mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Green Chilli Pickle

In on the side, Pickles, Preserves, Rajasthani, Under 30 min!, Vegetables on August 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm

chilli pickle

Almost every region of India boasts a chilli variety with its own unique qualities in terms of flavour, colour, and heat. Kashmiri chillies have a deep red colour but are otherwise mild; Andhra chillies with their bright colour and fiery heat are shown off to great advantage in their pickles; and now we’ve all heard about the bhut jolokia from Assam that holds the world record for the hottest chilli.

Athana in Rajasthan is also famous for its chillies. The long and fleshy Athana mirch is pickled whole and is favoured by the Marwari community. The chillies are slit and stuffed with a mix of spices that include fennel, coriander, mustard, methi seeds, turmeric, and amchoor. A similar large chilli, much like the Bhavnagri mirch, is made into the most delicious mirchi vadas the best of which are to be found in Jodhpur.

My mother-in-law used to make a green chilli pickle which is a simpler version of the Athana mirchi pickle. It is likely Rajasthani in origin.

Here it is – the quick, almost instant, chilli pickle for you chilli lovers. I don’t know my chillies too well and rely on the thumb rule that the smaller a chilli, the hotter it is. For this pickle pick chillies that are medium hot or milder.

chilli pickle
Mirch ka Achaar
(Instant Green Chilli Pickle)

1 C chopped green chillies (medium hot variety)
3 T coarsely ground oriental mustard seeds
1 T coarsely ground methi (fenugreek) seeds
½ t turmeric powder
2 t salt
1/8-1/4 C refined peanut oil
juice of 2 limes

In a bowl first place the ground mustard seeds. Top with ground methi seeds. Place the turmeric powder to a side. Heat the oil in a pan till very hot. Pour over the methi seeds; it will gradually soak the mustard as it spreads (and cools).

Wash, pat dry, and chop the green chillies. Once the spices have cooled, add the chopped chillies, salt and the lime juice. Mix. Store in a clean dry jar. Let sit 24 hours before consuming.

The hot oil treatment of the spices is a very important step – something I wasn’t aware of the first time I attempted this pickle. And the mustard in the pickle was a heady experience after a couple of days, if you know what I mean. The tempering partially cooks the spices allowing for just a mellow sharpness, and stops the mustard from developing into a full sensory onslaught.

Use the lower amount of oil specified if planning to refrigerate the pickle and consume within a few weeks. Use the larger amount of oil if you need longer shelf life. It does not need refrigeration.

This pickle is best made in small quantities to enjoy the chillies in their crispier state. Serve with any Indian meal, burgers, hot dogs; it perks up breakfast paranthas too!

This is my entry for JFI:Chillies! being hosted at Nandita’s Saffron Trail this month. JFI is the brainchild of Indira (Mahanandi).

Tags: chilli,chilli pickle, Rajasthani, pickle,under 30 min

  1. Yum, Anita! I will surely try this chilli pickle. 😀 Really I will.

    I have the Marwari chilli pickle in my freezer, thanks to the same friend who made sangri for me.

    Thanks for stopping by. 😉

  2. Thanks for the in time entry, looks like it will be the last one in, but with one and a half hours to go and all our friends awake in the US, may be there will be some more…
    Really like the simple technique, and small quantity (no spoilage) – we generally have the marwari green chilli pickles at home thanks to marwari friends, but this one I can make myself…

  3. that is interesting, did not know there is a Athana mirch 🙂 Athanu is pickle in gujarati 😉
    ur mirch ka achaar is very tempting.

  4. Spicy and Yummy Achar Anita… Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Anita, your recipes are absolutely yummy. But unfortunately, I can’t see the snaps that you put up on your website coz some sites like Flickr are blocked in the UAE. Keep up the good work…

  6. oh wow, my kinda pickle…its yet another variety of chilli that I haven’t heard of… I am sure I can find a substitution here…

  7. the hot oil mellows the mjstard down a bit, but not as much as frying the mustrard seeds, i’m guessing. the chillies are such a bright green.

    our garden chillies are not doing too well, ‘cos the temps are hovering around the 100s. they prefer 85-ish.

  8. Hot oil over raw spices is an age-old pickling technique. The spices and lemon juice should impart great taste to the chilli. Lovely entry!

  9. It looks spicy and yummy, this is a treat to a chillie lover like me, thanks for sharing dear!

  10. I think I am going to make this with jalapenos! Mouth-watering!

  11. Aw…yours has methi and turmeric! You win! 😀

    That is odd though, that we both thought of the same pickle.

  12. Apparently this add-on for Firefox:
    allows those in the Middle East and other countries to see pictures on Flickr. I can’t say either ways but there are enough people who say it works.

  13. Can’t get enough of it! i love my pickles some hot oil therapy too 😀

  14. One HOT looking dish. I can almost taste it here.

  15. My mouth is watering at the prospect of having some of this pickle.

  16. Phew, I can see smoke coming out of my ears!! It’s hot, hot hot!!!

  17. Wow, this pickle looks so different from all the other ones (in terms of spice richness). I really like that. JFI event for chilies was one hell of a good choice. It will serve as my personal Chili Cookbook 🙂

  18. You are really a hot one! This is a wonderful easy recipe and something I am sure Tom will love!!

  19. hey lovely pickle… my mum makes this (again for hubby) and is very similar to this one with the addition of jaggery in it… the sweetness sort of compliments the chilliness, thank u for the recipe anita

  20. I can imagine how yummm and fiery it must taste…. thanks for a great recipe…

  21. Loads and loads of Chiili pickles this month and I love them all!:))
    Looks delicious Anita.

  22. Leaves my mouth watering by merely looking at the pics. Looks amazing and fiery.

    Great recipe 🙂 Will come back for more!

  23. Did I tell you, you’re tagged? 🙂

  24. Hmmm… so when you’re coming here for dinner, would you be so kind as to pack some for me? 🙂

  25. This look so delicious. 🙂

  26. Look at the color of the chillies ! wow ! bet tastes delicious with paranthas. Good one, Anita.

  27. Hi Anita, very interesting and simple recipe.Thanks for sharing the tip.Can you please post the recipe for the radish and carrot pickle [or is it a salad?] they serve with paranthas in Chandini chowk?Thank you.

    While it is impossble to recreate the ‘cheapo street-taste’ of street food at home, try Musical’s recipe for the carrot achar.

  28. Anita – can I make this with sesame oil instead of peanut oil? Also I have hot red fresh chillies that I am thinking of pickling will those work instead of the green?

  29. hi,
    quite a few months back i visited your blog and read a recipe of beet bread rolls. I wish to make now but I miss it in your archives. can you help.

  30. hello,
    this cilli pickle is yummy and spicy. i made this. thanks for help. i want to give my receipe and that is specially for jains,where to give. i wanted it to create on my receipe website can u pls tell me about it

  31. i am really like to have an Indian pickles which makes my every foods tasty and get good appetie,i been India for several times and when i think about the pickles there is lots of water in my mouth.

  32. Looks Delicious, I tried your recipe and it came out just right. I had it with mathris, it was fantastic.

  33. prepared the pickle -good

  34. I just made the pickle, though its easy to make ,hope its tastes good too!!!!!!The dry masalas appeared to have got burnt,or its that kind of aroma when we put the hot oil over dry masalas

    There should be a sizzle when you pour the hot oil but no burning! I hope it turned out well…

  35. Could someone post the Rajasthan Athana mirch recipe. Thank you.


    Ingredients :- Fresh green chilly both thick and thin, mustard powder, dry mango powder, aniseed, kalunji, fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder, asefoetida, salt to taste.

    Procedure :- Wash the green chilly and dry it using a cloth so that all the water is absorbed. With the help of a knife, mark a cut on the green chilly vertically, make sure that the chilly does not break in two pieces and then remove the seeds. Mix well the following; mustard powder, turmeric powder, aniseed, fenugreek seeds, kalunji, asefoetida, salt to taste. Now put this mixture into the cuts of the green chilly.

    Take an air tight glass container, put all the stuffed green chillies in it and keep the container under the sun for about a week. The chillies will begin to soften from the fourth day, and after a week, athana ki mirchi will be ready. You can then add citric acid and salt to taste if required. Pickles perish when make a contact with water. So avoid removing the pickle with wet hands.

    Oh, thanks a bunch, Sanjay, for this recipe! Sounds very much like what is in those packets…though I can’t dfetect the kalonji. I bet a smaller amount of that in proportion to the other ingredients! Thanks again!

  37. Was very pleased with this pickle. Different than other chillie pickles I’ve made, but enjoying this one so much, bought a kilo of green chillies to make more for friends.

  38. Hi…I tried your recipe with a bit of a twist … used smoking hot mustard oil insted of groundnut oil and the thicker / bigger green chillies (low hot :-)) .. will update you how it turned out … super blog…thanks for taking the time to share… grats … rahul

    • I thought I’d interject here from some chile-pickling experiences: for the bigger, thicker chiles you probably need to add more salt because of the extra water to keep them from spoiling…and then a bit more lime juice so the sour matches the saltiness. Just saying.

      Thanks for stepping in, Pel. What would I do without the helpful commentators here! We would definitely be short on advice…

      • Hey elaichietcetera (dont have your name) 😉

        You were right…The pickle was yumm….but it got spoilt soon…must be the extra water in the big chillies…. good observation…next time I will stick to the regular chillies … and elaichietcetera it will be good to know your real name !

        Rahul – rahuldevmehta (at) gmail (dot) com

  39. just saw same ( even picture) on
    who holds copyright

    Thank you, Rahul, for bringing this to my notice. No, he does not hold copyright. I do. all of these are pictured taken by me in my kitchen. On perusing his blog I have found that he has stolen other posts – pictures, recipes, and all, from my blog – garam masala, Punjabi chhole, Mirch ka achaar, gajar ki kanji, mutsch, curry leaf podi, and many more… I will not be surprised if the majority of the posts on that blog are stolen! And he has the cheek to watermark them as ‘ask Dr. Sanjay’!

    Warning other food blogging readers here to check if there is stolen stuff from their blog over at Dr. Sanjay’s.

  40. Hey elaichietcetera (dont have your name) 😉

    You were right…The pickle was yumm….but it got spoilt soon…must be the extra water in the big chillies…. good observation…next time I will stick to the regular chillies … and elaichietcetera it will be good to know your real name !

    Rahul – rahuldevmehta (at) gmail (dot) com

  41. […] eat milagai bajji. So i was looking for alternate recipes to use those chillies. As I came across this green chilli recipe from the blog ‘ A mad tea party’, I decided to make pickle with bajji milagai, by […]

  42. Anita, thanks for this recipe. I happen to love this pickle and it was good to make some of my own. I also tried out a version of your cauliflower-carrot-shalgam pickle and was quite surprised at how much I liked it, despite not liking most pickles made with vinegar. 🙂
    You can see them at

  43. I like your recipe, it is closest to what my mother used to make and I have made it again today, after making it last year. By the way, I found this exact same recipe, complete with the same picture, at another site called “Amit’s space” – any relative of yours, say, Hubby?

    Thanks for pointing it out. I have left a comment for the post to be removed.

  44. […] a skill that one only acquires with grey hair. Apparently not! A quick google brought me to this prolific blogger’s website with a recipe for an instant pickle. Thanks, Anita @ A Mad Tea Party. The first time I tried this […]

  45. […] and chutneys like mirachicha thecha, coconut-garlic chutney, dry peanut chutney, mango pickle or green chili pickle adorn the left side of the plate. Sometimes peanuts in their shells are served in individual plates […]

  46. […] and chutneys like mirachicha thecha, coconut-garlic chutney, dry peanut chutney, mango pickle or green chili pickle adorn the left side of the plate. Sometimes peanuts in their shells are served in individual plates […]

  47. […] The green chilli pickle is made using Anita’s recipe, the only change I’ve made is to add mustard oil instead of peanut […]

  48. “sensory onslaught”…. Loved this recipe and the humor …

    Its a regular in my kitchen now. Thanks!!


    It is a good one, isn’t it? You don’t realise how critical the hot-oil step is till you forget it once!

  49. […] and chutneys like mirachicha thecha, coconut-garlic chutney, dry peanut chutney, mango pickle or green chili pickle adorn the left side of the plate. Sometimes peanuts in their shells are served in individual plates […]

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