We Indians take a lot of pride in our variety of pickles. Each region has its own unique spice blend and within that each home has its own special variation of it! There probably is no vegetable which is not pickled in India. Our world of pickles is vast and colorful just like our country!
Growing up, we always had a serving of pickle with every meal. Our lunches and dinners would be incomplete without some ‘curd rice’ (yogurt with rice) and a serving of spicy pickle, most common being tender mango pickle. Every year during the mango season women get busy with pickling. Summer months are for filling big jars with salted tender mangoes, sun drying the spices, dry roasting them, grinding them and assembling it all together. We would never run out of our favorite mango pickle which can be stored for years. Then there were seasonal pickles, like bamboo shoot, tender jackfruit, cucumber, some wild berries and fruits and other vegetables which would last only for about a week.
I was introduced to black pepper pickle much later on in life. My aunt who was living in Chennai at that point got me a jar full of these tangy, spicy green pods and I fell in love instantly! She really made the best black pepper pickle! My husband (then boyfriend) would actually request her for some of it every year! I tried making the pickle a few years ago and failed miserably. I don’t’ really know how I could go wrong as it’s extremely simple but then again I was totally new to pickling.
A couple of weeks ago when we were at my parents place, my husband saw some fresh black pepper corns (which are green before ripening and drying) and immediately asked me if I could pickle some for him. I decided to give it another shot as I couldn’t resist the beauty of shiny green pods of black pepper freshly plucked off the vine and the thought of lip smacking pickle I had years ago!
I am so glad I tried it as it’s unbelievably simple to make and oh so GOOD! Flavors are really very simple which is the best aspect of this pickle is. Unlike most Indian pickles this one doesn’t have many dry spices in it. It’s fragrant with fresh lime and the blend of black pepper and green chili flavors.
I don’t think it’s easy to find fresh black pepper (when it’s still green) in the market but if you ever do please make this pickle! It tastes the best when served with simple rice and yogurt.
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px" color="#b36f98"]Ingredients:[/typography]
- 20-25 pepper pods
- 10-15 fresh green chilies
- 10 limes
- About ½ cup of salt
Wash the black pepper pods, green chilies and limes and let them dry in the sun for 30 mins to an hour.
Slit all the green chilies and keep aside.
Cut 5 limes into quarters.
Take a small glass jar. Place a layer of pepper pods on a bed of some salt and sprinkle with about a table spoon of salt again. Then place a layer of lime pieces and green chilies and sprinkle another tablespoon of salt. Repeat this till all the pepper pods, chilies and limes are used up.
Squeeze the juice out of remaining 5 limes and pour it on top of the pepper mixture and sprinkle with some more salt.
Close the lid of the jar and place it in a cool dry place for about a week to 10 days. Make sure you mix the pickle every other day with a dry spoon to evenly distribute the salt and lime juice and prevent the blackening of the pepper corns.