keep aside. Don’t mix the ingredients in the bowl at this stage – that is the next step in the process.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan, not till smoking point, but till it is just hot. Add the hot oil to the carrots and other ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix well, using a dry, clean ladle or spoon.
  5. Let the pickle cool down completely before you fill it up in an air-tight bottle.
  6. The pickle can be used from the next day onwards, though it tastes lovely a couple of days after making. It can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated. At room temperature, the pickle stays for up to a week. Make sure you shake the bottle every day, mixing the liquids and other ingredients thoroughly, or use a clean, dry spoon/ladle to do so.

Notes:

  1. Typically, this pickle uses a lot more oil than I have used here. I used just about 1/4 cup, for health reasons.
  2. In traditional Delhi homes, other winter veggies like cauliflower, turnip and radish are also added to this pickle, considering that this is a winter-special delicacy. Since I was planning to make some other pickles with cauliflower and other winter vegetables soon, I used only carrots in making this pickle.
  3. If you plan to use other vegetables too, to make this pickle, do increase the quantities of salt and red chilli powder, garlic and ginger, garam masala or chana masala, turmeric powder, oil and mustard powder, proportionately.
  4. This pickle is meant to be made with mustard oil – that is how it is traditionally made. I didn’r have any, so I used groundnut oil instead.
  5. I used jaggery (a relatively healthier alternative to sugar) and vinegar (just because I didn’t have any lemon left at home) to make this pickle.
  6. Traditionally, the vegetables are washed, patted dry, left to dry in the sun, sauteed in oil, and then pickled. This ensures that the pickle stays for a long time, say over 6 months. I used a short-cut method to make the pickle, which doesn’t stay for so long. The use of vinegar and refrigeration will help the pickle stay a bit longer than a week, though, I am guessing.
  7. You can skip the garlic if you want to, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. It does take the taste of the pickle a couple of notches up.
  8. This pickle is different from the simple no-cook carrot pickle I made last winter. That one was mustard-y and mostly sour, while this pickle is sweet and tangy.

Deliciousness this pickle is! You have to try it out to believe just how awesome it is!

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